Taking your business online means you are bringing it where the world will be able to reach it. With this new chapter comes many new things to learn for most business owners. One of those is the fact that you will need to keep track of your online reputation. This may seem intimidating at first, but following a few simple tips will help make it manageable.
1. Create Social Media Accounts and Keep Them Active
A social media presence is vital to your online presence and reputation. Once you decide to create business social media profiles, it is important to keep them alive. This doesn’t mean 20 posts a day. Instead, find something that feels right for your business and keep with it. Create a regular schedule, whether it is one post a day or a few posts a week.
If you are not sure what to post, here are a few things to consider. How-to guides are perfect, while insider tips, anecdotes, and memes are also wonderful for your business. Giving your clients value through engaging posts will keep your followers engaged and make your presence more relatable.
Inactive and stale accounts make a business look unprofessional. Remember, an active social presence on just one platform is better than inactive accounts across several platforms.
2. Claim Your Business Name Across All Platforms
One of your first steps as a small business owner should have been to claim your domain name and all social media names. If you haven’t already done so, do it now. If your ideal name is available, claim it immediately. You do not want to have your potential customers run across a competitor or imposter instead of you when they search for you online. If the perfect one isn’t available, get one that is as close as possible to your business name so customers can intuitively search it out.
You want your presence to be nearly identical across all platforms for branding and recognition purposes. This will add to your trustworthiness. When your social media matches up, it boosts your reputation online. This not only creates consistency across the brand but will also keep competitors from grabbing your space.
It is recommended to claim all social media handles right away. Only make these public when you know you can maintain them. An account that isn’t used is harmful, as mentioned above. Think about where your potential clients are most likely to be and utilize those accounts first. When you are ready to expand, your handles will be available.
3. Respond to and Monitor Online Reviews
Customers generally have something to say about businesses they work with. Whether it’s a raving review or a comment about something they didn’t like, feedback is inevitable. In surveys, three-quarters of people believe that checking reviews is important before working with a business. With this kind of influence, it is critical that you know what your reviews look like.
Depending on the type and size of your business, reviews may get posted to third-party sites such as OpenTable and Yelp. They may also just post about you on their site. The point is, wherever there is a discussion about your business, you need to be there. Google Alerts is one way of keeping track of these mentions.
Responding to both positive and negative reviews is important. When you respond to the positive reviews, you reinforce that you are a business that cares about service. When responding to negative reviews, you are showing your clients that they can give feedback and you are willing to work for a solution. Timely responses are the best responses.
4. Verify Your Google Listing
One way to be proactive about your online reputation is to claim your Google listing. This way, local searches can easily find you. This listing is the profile that pops up when you search your business in Google. It is important to fill all the details out and keep them accurate.
As many as 36% of customers said they find out about a business from an online search. As such, keep this listing updated with current details about your business, including when it’s open. Keeping this information accurate is the way to keep giving your customers the best impression.
Stepping into the digital world with your business can be intimidating. Luckily, there are tons of tools available for you to utilize to maintain your reputation. All you need to do is be proactive and do some searches.
Blamah is the founder of Web Collaborative, a full-service creative agency. He is an established marketing strategist and consultant. He is also a graduate of Bucknell University and native of Chester County, PA with extensive experience in business development and brand management.
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