With the growing prevalence of social media and review sites, it is easier than ever before for customers to share their experiences with a wider audience. This can be both a blessing and a curse, as positive reviews can help to attract new customers, but negative reviews can be damaging to a business’s reputation. This is why online reputation management (ORM) is so important. ORM can be accomplished through a variety of methods, such as managing social media accounts, responding to customer reviews and complaints, and using search engine optimization (SEO) to influence the ranking of positive content in search results.
When someone searches for your business online, the results of that search can have a significant impact on their decision to engage with you—or not. If the top results are negative reviews or articles, it may discourage the person from contacting you. On the other hand, if the top results are positive reviews or articles, it can create a favorable impression and encourage the person to make an inquiry or book an appointment.
There are many tactics a marketer will use to influence the organic or natural perception of your business online. Much of this comes from online reputation management or—to be frank—knowing what other people are saying about you on the web. As a business, you can facilitate this online conversation in a few ways through these ORM basics:
Encourage Happy Clients to Leave Reviews
One of the most effective ways to improve your online reputation is to simply ask your customers to leave a review. You can do this by sending an email or text message after they’ve completed their appointment or procedure. Remember, not everyone enjoys asking for a review, so have a process in place so your staff can request the review efficiently and with confidence.
Respond to Reviews on Your Google My Business Page or Other Platforms
Both positive and negative reviews can be an opportunity to improve your business. This is especially important in Google Reviews, since the review itself and your reply as the owner can both have a positive impact on organic SEO. In addition, responding to reviews (good and bad) shows that you value your clients and are committed to providing excellent quality of care. In addition to directly asking for the review from your clients, it can also be helpful to add review widgets or badges to your website or social media accounts. These tools make it easy for customers to find your Google review page and leave a review with just a few clicks.
Optimize Your Google My Business Page
Your Google My Business listing is an important factor in your local SEO, and it’s also where many of your Google reviews will appear. Make sure your listing is complete and accurate. Add photos, list your services, and provide other information that will make it more appealing to customers and search engines.
Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews on Other Platforms
In addition to Google, there are many other review platforms that can be important for your business, such as RealSelf, RateMD, Vitals, Facebook, and more. For the organic SEO benefit that comes with Google reviews, we would encourage Google reviews first. However, encouraging customers to leave reviews on other platforms as well will improve your overall online reputation and create more reputable links to back your website.
Remember, the primary way we share information today is online. Make no mistake: People are online talking about your industry, your community, your competitors, and your business. These online conversations—and how you involve yourself in them—can help to shape the public perception of your business, which can have a major impact on your long-term success.