Pick up your mobile phone and search for your business on Google. What comes up? Are you happy with the results you see? If not, it might be time for your business to consider online presence management.
Regardless of how amazing your business and services are, there will always be a negative comment or review that haunts you. But with online presence management, that pesky review no longer has to define your business.
There are proven (and legitimate) ways to bury the negative feedback and promote the overwhelming majority of happy customers who left your business glowing reviews.
What is Online Presence Management?
For starters, online presence management encompasses much more than reviews -- although reviews are extremely important. Online presence management refers to the process of managing your entire online brand image and drawing traffic to your website. It allows you to have a voice in and help dictate the conversation about your business, and ultimately, influence your online reputation.
There are three major goals for online presence management:
- Improve your where and how your business appears in search results;
- Attract new customers and more traffic; and
- Increase and improve customer reviews and ratings.
Online presence management includes (but isn’t limited to) managing the following:
- Reviews on all platforms;
- Business website;
- Social media profiles;
- Local SEO; and
- Online local business directories.
All of these factors will help you take control of your online presence and boost your visibility, attracting more customers. Let’s dive in.
There are four aspects to reviews. First, you have to respond to the reviews you already have. Once you get new reviews, you will have to respond to those as well. This goes for all reviews -- both positive and negative. Responding to reviews is critical.
Prospective customers come here to read how you handle situations. Among consumers that read reviews, 97 percent read businesses’ responses to reviews. This is your chance to impress and win over the prospect.
Responding to reviews also shows that you care about customer feedback and want to either thank a customer for their positive review or rectify a negative experience, which will encourage more customers to leave reviews in the future.
Second, you have to ask for more reviews. If asked, approximately 71 percent of consumers will leave a review for a business. You can ask customers to submit reviews through email, text message, in-person, on their receipt, or any other way you see fit as long as you ask.
Third, highlight the reviews on your website. Don’t let your glowing reviews go to waste! Showing customer testimonials will increase your credibility and searchers will trust your brand more.
And lastly, use their feedback to improve your business. You are hearing directly from the source. If there is an issue, work to fix and improve customer experience. As mentioned before, online presence management provides strategies on how to conceal the bad feedback and highlight the positive ones, however, if your business doesn't fix its customer service problems, negative reviews will continue to surface -- no matter how good you are repairing your online reputation.
Your website is the first impression your customers have of your business. There is no room for error here. If customers don’t like what they see, in a matter of seconds they can navigate to your competitor's page.
To avoid this dilemma, your website should include:
- A responsive and mobile-first design;
- A variety of eye-popping images;
- Your business description;
- Relevant, useful and accurate content;
- Clear CTA’s;
- Customer testimonials;
- Strategic keywords (for SEO);
- Schema checker;
- SSL secured;
- An online scheduling tool;
- A business messenger tool (live chat, chatbot, etc.);
- Online payment options;
- Easy navigation; and
- Beautiful design and be aesthetically pleasing.
Your website should work to attract new customers and give them all the important information they need to know in order to choose your business. You have to be vigilant and make updates to your website as needed.
Managing your social media accounts -- on top of everything else on your plate -- is a lot. And oftentimes, social media gets pushed to the back burner, but it can’t keep getting ignored. Your social media profiles play an important role in your online presence management.
It’s important for you to post new content, keep up with comments, and engage with your followers on a semi-regular basis. Much like reviews, customers, and prospects are turning to your social media profiles to learn more about your business and the kind of services you offer. If you turn a cold shoulder to your social media and ignore it, people will notice.
Social media is also a great place for you to showcase your positive feedback and demonstrate your services. A picture can be worth a thousand words, so make them count.
Online Local Business Directories
One way local businesses can get found by online searchers is through inclusion in business directories. An online business directory is an online listing of local businesses. The listings provide the searcher with information about relevant businesses including their name, address, contact information, associations, images, services offered, reviews, rating, as well as other relevant information.
The major business directories include:
- Google My Business
- Apple Maps
- Yellow Pages
- Better Business Bureau
- Angie's List
- Yahoo! Local
Your information on these listings must be accurate, updated, and consistent. You also have to make sure your business is in the right category. For instance, if you own a landscaping business, you don’t want to come up when someone searches for plumbing services. You want to direct qualified leads to your website.
Consumers turn to online business directories to learn more about a business, if you have false information here, customers won’t be happy.
You have to keep an eye on your listing and make sure to update this information as your business grows and changes. Keep in mind, the more information you provide, and the more frequently you update the listing, the more successful your business will be.
Take Control of Your Reputation with Online Presence Management
Now that you know the gist of online presence management, it’s up to you to take the right approach and come up with an effective strategy to build your digital reputation and take control of your online presence.
However, we understand that this is a lot to process. If all of this is too overwhelming and you don’t have time to put into your online presence, we are here to help.
GoSite’s software suite offers a complete all-in-one Review Hub that you can use to improve your credibility, reputation, and turn more searchers into buyers.
Choose GoSite to make your business stand out so customers choose to engage with your business over your competitors.