A customer would rather buy a product or service from a brand with great reviews than from a business riddled with negative remarks. This is the reason why companies should focus on making sure they have a positive online reputation – and this includes small businesses.
One might automatically assume that because a business is small, online reputation means nothing. “Nobody really talks about us” or “Our business is so small that we barely see any reviews online so we don’t bother” These are the usual answers given to us by small business owners when we ask them why they are not considering their online reputations. They fail to see the big picture. The big picture wherein every business, big or small, is affected by online reputation one way or another.
According to studies, up to 90 percent of customers check online reviews first before making any decisions. It is safe to say that these people are the kind who will stay away from a business with a negative reputation and are most likely to choose one that has positive reputation. This means that in a day, you might be losing customers because of your poorly managed reputation. As a small business, you really can’t afford to lose customers, right?
So what are you doing about your online reputation? How are you handling all the reviews, no matter how infrequent, you are getting? Chances are, you might not even have your own online reputation team but there is no reason to worry. Here are some important points you need to heed to manage your small business’ online reputation:
1. Start with Facebook
Somewhere out there, online marketers are setting up shrines for dear ol’ Facebook and its drive to make things easier for all of us. For small business owners, Facebook is a free platform wherein you can get reviews and respond to your customers. Facebook is also flexible enough to let you use it the way you want to. Want to make a page showcasing all your products? Go for it! How about a customer service page where people can post questions or concerns regarding your brand? Sure! Remember that Facebook has over 1.44 billion active users a month and getting seen by even .001% of that statistics will be a blessing. So start your Facebook campaign today. You don’t have to go all in on it right away. Just make sure you have a plan.
2. Respond to Negative Reviews
Now, let’s set something straight first. No business, no matter how big or small, is perfect. You will get a bad review every now and then and that is just normal. What is important is how you respond to the negative review. The best way to deal with negative reviews is to first identify the root of your customer’s problem. Next, find a middle ground for you and your customer. Note that not all negative reviews are there to burn your business to the ground. If you learn how to pick out the constructive ones, you can now create a plan of action to make things better. Oh, and don’t forget the question “What do you want me to do for you” as this makes the atmosphere calmer for you and your customer.
3. Get on other social media platforms
Twitter and Instagram are two of the hottest social media platforms today. For customers, they are both easy to use. For brands and businesses, they are a cost effective means of gathering information regarding your brand. Think about it, people upload just about anything on Instagram while they can’t help but announce what they are doing on Twitter. This means that with a proper social media marketing campaign in play, you can see what your customers like about your brand and what they don’t. Does the food taste great but lacks presentation? People on Instagram won’t hesitate to give you honest feedback about that. So how do you do it? Well, you can start with creating accounts on both platforms and you can also play around with using hashtags for visibility.
4. Appear human
So you have a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram page. You also do your best to reply to every review that comes your way. Still, you are not getting anything from your online reputation marketing campaign. What can possibly be wrong? Well, you might be mis-representing yourself online. Mis-representing? Yes. A lot of businesses make this very common mistake. Just imagine yourself looking for a dentist. Would you rather go with a group or organization or an individual doctor? I would definitely go with the individual doctor provided both choices have great reputation. The reasoning? We all want our needs to be tended to on a personal level (although pseudo-personal to some extent). We don’t really want a weird group of people selling us things. We want a face to incorporate with a specific need and solution. This is why larger brands use mascots. For smaller businesses and their online reputation marketing needs, mascots aren’t necessary. You can just use your CEO or sales manager as the face of your company.
If you need help managing your online reputation, get in touch with CRE8EGY and we’ll put together revenue-driving social media plan tailored to your needs.