If you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to assume that you’ve at least thought about or focused on SEM (Search Engine Marketing), and might have found yourself putting online reviews and content about your business on the back burner. This is one of the most common pitfalls of many business owners, yet it can end up hindering the business in the long run.
Good news is, it’s easy to make a quick turnaround by contributing content and responding to your reviews (strategically, don’t worry). Maybe your stomach cringed a bit at the thought of responding to online reviews, that’s normal. However, responding to them hasn’t been the norm, and it’s not doing consumers or businesses any good by ignoring them.
Step 1: Mindset - Online Reviews are Public forms of Feedback
Feedback can come in many forms, and in 2016, it’s all about the public forum even more than ever. This makes it that much more important for a business owner to take the driver’s seat, and respond to patrons, whether feedback is critical, neutral or positive.
Step 2: The Plan - Do you respond to every review? No.
Let’s say you find your business online, and see a couple of critical reviews that might not depict the full story, or maybe they aren’t someone that you can find in your database of customers; or maybe someone dropped the ball; that’s okay--you’re only human. Don’t panic, simply respond and set the record straight to the public that are reading this feedback. Pro tip: Don’t be faceless, upload a true photo of yourself (think LinkedIn) to put a face to your name.
That’s the hard part, maybe you find out that your customers really enjoyed their service, your product, etc, then thank them publicly! It goes a long way for a consumer to receive a personalized message from a business owner. It truly shows that you are invested and care.
Pro Tip: Don’t copy-paste the same response to all positive feedback. Make it personalized and heartfelt. Be authentic to your business, and you will attract those customers to your business.
Step 3: Finding irrelevant content on the internet about your business? Contribute!
When is the last time you Googled your business? Try it out. If you find anything that seems irrelevant, chances are, you can claim your business listing as the owner and start to contribute content. Not sure what to contribute? Our blog post from earlier this year on the Importance of Using Quality Images on your Website is a great place to start. This helps to ensure your brand representation and quite frankly your business image is streamlined across the internet and easily recognizable no matter how a potential customer may find you.
The last thing you want to see is an incorrect phone number or business hours, so do a quick scan of these important pieces, and correct them as needed.
Okay, so what did we learn? Don’t ignore those reviews. Respond, engage, and show your consumers what your company prides itself in. Celebrate the wins, and learn from the constructive feedback.
Manage your online business listings, (Google my Business, Yelp, etc), and make it a point to check on them once a month. Here’s a couple resources on how to get started on claiming those pages to contribute and maintain your voice. https://www.google.com/business/ (Google) and https://biz.yelp.com/support/claiming (Yelp)