The Internet creates a number of unique challenges for every business. Protecting your online reputation is vital to the success of your business.
1 Publish, Publish, Publish (and Don’t Ever Stop)
Google says the most important thing to do on your website is to have relevant content, especially on your home page. Each and every piece of positive content about your business in the wild will go a long way in drowning out negative reviews and complaints aired online. Whether or not you are talking about your business online, someone out there is more than likely talking about it. It’s either a positive or negative conversation about your business, and it’s going to happen whether you want it to or not. Don’t you want to have some level of control over what is being said? For each and every negative review for your business, you should have 100 positive reviews. Here are some ways to help you keep the conversation positive.
2 Claim the Important Internet Properties (at a Minimum)
Does your business have a Google Place? How about a Facebook Fan page? There are hundreds of thousands of opportunities for businesses to put themselves into local directories on the Internet. Websites such as Yelp.com, CitySearch.com, and MerchantCircle.com are examples of local directories. The guys selling SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services will talk to you a lot about “backlinks.” Backlinks are important to your business, but do NOT pay for someone to submit you to 10,000 local directory websites unless you have claimed the obvious and most valuable properties. Here’s a list of what Scale considers the most valuable Internet properties that you must claim to be successful online:
Remember, if you don’t claim these properties for your business, someone will claim them for you. Then they will be in control, even if you don’t like it. That’s just one more risk you take when you stand idle on the Internet.
3 Monitor Your Business with Google Alerts (and Watch Your Competitors)
Google Alerts allows you to monitor keyword phrases with a daily email containing information pertaining those search results. Go, right now, and create a Google Alert for the name of your business. Review those results periodically, and see where you stand. With Google Alerts, if someone writes something (either positive or negative) that includes your business name, you’ll know. This will enable you to promptly respond to customer service related issues and put out any fires early in the process.
While you’re at it, you may consider using Google Alerts to keep an eye on one or more of your competitors.
4 Engage in Social Media
This rings especially true for traditional B2C businesses. You need to be interfacing with your fan base in the social media space. The more active you are on Facebook, the more “likes” your company will get. More “likes” means you will be reaching more and more potential buyers with each posting. Best practices? Use photos. Be provocative. Never stop talking.
5 Ask Your Best Customers to Write a Testimonial
You need to change your business processes immediately to begin collecting customer testimonials. Approximately 30% of your happiest customers will write a testimonial for you, if you simply ask them. The other 70% will approve a well-written testimonial if you write it for them. Positive reviews and customer testimonials on your website go a very long way in creating trust in your brand. Don’t give your website visitors any reason to question the trustworthiness of your business. You must have a customer testimonial section on your website.
These are the minimum things that you must do to protect your online reputation. Call us at 501-683-7229 or use our contact form for a free, no obligation consultation.