Do you know what people are saying about your brand online? If you are like many small to medium-sized business owners or managers out there, it’s likely you do. And it’s possible … I would venture to say probable … that you have stumbled across a few bad reviews.
Bad online reviews are often a business owner’s worst nightmare! You are working hard to build a brand that people know they can trust and bad online reviews can often ruin in one day what it has taken you years to build.
The question is, once those bad reviews are online, how do you make a comeback?
Types of Reviews
First, let’s talk about the different types of online reviews. Most people have heard of Yelp!, Google reviews and Facebook reviews. But there are many other platforms where clients can post a review. What platforms might be popular in your industry? Think about different sites that make recommendations for service providers in your industry. It’s very likely that these sites offer a way to review and rate providers.
Finding out where your clients are posting both positive and negative feedback is essential to start managing your brand’s online reviews.
How Reviews Affect Your Business
Many clients ask us how reviews affect their business. Whether posted by “internet trolls” who make a hobby out of posting negative reviews or by a client who legitimately feels they had a less than desirable experience with your brand, reviews do matter.
Just think of how many times you’ve performed a Google search for “________ reviews.” Movie reviews. Product reviews. Restaurant reviews. I think you get the picture. We often do not have a prior relationship with the business or product in question. Therefore, we rely heavily on other people’s opinions to make the most informed choice for the most desirable experience.
How many stars must a product or service have for you to choose to do business with a company? For most people, the answer is at least 4, if not 5!
3 Simple Ways to Take Charge of Your Online Reviews
If you are reading this blog, I’m almost certain that you have had a bad experience with online reviews. You probably already know that you need to take charge of your online reputation and figure out a way to manage these reviews. You may have even skipped the whole introduction to this blog post and jumped directly to this section. (That’s ok!)
Here are a few simple steps to get you started:
1) Respond to the Reviews
If you’ve received one or more bad reviews, you may be feeling angry and defensive. Go ahead and shake that off and pull out your trusty customer service hat. What would you say to these people if they were standing in front of you in your store? How would you try to remedy the situation? In an online environment, this is a double whammy. Not only will the person who left the review see that you care about resolving their issue, but so will every other person online who has considered doing business with you!
Once you have considered the tone and message that needs to be conveyed, quickly respond to the reviewer to try and resolve the situation. If needed, offer to take the conversation offline by providing an email or phone number where you can be reached. Don’t let “empty air” send an unintentional message. Opt for a polite response with an appropriate solution instead.
2) Build Relationships
Build brand loyalty and inbound traffic for your website through social media marketing. Attract and engage people on social media sites through fun, interesting, and useful content. Establish yourself as an expert in your industry and have some fun while doing so. Show your brand’s personality and build trust by giving a face to your company through social interaction with consumers. Give your audience such a powerful experience with your brand that they feel compelled to give positive feedback.
3) Ask Current Customers for Positive Online Reviews
Even when you rock the customer experience, you will still most likely have to ask for the review. In the information age, most consumers are not likely to give a review unless you first ask for it. Take notice of those customers or clients with the most positive experiences with your business and ask them to review you online. Don’t make them search for you. Whether you want to be reviewed on Google, Yelp, Facebook or some other site, make the process easy by providing a link that leads straight to the page where they can leave their review. The more positive reviews you receive, the more “watered-down” the bad reviews become and the less impact they have on your overall score.
Online brand management is a complex system made up of many parts needed for healthy function. Learning how to manage your online reviews is a positive step in the right direction, but there are many other moving parts needed for the best outcome. Contact us to learn more about how you can get and stay ahead in a very competitive marketplace.