A successful business is not only about having a superior product (or service) and reaching the right audience. In the digital age, regardless of your business niche, you’ll need to pay attention to your social media activity, monitor your customer reviews and worry about a bunch of other aspects that affect your online reputation.

Because almost every niche is extremely competitive, small businesses can no longer afford to ignore their online reputation. Let’s look at the restaurant industry for example. Did you know that a staggering 90% of diners are influenced by online reviews when they need to pick out a place to eat? In this day and age, an online review is almost as good as a personal recommendation.

With this in mind, can you really afford to ignore online reputation management? Almost every potential client that is thinking about doing business with you will end up using a search engine to make the final decision. It’s up to yo if you want to turn the online reputation management of your business into your greatest asset. Of course, you can always ignore it, but I can guarantee you that it will cost you a lot of potential customers.

If you are prepared to be proactive and determined start working on the reputation management of your small business, we have prepared a list of essential aspects that you should constantly worry about.

Small Business Online Reputation Management

When you’re just starting out to establish your small business, online reputation management might not be on your priority list since nobody is really talking about your brand. But as your business grows, you’ll notice that people will start asking questions about your organization, in addition to looking for information about your products or services.

Reputation management is all about controlling what they find and how they find it. Of course, there’s much more to it than this – maintaining your small business online reputation requires consistency and careful planning in some key areas.

Here’s a list of tips that you can use to ensure that your small business doesn’t lose customers on account of poor online reputation management.

Establish customer engagement bridges

Before we explore other methods of building and maintaining your online business reputation, let’s make sure that you have your infrastructure in place. A solid online reputation is not possible if you don’t have a solid online marketing strategy.

You need to put in the effort to place the building blocks of your online presence. This guide will tell you all about setting a Google My Business listing, a Facebook Places listing, a Yelp listing as well as establishing a strong social media presence.

Only when you have your online marketing strategy in place you can start worrying about the other aspects presented below.

Make sure your website is representative

A lot of prospecting customers will land on your website before making the final purchase. Whether you’re a local business or you sell through the internet, your website should be the highlight of your organization.

Let’s say a potential customer is researching your brand. Even if he’s already read some good review about your products, he might be reluctant to risk making a purchase if your website looks like a flashback from the past.

With this in mind, always make it a priority to keep your business website updated with what your business has to offer. Even more, you should stay up to date with the latest website design trends and make it as intuitive as possible for the prospecting customer. But the most important aspect of it is to make sure that it’s optimized for mobile use – keep in mind that Google will start penalizing websites that are not mobile friendly.

Work on becoming known for great customer experience

You might be tempted to believe that if your product/service is great customers will soon follow. But the reality is, I’ve seen countless of stellar startups fail due to poor customer service.

If you want people to say good things about you in the review section, you need to provide great customer experience from start to finish. You need to actively seek personalized feedback from your customers and adapt to their needs. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on your competition as well as on the best industry practices to make sure that your business doesn’t lag behind.

Respond to as many reviews, posts, and comments as possible

One of the first things that we tell our clients is to keep a constant eye on their online reviews and comments on the social media sites and forums. You can’t control what people say about you, but you can always respond with your organization point of view. There are a lot of tools that you can use to monitor what people say about you, but if you want a free and reliable approach, just set a Google Alert.

Consumers love the idea of being listened to. By responding to good and bad reviews and comments, you establish your business as a serious establishment that prioritizes customer satisfaction.

Every business owner knows there are some customers that are simply impossible to please. Regardless of how stellar your products or services are, you will receive a negative review sooner than later. You should always try to respond in a reasonable manner. Never get into arguments and try to maintain an aura of professionalism.

Also, it’s just as important to thank the customers that leave positive reviews – those will likely turn into loyal customers that will act as brand ambassadors. Here’s a nice explanatory video that will teach you how to respond to reviews:

Start working on your online reputation management

These essential tips should be enough to ensure that you put your business in the best light possible on the Internet. Remember that being proactive with reputation managed will not yield immediate results, but will generate more leads in the long run.

If you use other tactics that contributed to a positive online reputation management, consider taking the time to tell us all about it in the comment section below.