Online Reputation Management for Local Businesses

Online Reputation Management for Local Businesses

Online Reputation Management for Local Businesses

I’m willing to bet that word-of-mouth is how you get most of your business. With unlimited access to the internet, your customers can publicly share their experiences with your business in an instant. It’s no secret, however, that not all publicity is good publicity.

A one-star rating on Google or Yelp could tarnish your business’ name for years and years to come. That’s why you need an online reputation management for your local business, as it will lay the framework on what it will take to protect your brand’s image.

What It Takes to Protect Your Online Reputation

Reputation management isn’t something you can avoid, especially as a local business owner. Your business can have the number one spot on Google for an SEO keyword, but that serves you no value if you have a poor online presence.

One bad review (or even two) won’t hurt your business, but that’s only if you have a plan for handling the flak. With a well-thought-out online reputation management strategy, you can detract attention from negative reviews and prepare effective response tactics to refute them. Doing so can also reduce monetary consequences.

Online Reputation Management Tips for Local Businesses

Local ReputationHave a website. Let’s create a worst case scenario. Say you have an angry customer who one day decides to publicize a social media smear campaign about your business. They even had a website published to attack you even further.

Without a website of your own, or some trace of an online footprint, that customer’s website might be the first search engine result that users see when they look for your business online. What’s worst? You can’t get the website taken down unless the creator agrees to it. Needless to say, you don’t want this happening to you.

Establish an active online presence.

Your customers should at least be able to find you on the following websites: Google My Business, Facebook, Manta, Twitter, Yelp, and YellowPages.

There are also industry-specific directories that you should set up for your business if it fits the niche. For instance, many companies in the home service niche have active presences on Houzz, Porch, and Angie’s List. Lawyers and law firms will oftentimes list themselves on Avvo, HG.org, Lawyer Central, and FindLaw.

Before you set up any profiles for your business, perform a brief online investigation to see if any profiles were already created. If you find any profiles during your search, check to see if they are claimed or unclaimed.

You can easily gain ownership of an unclaimed profile by registering with the designated online platform. Keep in mind 

Local Reputation

that sites like Yelp and YellowPages require an extra step to claim their profiles: a phone verification.

If you find profile for your business that are already claimed, check with your employees, and your digital marketing company if you have one, to see if they created profiles for the business in the past.

If they are also unsure of who set the profiles up for you, there are other ways that you can gain access to them. Many directories and social media profiles have support lines that you can contact in the event that you need to recover a login this way.

Protect your brand’s good name.

If you have a business that’s been around for a while, and it also has quite a bit of online traction, your increased visibility will only magnify negative reviews. Bad reviews that are associated with a branded search term are more impactful than bad reviews with a generic one, as the focus is mainly on your business rather than you and your competitors.

Keep tabs on company staff.

There are some business founders and executives who have their own online presences. Commonly referred to as practitioner listings, these individual profiles should also be taken into account when developing your local business’ online reputation management strategy.

Do the work, or hire someone to do it for you. Think of online reputation management as an investment. The more time you put into it now, the less damage control you’ll have to do later. Doing the opposite might result in costly repercussions, from profit loss to more time required to clean up your online presence.

Neglectful mismanagement of your online presence could jeopardize your business in more ways than you can imagine. You can cause more harm than anyone else to your online reputation, especially without the proper knowledge and resources. If you need professional assistance building a solid online reputation management strategy for your local business, schedule a consultation.