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4 Keys to Online Reputation Management

In an era where 94 percent say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business, reputation management online is more important than ever. Here are four areas to focus on when it comes to managing your brand's reputation on the web. 

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1) Build Credibility and Visibility with Public Relations

For small businesses, maintaining a positive reputation locally can be key to driving sales and catching the eye of potential clients. Participation in local events, from sponsorship of family-friendly events to high-profile speaking engagements, can position your business as a personable, knowledgeable company.  A good public relations program can help with your brand perception, curb negative beliefs, and help keep your business in the public mind - and their Google searches. 

2) Leverage Reviews for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The old joke about the best hiding place in the world being the 2nd page of Google search results holds true.  According to Forbes, the first page of Google captures 71% of search traffic clicks. Strategic SEO moves can put you on the first page where consumers are looking. Beyond just their computers, more and more consumers are searching for businesses while on the move and on their mobile phones. According to Google Data, 76% of people who search for something nearby on their smartphone visit a related business within a day and 28% of those searches result in a purchase. One key element to being within that 28% of sales is a strong search engine presence. Usage of keywords related to your business and useful content will help drive traffic to your website and strengthen your web presence. A simple, easy-to-navigate interface on your website will allow potential customers to engage with you and enhance their first impression of your company. 

3) Collect Reviews on Google My Business, Key Review Websites, and Social Media

Platforms that allow for consumers to leave reviews of your business have emerged as behemoths that can heavily influence how you manage your brand's reputation. In the eyes of the potential client, reviews from your previous patrons are key to shaping their perception of your business. Beyond your small business's website, a majority of what will shape consumer brand opinion lies on platforms such as Yelp, Facebook, and Google My Business. These reviews will mostly come from consumers that you have dealt with first-hand. Note that these reviews will often appear directly in search engine results pages when a searcher is looking for your business or related services.

Light encouragement and suggestions to previous clients to leave reviews on these pages can help boost your business. Collecting reviews from clients with whom you've had a positive experience can come around to help you in the long run when future customers search for you on the web. Inviting clients to subscribe or 'Like' your Facebook page is a great segue to asking them to leave a review. With over 2 billion users according to Statista in 2018, Facebook can hold great sway over whether a customer becomes a future client. 

4) Respond and Address Your Reviews (the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) 

Taking the time to address each individual review paints your company as personable and willing to engage. Engagement is especially important for small businesses looking to stand out in their local markets. A study from Cornell University highlights that answering reviews increase business revenue as well as the total number of reviews. While responding to negative reviews may be intimidating, addressing issues brought up by bad reviews help grow your company in multiple ways. Not only does owning up to your mistakes bolster your business's reputation as humble and self-reflecting, it also tells consumers that you are willing to reach out and make things right. 

For more information concerning online reputation management, or simply for a free consultation, feel free to reach out to us at Igniting Business.

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