Today, a company’s online reputation plays a significant role in whether or not a consumer will purchase from them. In fact, one survey shows that 52% of consumers are more likely to use a local business with positive reviews online. That’s why it’s so important to monitor your business reputation – so you can be aware of what consumers are saying about you online and how to react and respond to reviews and comments about your business.
Now that more consumers are going online to find information about you and your business, it’s critical to develop a positive online reputation, and an important part of this includes monitoring various sites for mentions, reviews, and comments. To get started, here are some of the places you should consider when monitoring your business reputation online.
Review Sites – There are a variety of review sites that consumers turn to for information about local businesses, including general review sites and those more specific to your industry. Here are a few examples of some of the top places for local business reviews:
Google+ Local: You may have heard that Google+ Local has officially replaced Google Places for Business. For now, this initial change has updated all Google Places pages with a new look and feel and migrated existing reviews to the Zagat 30-point scoring system. If you haven’t already claimed your business on Google Places, you can still set up a Google+ Local account. It is important to monitor these reviews, as your Google+ Local page can appear in Google’s search results page, making your reviews prominent when a user searches on Google. Also, Google now requires consumers to have a Google account to create reviews, in an attempt to generate more authentic reviews and build credibility with consumers.
Yelp: With over 71 million monthly users and over 27 million reviews, Yelp remains a popular review site that consumers visit to read and create business reviews online. So, monitoring your business reputation here can significantly help you manage your online reputation. To get started, you should claim your business on Yelp; doing so is free and allows you to connect and respond directly to consumers who leave reviews on your business page.
Social Sites – Just like there are a variety of review sites, there are also many social media sites where consumers may be talking about your business. Be aware that mentions on some social media sites may not show up in publicly available tools like Google alerts, so make sure you’re actively managing and monitoring your business reputation on top social sites like the following:
Facebook: In a recent study, approximately 51% of consumers reported that they were likely to buy from a business after liking their Facebook page. As a business, you should use this opportunity to share fresh content to inform, engage, and recognize Facebook fans. Not only will it demonstrate your active presence, it will also allow you to define and guide the conversation about your business. Also, by using tactics like asking questions about products and services, you can gain insightful information from your fans. However, it’s important to remember that if you ask for feedback, you should respond to or at least acknowledge the comments – approximately 70% of Facebook fans are ignored by businesses and brands they follow on Facebook. So, both engaging consumers and managing your reputation on Facebook is critical to your business.
Twitter: With its short messages and easy sharing features, a bad mention of your business on Twitter can spread quickly. It’s important to monitor your business’ @username as well as run a search for your business name regularly to see what consumers are saying about you and to you. Once you know what’s being said, you also need to develop a strategy to respond to negative replies and complaints on Twitter.
Google+: If you have a Google+ business page, it will soon merge with your new Google+ Local profile. This will make Google+ an even more important social network to monitor, because Google will index your Google+ Local profile within its search results. In other words, when consumers search for your business and click on your Google reviews, they will see reviews from consumers as well as social posts from you, along with comments from consumers within your Google+ circles. This potential visibility demonstrates why you should create a plan to monitor your Google+ profile and promote engaging content on Google+.
In addition to review and social sites, there are many additional channels where consumers can talk about your business online, such as blogs and local listing sites. In order to stay on top of these extra mentions, you should set up alerts that will notify you when someone mentions your business name in any public forum on the Web. One helpful tool is the “Me on the Web” feature located within the Google Dashboard. Once set up, this easy-to-use version of Google Alerts will notify you via email any time your business name, email address, or other keywords about your business are published on the Web. This tool is a great resource for managing your business reputation in places you might not be looking.
Monitoring your online reputation can be a time-intensive activity, but it is worth your time to develop a strategy and monitor the right places, especially now that consumers rely on the Web to research companies’ reputations before making a purchase.
Where are you monitoring your business reputation? Are there other websites you find valuable? Let us know in a comment!