Managing An Online Reputation: 11 Improvements You Can Make Immediately
It is important to maintain your online reputation. Managing an online reputation boosts a business’s ability to not only retain but also attract new customers and even bring back customers with negative experiences.
User experience is everything today, which is why every business needs to know the importance of managing an online reputation. Managing an online reputation is more than just reviews, it’s also creating a seamless customer experience for people interested in your product or service. A sloppy business profile is useless for a potential customer and is likely driving business away.
I recommend you keep tabs open with your Google My Business (GMB) and/or Yelp profile and so you can make edits while you go down this list.
Let’s start with a few basics.
1. Add Your Website
This is an easy one. Simply adding your website to your business list can bring more traffic to your website and persuade more clients or customers to do business with you. Making your business is key to managing an online reputation.
2) Add Your Phone Number
Another easy one. This is especially important for B2C businesses. Making your business easy to get in touch another easy key to bringing in more customers and making the most of managing an online reputation.
3. Enable Messaging
Here’s one that might not be as obvious, but is still vitally important for B2C businesses. Being easy to contact and providing quick replies can lead to more customers and higher customer satisfaction.
This one can be high maintenance because GMB only allows the messaging feature on mobile devices. If you want to utilize this feature, but don’t have the time or energy to respond to messages quickly, then you may consider paying someone to do it.
4. Allow Booking/Scheduling
Take a second and go look at Zebra’s GMB profile. You can see that people interested in meeting with me are easily able to schedule a short appointment with me to talk about digital marketing. This feature is even more helpful for my client who does hair at a salon. Think about how helpful this could be for potential clients and customers as well as the time it can save for you.
5. Update Your Hours
Most stores changed their hours during the coronavirus it can lead to frustration for potential customers if businesses don’t update the hours on their business profiles. The other day I was in Albany with some friends and we wanted to get some ice cream, so we Googled for ice cream shops nearby and there was an ice cream shop just a couple blocks away. We walked there and boom, they’re closed. Frustrating.
Another example, the other day I needed a couple of items for a late dinner, so I looked at the hours for Trader Joe’s a few blocks away and it said they closed at 7 pm. Because of that, I went to a different grocery store. Turns out Trader Joe’s changed their hours the week before to closing at 9 pm. Missed opportunity.
Updating your hours is an easy adjustment you can make right now that will minimize frustration for your customers and drive them to your store.
6. List Services or Products
Customers have may only a few seconds or minutes to make a decision on which restaurant, shop, or service they will use. Your job managing an online reputation is to make every reason customers should come to you as easy and convenient as possible for them.
Listing your services or products along with prices, details, and pictures is one of the best ways to convince customers to come to your business instead of your competitor’s.
7. Post Regular Updates
Coronavirus shook small businesses everywhere and consumers were left not knowing a lot of things about those businesses. Coronavirus exposed how impactful posting on Google My Business is.
Simply giving updates on your business lets customers know that the information on your profile is up to date and usually the businesses that keep their GMB profile updated are well-run businesses.
8. Post Pictures
This is crucial for brick and mortar businesses managing an online reputation. You worked hard to have good vibes at your store, but people won’t know it unless you have pictures on your business profiles.
One of the hardest things about coronavirus for me was not sitting in coffee shops while I work. I love finding a new coffee shop with a unique theme, fun baristas, and a comfy atmosphere. How do I find these coffee shops? Google. Millions of people do this every day and a few pictures could bring in more customers, revenue, and build your reputation.
It’s not just your store that you should take pictures of though. Take pictures of your staff while they work, take pictures of food, drinks, or whatever product you sell. If you have a patio or outdoor space, take pictures of it.
Especially while indoor dining is prohibited, tons of people are looking for places with outdoor seating. If you are a restaurant owner, please for all that is good in this world, take pictures of your menu. You have no idea how helpful that is.
9. Reply to Reviews
This is the single most important thing you can do to bring back customers with a negative experience. If a customer leaves a negative review and you reply within a couple of days with an apology and an offer for a free coffee, beer, etc. you may be able to change that customer’s mind and give your store another shot.
Even if you don’t change that customer’s mind, you’ve also demonstrated to everyone who reads that review that your business has upstanding character, values customers, and interested in improving their experience.
Of course, not all of your reviews are negative but don’t think for a second that you shouldn’t also reply to them. Replying to your good reviews and even offering them a free product or service can incentivize them to keep returning and bring friends as well as motivate other customers to write a review about how much they love your business. You’d be amazed how far a free cookie goes, just ask DoubleTree.
10. Offer Discounts Online
While we’re on the topic of free stuff, let’s talk about discounts. Offering even a modest discount can give potential customers that little extra push to come to your business. On Zebra’s GMB profile you can see a couple of recent posts including a 5% discount for black-owned businesses and women-owned businesses.
Offering discounts on your GMB or Yelp profile is useful for attracting the clients or customers that you want at your business, sharing your priorities as a business owner, and giving an extra nudge to people weighing their options.
Managing an online reputation is a little bit easier when you’re able to attract the clients or customers that you are most interested in working with.
11. Analyze Insights
Data, data, data. Data is the key to making well-reasoned and informed decisions. Google and Yelp make it easy too with buttons on your GMB admin panel that show you some of the most important insights.
Of course, the insights that matter most to you depends on what type of business you have, but I usually place the biggest significance on actions. I want to know how many calls, website visits, and directions requests I get from GMB.
Whatever data you prioritize, you can use this panel to create a story of why clients are or aren’t coming to your business, buying your product, or using your service.
I hope these tips for managing an online reputation are helpful. Please comment with any other ideas that worked for you. I’m always open to hearing new strategies.
I’ll have more blog posts coming soon!
If you don’t have time for doing all of this and want someone to manage it for you, we can help. Remember, when you do business with us, you also give back to your community (see more). Make sure to follow us on Facebook for notifications on new posts, YouTube for videos, and Twitter for headlines and quick updates!
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