June 23

Online Reputation: Simple Ways to Create a Positive First Impression


Online reputation management is the practice of attempting to shape public perception of a person or business by influencing online information. Bad reviews can really hurt your business.  No reviews can also create a negative impression because it speaks volumes about your business – either you don’t have any customers or they are not happy with your services. Remember that a void leads people to draw their own conclusions which may not be accurate, so take control of your reviews and reputation!

Strategies for Improving Your Online Reputation

Online Reviews

Recent surveys have found that up to 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal referrals from friends and relatives. Google now places importance on reviews that are written directly on business websites. Make it easy for people to write reviews about your business on the right review sites for your business. Business owners want their reviews to help them show up in search rankings. For the majority of businesses, the places that are going to help you show up most prominently will be Google followed by Yelp. Industry specific sites are also important. For example, realtors would want to make sure they are getting quality reviews on Zillow.

Monitoring and Responding to Reviews

Monitoring reviews allows you to see what someone is saying about your business. Responding to both positive and negative reviews shows people you care and it also gives you a customer service opportunity to fix an issue. Sometimes that fix is what convinces someone to give your business a chance. If it’s a situation you can’t correct, responding to negative reviews is still important. It shows you are paying attention and trying to make things right for your customers.

I recently ate at a local restaurant where the cleanliness and service were not up to their usual standards. Instead of slamming them publicly online, I responded to their online survey with honest feedback. Within 24 hours the owner responded, apologized, and sent me a gift card. This experience turned me from a disgruntled customer into a repeat customer. By responding to my survey feedback quickly, I never wrote a negative online review – that’s a pretty smart business owner!

Online Reputation and Behavior

Although there are artificial ways to at least attempt to affect your online reputation, there’s no way to effectively create a false impression with any lasting power. You can choose what information to intentionally share online but you cannot control the conversation about you or your brand. According to research by the Nielson consulting group, 53% of adults follow particular brands online and 60% of of social networking site users write reviews of products and services. Given the number of people willing to discuss real customer experiences – and especially negative ones – the only truly effective way to create a positive online reputation is through appropriate behavior.

Directory Listings Are Important for Trust and Online Reputation

Your online business information creates a first impression for many potential customers. Incorrect or missing information – phone numbers or business hours, for example – can cost your business an opportunity to win new customers and to keep returning customers. Updated and easy to locate information is important to the individual customer but also to search engines. It shows you care and pay attention to details when your directory listings are up-to-date. Bad data causes doubt and uncertainty, keeping customers away, and giving search engines pause about how to rank your business because of bad data or inconsistencies.

Get Your Free Online Review Report

Want to know what people are saying about your business? Run our free online reputation report, then call us to see how we can help you start to build or improve your online reputation!


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