One of the most important things for a business – local, mid-sized, or national – is something that you may not expect or something that you may downplay: your business’s reputation. Really, reputation is one of the most important parts of a business? That is right because when you do not have a reputation due to lack of knowledge about your business or if you have a negative reputation, it can have disastrous consequences. Reputation is a very real thing to consider in your business, but it is important to know the basics of reputation management before you even consider doing something about it.

What is reputation management?

At its very basic definition, reputation is the beliefs that are held about someone or something. Everyone and everything has a reputation, whether it is positive or negative. You cannot escape having a reputation, you can only strive to change it through hard work. The same goes for your business: the moment you interact with your first customer, you have a reputation. Your customers are very powerful because they have the ability to spread information about your business based on their impressions of you and experience working with you.

Reputation management, in turn, is the act of trying to shape the public’s perception of a person or in this case a business. These days, reputation management mostly takes place online because of the prevalence of internet in our everyday lives. Reputation management is also possible through word-of-mouth, but it is much harder. For the purposes of this blog post, we are going to stick to online reputation management.

Why is reputation management important?

Imagine you start your business and get it set up on Google My Business. You get a few customers and some of them are unsatisfied with your performance. After leaving your business, they leave a negative review on your website. You do not realize the importance of reputation management and leave the reviews on your business’s page without replying to them. Suddenly, you are getting less visitors to your business and are struggling to keep your doors open.

This scenario is precisely why reputation management is important. Customers like to see how you respond to negative situations as well as positive ones. They like to see that you care enough about them to address their concerns and work to improve your business. By ignoring the feedback your customers provide, you are setting yourself up for failure. Now that you know what reputation management is and why it is important, here are the basics that will guide your strategy.

Reputation management basics

Focus on getting reviews

Whether your business is brand new or heavily established, you should focus on getting as many online reviews as possible. Reviews bring instant credibility to your business. They show that customers respect you and your work enough to tell others how they feel about you. While getting reviews can sometimes be easier said than done, there are quite a few effective ways to get them. The most effective way to get reviews is to simply ask your customers for them. You can do this through word-of-mouth, email, phone calls, or even having a sticker in your window. No matter what method you choose, make sure getting reviews is high atop your priorities.

Monitor review sites

Once you start requesting reviews from consumers, it is important to keep an eye on all the different platforms they could appear on. While there are many different review sites, including industry-specific ones that you should make yourself aware of, some are more common than others. The most common review sites include Facebook, Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, and Yahoo Local. It is essential to check these sites at least once a week for new reviews. This will help you catch any negative ones so you can respond to them sooner.

Responding to reviews

Last but not least it is time to respond to the many reviews you have been receiving. It does not matter if the review is positive or negative, best practice is to respond. When you respond to reviews, customers can see your responses. This will give them an idea of how you hold their opinion and if you work to improve your business or stay complacent with negative reviews.

Need help?

Reputation management can be an intimidating task if you are unfamiliar with it. At Focused Engagement, we are experts with a lot of experience crafting positive online reputations for our clients. If you would like to learn more about the basics of reputation management, online reviews, and responding to reviews, read through and watch our informative content on the subject! Contact us directly if you would like to set up a FREE consultation for services. We are happy to talk to you.