Start Listening: Steps to Taking Control of Your Reputation Online
One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make in managing their reputation online is that they don’t! It’s not because they don’t care; more often than not, it’s because they just don’t know where to start. We’re all busy enough as it is…so where do we squeeze another task into our day?
Here’s how to get started:
Step #1: Figure out where your business is listed online.
Start with just the Key Players!
Google – When it comes to reputation management, Google has three key components to take notice of:
Local Listings – Is your business listed?
Social – Google+ is already clocking in over a billion pieces of information being shared daily. Look around, are they talking about your business?
Shopping – Are there reviews about your products in Google Shopping?
Facebook – At over 4,000,000,000 shares a day, clearly, Facebook is where people are most comfortable sharing information. Make sure you know if “they” are sharing information about you!
Yelp – Whether you’ve listed your business in Yelp or not, Yelp may have listed it for you!
As you may know, there are about a billion and one places where people can chatter online. You of course have your Facebooks and your Yelps, your Trip Advisors and Googles. There are also many more industry-specific third party review sites and business listings that you’ll want to be aware of whether you’re in hospitality or you’re a lawyer or a chiropractor or an online merchant.
TIP: Let Google do the work! Set up Google Alerts. This tells Google that you want to receive regular updates about a particular search term. For the purposes of Reputation Management, you will want this term to be “Your Name” and/or “Your Business Name.” Set it up and you will receive alerts when new information is posted about you
Step #2: Take Control of your Listings
- Keep control of your branding
- Optimize for search friendliness
- Show people that you care & you pay attention
Don’t leave it up to all of these random sites and review platforms to determine important information about your business. Anywhere that allows you to Claim your listing, CLAIM IT! Claim them all. Be vigilant about it.
Step #3: Write the Script
Unfortunately, you can’t control what people say about you and your business.
Fortunately, what you can do is carefully craft how you RESPOND.
Looking at what people say about you can be nerve-racking. It is a very personal experience to read these reviews about your life’s work. If you just roll up your sleeves and dive in head first, all emotionally, to responding to some of these reviews, you’re going to end up sticking your foot in your mouth. Or, you’ll put things off and put things off until the damage has already been done. Once the damage is done, it’s hard to go back; it takes time to heal. Being prepared with “stock” answers will help you take out the emotion and streamline your time.
More good news: there are only three steps to writing any response! Whether you’re responding to a great review, a horrible review, or an “eh” review, make sure that your response includes ALL THREE of these components:
1. Acknowledgement – Let people know that they’re being heard! Whether they’re satisfied with your company, product, service, etc. or they’re not, acknowledge your reviewer and acknowledge the things about your business that they point out in their review.
2. Thank You – Be a good host! Thank people for their reviews. Again, whether the review is fabulous or it’s not-so-fabulous, thank your reviewer for giving you valuable feedback about your business and for taking the time to do so.
3. Invitation – Always, always, always encourage people to come back to your business to have another experience.
Step #4: Establish Your Routine
Set a schedule, and stick to it. – everyone’s schedule is going to be different. If you’re a business that sees a lot of foot traffic every day, you’re going to want to seek out new discussions and posts more often than businesses and professionals who have projects with longer durations.
Pick one day (or seven) that you sit down for 15 minutes, check all of your listings, and respond where necessary.
Step #5: Start Responding!
For a lot of businesses who haven’t confronted this previously, there will be some catch-up, and that’s okay. This is your opportunity to hit the reset button and start fresh.
Do you respond to reviews about your business? What’s the hardest part?