Expert Shares Tips on Managing Online Reputations
Nov. 6, 2020—The bottom line for reviews, according to Corey Perlman, is that business owners should respond to all of them if possible. It helps to build momentum toward more and more positive feedback online.
Perlman, an expert author and speaker, presented as part of SEMA360's virtual education seminars. His session focused on how brands can be proactive and protect their online reputations. As nearly half of Google searches are for local businesses and 92 percent of searchers picking the business from the first page of results, it's important to give your business the best footing.
“We need to make sure that we’re focused on the first page of Google, because most people don’t click to the next page,” Perlman said.
First, Perlman suggested that all owners dedicate some time to researching their own business online. Give attention to how your business comes up in Google searches, how it's presented in search listings, and how your social media page appears to users.
“There's been an opportunity for us to work on our business instead of in our business, and this is one of the things that we can do,” he said.
Put yourself in a customer perspective and make sure they're finding your shop when they're searching online.
Match Online with Offline
Perlman said that business owners take pride in their products and services in the brick-and-mortar world, and that should continue with your online assets. More often, modern customers will get their first impression of your business through an online search or social media.
“Not only make sure that you know where you are online, what profiles you're on, but do you have a consistent, professional brand online?” Perlman said.
Start by making sure all the information that you're presenting to customers about your business is available online and matches what is offered in the physical location. Then invest in making that online presence look as professional as you'd want your physical location to be.
Plan for the Worst
No one wants negative online reviews, but they happen. Owners need to be ready to deal with them, and a plan minimizes the risk for an improper reaction.
“I do think you should defend yourself, but just in a diplomatic way," Perlman said.
He shared five core tips for smart responses to negative reviews.
- Be diplomatic and try not to argue
- Be empathetic
- Don't be defensive
- Try to solve the issue
- Take it offline
Plan for the Best
Just like the previous tip, have a plan in place for responding to positive reviews and encouraging more.
“Your business should have a process for gaining reviews,” Perlman said.
Whether you're incentivizing customers to leave reviews, training your staff to ask customers to leave reviews or sending out text and email links to review platforms, this will help create a snowball of positive feedback that other customers will see when they search your business. The result is a business that looks responsive and healthy with their customer relationships.