Not only yes, but Hell Yes! Did you know that your business HAS a Social Media profile on the internet even if you didn’t create one? Check the various Review sites. Chances are someone has posted something about your business, especially if there are industry specific review sites that pertain to your business such as cars.com (for vehicles) or Urban Spoon (restaurants). Some of the popular ones are: Yelp, Google Reviews, City Search, Four Square, Angie’s list, Facebook Recommendations, Trip Advisor, Yahoo, Urban Spoon, and there are dozens more. What we are talking about is Reputation Management. According to Wikipedia, Reputation Management is the practice of understanding or influencing an individual’s or business’s reputation. As the online world continues to boom Reputation management will grow as an important tool for your business.
There is nothing more painful to hear than a potential customer “Googled” your business (or your personal name), and decided to not do business with you because of what they read online. If you think you are not “online” this can really put you behind your competitors. Today, you are defined by what appears on the internet. In fact, hundreds of thousands of dollars are lost every day because of false, erroneous or misleading search engine results. The source of the negative listings is irrelevant; the impact on your business is what matters. So, what should you do?
Step 1. Go to Google, Yahoo and Bing. Search your business name and see your future. Now type your business name and/or product and the word “review.” Surprise, surprise.
Step 2. Now the real fun beginns. You create a plan based on the results of Step 1. Do you improve what already exists? Do you need to fix what is out there? Or are you a black hole with no reputation at all? These and other questions will drive the type of strategy you should create and implement.
Step 3. At the very MINIMUM, you should reply to most, if not all, the reviews about your business.
Step 4. Monitor ALL the review sites, so that when the next review is posted by a happy (or not so happy) customer, you can reply quickly. Knowing what is said and responding quickly, protects you from false claims, fixes a problem you might not have been aware of, and more importantly, maintains a professional image in the online world.
Step 36. JK (That’s text for “Just Kidding”). Just checking to see if you are paying attention.
Social Media is evolving as a very powerful opportunity to reach a large number of potential clients, business partners, buyers, and prospects. This is an opportunity to influence them to form a favorable opinion about your business, product or service. Reputation Management is something that EVERY business should take seriously. You can either do it yourself, find a consultant to help you get started, or just hire someone to do it for you. But whatever you do, don’t ignore the comments. You can’t afford it.
A last piece of advice. Do NOT use paid or fake reviews. Misleading the public can only lead to problems.
When was the last time you “Googled” your company? What about a product you produce?
Word of mouth has moved online, it’s time that you join the conversation.
Yours in Service,
Social Media Marketing Specialist
Connect: Discover Service Through Rotary