I still have clients that do not want anything to do with social media or anything online beyond a website.  Can you imagine?  The fact is, whether you participate or not, your business is going social.

online reviewsCustomers today have tons of tools at their disposal on which to voice their opinion.  Behavior is still the same as it was when word of mouth advertising was the only way people talked about your business.  When you do something right, they may tell a friend.  When you do something wrong, they will tell everyone that will listen.  Well today, they no longer have to wait until they see someone to share that experience.

For example, if you own a restaurant and a customer has a terrible experience, they can have their opinion online before they pay the bill. And if you are not paying attention that is what others see when searching for a place to have dinner.

Negative reviews can certainly hurt your business.  Here are some ways to get involved so you can manage your online reputation.

Pay Attention to Negative Reviews

If someone is taking the time to write a negative comment, you should take the time to find out what is going on in your business to make that happen.  Let’s continue with the restaurant example.  Your room may be full every night, but maybe it is because you are close to home and they like your hamburgers.  But a lot of negative comments are being posted about how rude your wait staff is or how dirty the bathroom is.

By reading these posts, you can take action and make things better. You may not have noticed these things otherwise in the heat of the dinner rush hour.

Be Active and Engage with Customers

Customers have taken the time to write about your business, so it is a good idea to engage with them and comment to their posts. Responding to a complaint in a public forum is great PR. It shows you care about them and you want to make things right.

Find out where people are talking about your and make sure someone is paying attention to those sites.

Post Your Own Content

Let’s revisit those clients of mine that refuse to do anything beyond a static website.  If their customers find a reason to post negative reviews online, even if it was in 2009, then that is what is going to show up in searches.  That is the only activity online about your company.

Don’t let this happen to you.  Create good content for your customers, be active in social media discussions, and write blog articles. Inspire your customers to post good reviews when they are happy. All of these things will make those previous negative reviews be hidden in the mix the next time someone Google’s your business.

Go ahead. Google your business now.  See anything that might need attention?

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