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6 Rep Management Basics for Small Biz Owners

By: Karen Condor

 

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Online reputation can make or break small businesses before they get a chance to blossom. Don’t ignore your online reputation because it doesn’t look great. You have to be proactive about this, which is what the reputation management basics are all about.

Register Your Business

You will have to go on a hunt for your business online. Often, small businesses don’t know their businesses are on several online platforms. If you haven’t claimed these business sites, your business will look abandoned. Online customers may think less of you if they come across your unclaimed business. Claim your business every time you find it through major search engines. Once you’ve claimed it, you can make contact modifications and can respond to comments left on the platforms you find. If you’re serious about your reputation, this is a major step.

Encourage Communication and Reviews

You need to encourage quality reviews. To do that, you need to foster a healthy communicative environment. A good place to start is to respond to reviews. Be sure to respond without empty promises. Attempt to solve issues, and be honest about problems you can’t fix for your customers. Honesty can make a difference, and it encourages customers to continue communicating with you. Business owners can check out this resource to learn how to get more Google business reviews. One way to do this is to start promoting blog posts that draw in potential customers. This will make it easier for people to find you online and to leave a review.

Don’t Leave Fake Reviews

A bad online reputation can hurt small businesses. What is worse is that turning things around can take some time. Well, it can happen, but you’ll have to be patient. One thing you don’t want to do to manage your reputation is to create fake reviews. This idea floats in the minds of some business owners, so don’t feel bad if you think about it, too. Just don’t act on it because it will come back to bite you. Search engines and review sites are quite sophisticated and will find out about these fake reviews. You’ll end up getting punished and flagged, which is not what you want right now.

Start to Get Involved

Just because you’re focusing on online reviews doesn’t mean everything needs to take place online. Take the time to get your small business involved with your local community. Get involved in festivals or sponsor a local team. Do whatever you can do to get your name out there. The more your community knows you, the higher the chances of seeing positive reviews online. The folks in your community can get online like anyone else. If they see your company trying to be a light in the community, they’ll be more willing to support it.

Create a Positive In-House Culture

The next thing you want to work on deals with your employees. A lot of the reviews you see online will rest on them. Training employees to treat customers well will do a lot of good, but that’s not all. You can’t police your workers, so you need to figure out some incentives to encourage them to represent your business well.

One thing you can do is create a prize system where the person who gets good marks from customers receives a prize at the end of the month. You can do other things that improve the company culture, such as starting employee-owned stocks. Giving your employees ownership of the business gives them a reason to help your business succeed. This is a new way of doing business, but it’s proving to be quite effective.

Invest in Professional Management

When your business is small enough, you can take care of most of these comments on your own. Once your business starts to grow, you’ll have to work with a management team. You’ll have many comments and won’t have time to respond to each one properly. Things get worse if you decide to open up social media accounts to encourage communication.

You don’t have hours to respond to the comments you might get at this point, so just hire a team to manage things for you. The right team is going to work with you to train the response team to answer how your team members might reply, and they’re going to keep your brand’s overall message.

These are some things you can do to try to improve your online reputation. Most of these things will make your business better than it is now, so you win either way. Try to be patient because this part is going to be hard. You’ll have to invest a significant amount in this project, but your online reputation is more than worth it.

Published: October 29, 2020
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