Online Business Reviews: Blessing or Curse For Reputation Management?

We all know the value of word-of-mouth recommendations in promoting our business, whether you are in the hospitality industry, work as a car mechanic, own a restaurant or have a company looking to attract superior talent to join their ranks. Enter online reviews.

Online reviews can come from a host of sources – if you have a business and you aren’t checking for these reviews online periodically, you should be!  The stats for online reviews are impressive: 86% of consumers read them before making purchasing decisions, making reputation management a must for businesses of all sizes. With the introduction of travel review sites such as TripAdvisor, regional dining reviews , potential customers and clients are savvy. Why risk going out for an expensive dinner, stay at a hotel or resort, or do some retail shopping without first seeing what others have to say? Not surprisingly, online reviews have become an integral part of any successful SEO and SMO campaign

Online reviews can boost your reputation and bring new customers to your business. But just like other promotional online environments, a review site can be viral, meaning (in the internet world) it can gain popularity and grow at an exponential rate, seemingly taking on a life of its own.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity for free exposure and word-of-mouth advertising, and do your best to ensure it’s all good!

How to Earn Positive Reviews

As in many other areas of sales, the best way is simply to ask for the business! Reputation management begins with developing a positive client base, so you can begin with your most trusted long-time customers or clients, people who know you and your business and have continued to patronize you. You can simply ask them to review your business and the quality of your services, providing them with a few possible locations where they can do so. Tell them what you are trying to do and simply ask them to be honest in their assessment.  There are a host of locations where your customers can post their comments, including Yahoo Local, Insider Pages, City Search, and Ratingz.net.

A Word About Negative Reviews:

It happens. It may be out of the blue, or come from someone you’ve been expecting to hear from! Either way, negative reviews can be personally upsetting and damaging to your business. The best way to avoid these is, of course, to provide the very best in customer service that you can! If you have 30 or 75 or 150 great reviews and one bad one, most reasonable people will avoid giving it more credence than it may deserve. If there is a recurring theme in the complaints, then it’s probably something you need to look into and treat it as a learning experience. If it does happen to you, however, remember that most reasonable people understand that these things do happen, so don’t over-think it, and by all means avoid getting into a discussion or argument about it online!

Why is reputation management important?

Remember when you were a kid and you played that game where everyone sat in a circle and whispered something into the next person’s ear – by the time it went around the circle it was usually a totally different version. You can avoid that scenario by monitoring your reviews, maintaining positive communication and exemplary customer service, and making sure your business gets the positive attention it deserves.

The good news is that the online review environment is extensive, open to everyone, and FREE! Need help with your online reputation management? Call Mannix Marketing!

About Sara Mannix

Sara Mannix is the CEO of Mannix Marketing, Inc., a Digital Marketing Agency headquartered in Glens Falls, NY. She founded Mannix Marketing in 1996 with a goal to get clients "found" on the web through organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The company now serves over 1500 clients worldwide and employs a team of nearly 30 specialists, still operating under the tagline "We Get You Found On The Web." This multifaceted company is an industry leader, specializing in organic SEO, Conversion Rate Optimization, SEO-friendly Website Design, Online Advertising, Social Media and more. Mannix Marketing also has one of the largest portfolios of tourism and city guides in Upstate New York. These guides, which include Albany.com, Saratoga.com, LakeGeorge.com, GlensFallsRegion.com, CliftonPark.com and Adirondack.net, reach over 10 million visitors a year. Corresponding social media profiles for the region extend this reach to millions more on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and more.