online reputation small business

5 Crucial Steps to Optimize the Online Reputation of Your Small Business

By Carol Duke

Your business brand and reputation are interconnected since they are built through the direct and indirect experiences that customers have with your business. Your business’ online reputation, however, serves as its resume; hence it plays a pivotal role in earning you new business and clients.

Though reputation is valuable to the success of your brand, it is not a static element. It evolves constantly depending on the online reviews that customers give your business and its products, blog posts about your business, and social media comments and posts.

In this day and age where consumers have evolved to “prosumers” who actively share and consume information about your business from various online platforms, a good online reputation is vital in keeping your business afloat and ahead of your competitors.

What happens if your reputation is already good and you have achieved your target in terms of ratings and positive comments? Do you just stop all reputation management efforts? The answer is no! Reputation management is an everyday job which you can do better at using the following tips.

1. Assess Your Current Online Reputation

Before you dive into any strategies for strengthening your reputation, it is essential to have a clear picture of how people perceive you currently. Doing so will help you work to be better, based on verified facts.

To assess your current situation, Google your business and see what comes up. Are there businesses with a similar name that are crowding your visibility? Does your business have any recent positive reviews or are there only negative ones? What kind of visual material shows up for your business name, is it related to your products or services?

Assessing your online reputation helps you to notice any red flags that might affect it such as negative comments. It also enables you to make changes that will allow you to track your progress more efficiently such as setting up Google alerts.

2. Set Goals

Ask yourself, why you are trying to improve your reputation? Is it to keep your company ahead of competitors, get new clients, or shift attention to a new product? Answering these questions helps to determine the direction you should take. 

Ensure that you come up with a unique value proposition (UVP) that will show people the benefit of buying from your brand. UVPs serve as the guiding lights as people review your business. They point out serious areas of need in an industry such as the need for expert and trustworthy essay services, which makes it easy for consumers to determine if your brand offered them what you claimed it would. Once you’ve mastered your UVP, make sure you take time to refine your unique selling proposition (USP) as well to further distinguish your business from the competition.

3. Respond to Reviews

Imagine someone just walks away when you compliment or call them out. Sounds rude, right? That is exactly how most customers feel when you do not respond to their reviews. Make sure that you draft thoughtful and deliberate tactics to respond to all positive and negative reviews.

A 2018 study by TripAdvisor shows that hotels that responded to reviews saw a 12% increase in reviews and their ratings went up by 0.12 stars. Since you might not manage to respond to everything alone, train your staff to help you out with the responses. You will be surprised at how your reputation will improve once customers know that you care about their opinion.

4. Seek the Help of Influencers

Influencer marketing improves ROI and ratings greatly since people love hearing and following the footsteps of people who have made it, such as celebrities. Influencers help to expand your reach, give your business credibility, and offer cross-promotion, which gets more people talking about and reviewing your business. When using this strategy, ensure that you identify an influencer who your audience relates to and interacts with.

5. Deliver Your Promises

Since no one likes being lied to, lying makes you look bad and incompetent. When relating with customers, the way you communicate helps to build your online reputation. If you promise a customer with a discount as part of your apology for bad service, make sure you follow through.

Always remember that everything said online is public and if a review ends badly, all interested parties will know, which will lead to more negative reviews. Avoid mistreating unhappy customers and make real and noticeable changes to your business when serious complaints arise, to get customers to come back.

Customers trust online search engines when researching a business. Be conscious of what people say about you, watch what you do, and be transparent. With the tips discussed above, you can maintain a positive and stay ahead of your competitors.

Featured photo credit: Depositphotos
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Carol Duke
Carol is an experienced freelancer and blogger, who focuses on marketing-related topics. When she is not writing about marketing, she works as an editor at IHateWritingEssays best custom writing services reviews. Carol is keen on guiding students, mentoring them, and teaching them new and effective ways of learning. During her free time, she enjoys traveling and finds immense pleasure visiting new places around the world.

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