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How to improve your online reputation through 8 simple steps

Your brand’s online reputation is your most valuable asset your business can have: 97% of consumers search online for local businesses. And when a prospective customer discovers your business, they make judgments and buying decisions based on their perception of your business. 

Reputation management is the practice of proactively creating and managing consumer perception of your brand’s online presence, reviews, and comments that people leave about your business across social media. 

For a long time, online reputation management was easier said than done for many small and medium-sized companies, but it’s critical, especially for businesses that have neglected it. In this article, we’ll demonstrate actionable steps any business can take to improve their online reputation. 


Why online reputation is important

Today, consumers influence the buying cycle more than ever before. With the proliferation of the smartphone, consumers can and will express their voice – and companies that are willing to engage their customers are the ones that win more business. 

There are 3 benefits of having a strong online reputation

  • More credibility with customers. People want to do business with companies they trust. Building and managing a repository of reviews is a form of social proof that will help you build trust and credibility with prospective customers. 
  • Rank higher on Google. An excellent online reputation means your business will rank higher in relevant search results.  Online reviews provide fresh, organic content for your business and show the genuine experiences of your customers.
  • Higher Revenue. Studies show that an excellent online reputation means more revenue for your business. According to the Harvard Business Review, a 1-star increase in rating can result in a 5-9% increase in revenue.

How to improve your reputation with an online reputation management strategy

Building a strong online reputation doesn’t just happen overnight: it requires time and dedication from the business. Research shows that 58% of business executives think they need to manage their reputation online. However, only 15% do something about it. 

Here are 8 tips to improve your online reputation 

1. Provide Excellent Customer Experience

It all starts here: providing outstanding customer service and experiences to your customers makes them want to come back for more. Some may be willing to leave a review (more on that later).


2. Treat your Google page 1 as your business card

75% of users never go past the first page of Google. By taking steps to rank higher on search, your business will get discovered by more customers. 

To increase your business’s visibility on search, get more reviews, and make sure that your business listings are accurate across the Internet. Reviews and listings account for more than 25% of ranking factors.


3. … But don’t forget about the other guys 

Expand your digital footprint and make sure your business has an active and accurate profile on all review sites. Also, ensure that information like website address, phone number, physical address, and store hours are correct. 

Incorrect business listing information can spread across the Internet and cause severe damage to your business. 


4. Monitor your online presence on review sites …. And your competitors, too.

Keep a close eye on how customers discuss your business or write reviews for your business on review sites like Facebook and Google. This helps you find and fix small issues before they snowball and do irreparable damage to your online reputation––not to mention your bottom line.

It’s essential to monitor your competitors too! Whether customers are trying to find a new restaurant or a new dental practice, they’re probably going to look up multiple businesses online. That’s why it’s essential to see what customers are saying about your competitors on review sites. If there are areas where your competitors are excelling and where you’re falling short, you can figure out what you can do differently to stay a step ahead.


5. Proactively respond to reviews

Customers enjoy businesses that interact with them online, so make sure to respond to online reviews and feedback quickly. This shows prospective customers that you care about the experience of all your customers. Responding to reviews is also a good way to show appreciation and build loyalty.  If a customer provides a good review, thank them. And if they report a problem, get in touch right away. In most cases, customers will update their comments as long as you get to the bottom of the problem quickly. 

Negative reviews can also be an opportunity to improve your customer experience. Use the insights that you get from reviews to understand better what aspects of your business customers love and what elements need to be improved (You can read more about how to respond to bad online reviews here.) 


6. Encourage customers to leave reviews 

Next, you want to make sure that your customers share their great experience on review sites and social media. Remember, a business with 500 reviews looks a lot better than a company with 5. There’s an easy trick to getting more reviews: just ask at the right time! Your customers are likely to be most happy with your services right after you provide them, and by sending review requests via text and email to all of your customers, you will make the process of leaving a review easy – All they have to do is click on the link and write a review. 

In fact, if you use an appointment scheduling software, this process can be quite seamless. this process for you by sending automated emails to customers right after their service is complete so that they can post a review easily!


7. Keep your customers engaged with relevant content 

Blogs, active social media accounts, email, and other forms of content allow you to demonstrate expertise in your field and gain a loyal following by providing your readers with additional value outside your goods and services. As a bonus, blogging, for example, provides a rankings boost for local SEO and creates content to share across social media platforms.

And speaking of social media, make sure your business is posting regularly across the various platforms. Information like new offerings, fun news about your business, promotions, or sharing positive reviews are examples of things you can share with your customers. 


8. Monitor your progress 

The goal of online reputation management is to improve your reputation. You can’t improve it without tracking your progress. And as long as you follow through with the promises you make in response to your positive and negative reviews, you should always see progress. 


Conclusion 

You only have one chance to make a first impression–and online reputation management should be a key focus for your business. Your online reputation doesn’t come out of thin air. It is built by customers who are talking about your brand. By controlling your reputation from the beginning, you can make sure your company is represented in the right light.


About Appointy

We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium business face every day. 

If you have any thoughts on this blog, or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below. 

We love a good talk!