When it comes to business marketing, one of the most important things to consider is your online reputation. Remember that 90 percent of all consumers search the Internet to look for products and services; therefore, what those consumers find online about your business will determine whether or not they choose you over the competitors. There are so many forums in which both happy and disgruntled customers can air their emotions about your business – including social networking sites, review sites, and blogs, among others – and it is your responsibility to manage what is being said about your business.
How do you do that? Here are three ways to protect your online reputation:
Good business practices. Think of it this way: when you are doing things the “right” way, and acting as an upstanding business entity, it will be harder for people to say bad things about you online. Stock your website with relevant and useful content, participate in social forums in a positive and progressive way, and exhibit good customer service practices in order to stay on peoples’ good sides.
Respond to negative reviews. Of course, you can’t please everyone. It is inevitable that you will eventually face a bad review or two (or more). Rather than dwell on the negatives, it is best that you learn how to respond appropriately, so that you can actually turn a bad review into a positive testament of your business practices. (Yes, it IS possible.) First of all, don’t ever ignore negative reviews; doing that is as bad as agreeing with what is being said. When you do respond, keep all emotion out of it; instead, console the customer on having had a bad experience and offer a viable solution. For example, if a customer posts a review complaining about the service in your salon, offer a coupon and ask the customer to come back in and see you personally, for a better experience.
Monitor your online reputation. While you can’t remove things like bad reviews and negative social media gossip circulating about your business, you can take steps to counter negative occurrences as soon as they happen (and before they get out of hand). Make use of monitoring tools like Hootsuite, Google Alerts, and Socialmention to identify trends in what people are saying about your business online, and then develop strategies to diffuse any negativity that springs up around your business name.