Master Your Online Business Reputation: Essential Strategies

Online business reputation plays a big role in the success of local service businesses. With locals increasingly turning to the internet to compare and contrast you and your competition, having a positive online reputation is more important than ever. 

In this article, we’ll explore why online business reputation is something you should keep on your radar and introduce some key strategies to help you master your reputation management efforts. 

If you’re ready to improve your sales and attract more customers, then let’s dive in.

Monitor and respond to reviews all in one place

Understand Your Current Online Reputation

Have you Googled yourself lately? Understanding your online reputation is the first step towards mastering your business’s reputation management

First, start by conducting a simple audit of your business’s online presence. This involves assessing your presence on various platforms where customers leave reviews and ratings, such as:

Pay close attention to the comments, mentions, reviews, and ratings your business has received on these platforms, as they provide valuable insights into your customers’ honest experiences or perceptions of you.

As you dive deeper, take note of both the positive and negative reviews, as well as any recurring themes or patterns you notice over time. 

Additionally, consider taking a step back and looking at the overall rating your business has received on each platform, as this serves as a quick indicator of your general online reputation. If they are similar across the board, great! If they vary significantly, you may need to dig a little deeper. 

By understanding the current state of your online reputation, you can identify clear areas for improvement and develop strategies to address any negative feedback or issues. Remember that your online reputation is a reflection of your business’s credibility and trustworthiness, so to keep your good name in check, be proactive by regularly monitoring it.

For more insights on online reputation management, check out our blog post: What Is Online Reputation?

Actively Request Customer Reviews

Regularly asking your happy customers for feedback is a great way to enhance your online reputation and attract more customers. 

You see, positive reviews serve as powerful messaging, influencing potential customers’ purchasing decisions and building trust in your business around town. These reviews provide firsthand accounts of satisfied customers’ experiences, reassuring others they can expect the same good-quality service when they visit.

To effectively request customer reviews, it’s a good idea to approach the process in a way that feels natural. Start by identifying the right moments to ask for feedback, such as after completing a successful service or when a customer expresses satisfaction with your work. This ensures that you’re asking for reviews from customers who are most likely to provide positive feedback.

When asking for reviews, personalize your request and express genuine appreciation for your customers’ support. Keep your message concise and friendly, making it easy for customers to understand and respond. 

Make sure to provide clear instructions on where and how to leave a review, whether it’s on your website, Google Business Profile, or another review platform.

Consider incorporating incentives or rewards for customers who take the time to leave a review or refer a friend, such as a discount on their next service or entry into a prize draw. This not only encourages participation but also shows your appreciation for their feedback—this way, everyone wins!

Also see: How to Ask for a Review: Best Practices and Templates

Respond to Reviews Promptly — The Good and The Bad

Respond quickly to any and all reviews, whether they’re good, bad, or straight-up ugly. How quickly? Aim to reply within the hour for negative reviews, with all comments touched within 24 hours. Prompt responses demonstrate to both the reviewer and potential customers that you value their feedback and are committed to making things right if you missed the mark the first time.

Positive Reviews

When responding to positive reviews, express genuine appreciation for the customer’s feedback and their decision to share their positive experience. Personalize your response by mentioning their name, your business, and specific aspects of their review that you found particularly valuable or heartwarming. This not only keeps the good vibes going but also encourages continued loyalty from the reviewer because you show you genuinely care. 

Negative Reviews

In contrast, responding to negative reviews requires a delicate approach aimed at resolving the customer’s concerns and mitigating any potential damage to your reputation. Start by acknowledging the customer’s feedback and expressing genuine regret for any inconvenience or dissatisfaction they experienced. Avoid becoming defensive or confrontational, as this can escalate the situation and further alienate the customer.

Instead, focus on offering a sincere apology and a willingness to address the issue. Provide reassurance that you take their feedback seriously and are committed to resolving the issue promptly. Try to move the conversation to a more private space to discuss the matter further, and provide your phone number or an email address where the customer can contact you.

Be Professional

Regardless of the review’s sentiment, always maintain a professional and courteous tone in your responses. Remember that your responses are visible to everyone, and how you handle feedback can significantly impact their perception of your business. 

By responding promptly and thoughtfully to all reviews, you demonstrate your dedication to customer satisfaction and reinforce your reputation as a trustworthy and reliable local service provider.

Leverage Social Media to Boost Your Reputation

Here’s how to use social media to enhance your visibility and better engage with your local community:

Choose the Right Platforms

  • Identify which social media platforms are most popular among your target audience.
  • Consider platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even TikTok based on your business type and target demographic.

Create Compelling Profiles

  • Improve your social media profiles with high-quality images, a concise yet informative bio, and relevant keywords related to your services and location.
  • Ensure consistency in branding across all platforms to maintain a cohesive online presence (ie. use the same logo across the board).

Share Valuable Content

  • Post daily, or at least a few times a week, engaging content that adds value to your audience, such as informative articles, how-to guides, industry insights, and behind-the-scenes peeks at your practice.
  • Incorporate a mix of visual content, including photos, videos, infographics, and memes, to keep your feed fresh, relatable, and exciting.

Encourage Interaction

  • Prompt followers to engage with your posts by asking questions, running polls or surveys, and hosting contests or giveaways.
  • Respond promptly to comments, messages, and mentions to foster meaningful conversations and improve your DM response time on platforms like Facebook.

online business reputation

(Source, Facebook)

Showcase Customer Testimonials and User-Generated Content

  • Share positive customer reviews, testimonials, and success stories to build trust and credibility with your audience.
  • Encourage customers to share their experiences with your business by reposting their content (with permission) and featuring user-generated photos or videos.

Kinda like this example below:

online business reputation

(Source, Instagram)

Utilize Hashtags and Geotags

  • Use relevant hashtags (like the ones used in the above image) to increase the visibility of your posts and attract users interested in your niche or location.
  • Geotag your posts to target local users and enhance your visibility within your service area.

Collaborate with Influencers and Local Partners

  • Partner with influencers, local businesses, and community organizations to expand your reach and tap into their existing audiences.
  • Host joint events, cross-promote each other’s content, or offer exclusive discounts or promotions to incentivize collaboration.

Important Note: Ensure that you do your homework. Collaborating with an influencer or business with a current or problematic reputation can hurt your public image rather than help it.

Analyze Performance and Adapt Strategies

  • Monitor key metrics such as engagement rate, reach, and follower growth to gauge the effectiveness of your social media efforts. The higher these metrics, the better.
  • Use insights from analytics tools to identify trends, understand your audience’s preferences, and refine your content strategy for the best results.

Here’s an example of how a local business uses social media the right way:

A local bakery uses Instagram to showcase its freshly baked goods, behind-the-scenes baking processes, and customer testimonials. They regularly host Instagram contests where followers can submit their creative dessert photos for a chance to win a gift basket of baked treats. 

The bakery also collaborates with local food bloggers and influencers to host Instagram Live baking sessions. This helps them to attract a wider audience and generate buzz around their seasonal and limited-time products. 

By consistently engaging with their community through interactive content and building strategic partnerships, the bakery enhances its visibility and builds better customer loyalty.

Monitor Your Online Business Reputation Regularly

As we said previously, keeping tabs on what is being said about you online can make or break your business. Not all reviews are genuine, and misinformation likes to spread fast. That’s why you need to react promptly to set things straight. Here are some things to help you with that:

Utilize Online Reputation Management Tools

Pro Tip: These tools are great because they sniff out and collect reviews from popular review sites, social media channels, and other online sources, providing a centralized dashboard for easy monitoring and analysis.

Set Up Google Alerts

  • Take advantage of Google Alerts to receive email notifications whenever your business name, keywords, or relevant phrases are mentioned online.
  • You can customize your alerts to target specific geographic locations or industry-related topics to stay informed about relevant conversations and developments.

Monitor Social Media Mentions

  • Regularly monitor social media platforms for mentions of your business name, branded hashtags, and related keywords.
  • Use native platform features like notifications, mentions, and search functions to track conversations, comments, and reviews about your business and respond in real-time. 

Check Review Sites and Business Directories

  • Regularly review your business profiles on popular review sites and local listing directories such as Yelp, Yellow Pages (YP), and Google Business Profile, as well as more industry-specific ones like Angi and TripAdvisor.
  • As we said earlier, timing is key. Respond promptly to new reviews, both positive and negative, to demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction and address any concerns raised by your reviewers.

Monitor Competitor Activity

  • Keep an eye on your competitors’ online reputation and customer feedback to see how you stack up, benchmark your performance, and capitalize on opportunities.
  • Analyze their strengths and weaknesses to glean insights for improving your own business practices and reputation management strategies.

Regularly Review and Adjust Your Strategy

  • Schedule regular check-ins to review your online reputation management efforts and assess the effectiveness of your current strategies.
  • Use feedback and performance metrics to identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to your approach, such as refining your messaging, addressing recurring issues, or investing in areas that yield positive results.

By proactively monitoring your online business reputation and staying engaged with customer feedback, you can maintain a positive brand image, address issues quickly, and gradually change your business for the better.

Address Negative Feedback Constructively

Accepting 5-star reviews always feels effortless, but navigating negative feedback is a whole other beast. If you are facing a blocker with digesting the not-so-nice things about you on the internet, here are some tips that could help:

Stay Calm and Professional

  • Approach negative feedback calmly and professionally, refraining from emotional or defensive reactions.
  • Remember, negative feedback is an opportunity for improvement and shows customer engagement, so while it might be a tough pill to swallow, it is worth acknowledging and learning from.

Acknowledge it Promptly

  • Respond quickly to negative feedback to show seriousness and commitment.
  • Express appreciation for the feedback and apologize for any inconvenience.

Listen and Understand

  • Carefully read and understand the feedback, paying attention to specifics and underlying reasons. You want these folks to feel heard and understood, so make sure you fully understand and express that you get them.
  • Avoid assumptions or dismissing feedback, even if you disagree. Negative feedback is often the most honest and the most often looked at by the public, so you need to make every effort to understand the pain points presented to you.

Offer a Constructive Response

  • Craft a thoughtful, empathetic response that acknowledges concerns and assures action.
  • Apologize for any shortcomings and try to take things offline. In your direct communication, offer solutions like refunds or replacements.

Take Action and Improve

  • Use feedback to evaluate practices and identify areas for improvement.
  • Implement concrete steps to address issues and prevent future occurrences.

Follow Up and Resolve

  • Follow up with the customer after addressing concerns to ensure they are happy and satisfied.
  • Encourage ongoing communication to show their feedback is valued, letting them know if they ever have a future concern, they can come directly to you for help.

Learn and Grow

  • View negative feedback as a learning opportunity for growth.
  • Embrace criticism as valuable constructive feedback to refine processes and enhance the customer experience.

Publish Valuable Content

Creating and sharing helpful content is key to earning the trust of potential customers and keeping current ones coming back. By sharing useful articles, guides, and videos, you can demonstrate your expertise and build strong connections with your intended audience. 

Whether you’re offering expert advice or sharing case studies, valuable content helps your visitors solve problems and be more likely to reach out to you for help.

Engage with Your Community

The cornerstone of a strong online business reputation is showing investment in the community you serve. Here’s how you can build connections with your local community:

  • Support Local Causes: Show you care by sponsoring events and fundraisers that align with your values.
  • Be Active on Social Media: Engage with your community online by sharing updates, asking questions, and highlighting customer stories.
  • Offer Educational Workshops: Share your expertise with the community through informative seminars and workshops.
  • Volunteer and Give Back: Make a positive impact by participating in community service initiatives and volunteering your time.
  • Build Relationships with Local Businesses: Collaborate with other businesses to amplify your reach and support each other’s success.

At the end of the day, engaging with your community demonstrates your commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen who gives back to the community that supports you.

Showcase Your Success Stories

When you receive a glowing review, don’t keep it to yourself, this kind of stuff needs to be shared with the world. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Collect Testimonials: First, start by encouraging satisfied customers to share feedback via email, social media, or in-person interactions. That way, you have a steady stream of good feedback to pool from.
  • Highlight Real Experiences: Share authentic anecdotes that illustrate the benefits of your products or services.
  • Use Multiple Platforms: Display testimonials on your website, social media, and review sites to reach as many people as possible.
  • Incorporate Visuals: A picture is worth a thousand words. Enhance your testimonials with photos or videos for added credibility and engagement.

Continuously Improve Your Services

There’s always room for improvement. Preferences and customer behaviors change over time—are you keeping up? Here are some tips to keep your business in the loop:

Prioritize Feedback

  • Actively seek customer input through surveys, reviews, and direct communication.
  • Monitor online reviews and social media for improvement opportunities.

Foster a Learning Culture

  • Cultivate an environment that values feedback, innovation, and employee contributions.
  • Encourage staff to share ideas for enhancing products, services, and customer experiences.

Implement Feedback Systems

  • Establish processes for collecting, analyzing, and acting on customer feedback promptly.
  • Use feedback to identify trends, address issues, and track progress.

Set Clear Goals

  • Define improvement objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Hold teams accountable for achieving improvement targets.

Review and Adapt

  • Regularly assess service delivery processes and policies for inefficiencies.
  • Stay updated on industry trends and customer preferences to guide your decision-making.

Invest in Training

  • Provide ongoing training to empower employees and sharpen their customer service skills.
  • Equip frontline staff with tools to resolve customer issues quickly and effectively.

Celebrate and Learn

  • Acknowledge successes in service improvement efforts to motivate your employees.
  • Encourage your team to experiment and view failures as opportunities for learning.

Take Back Control of Your Online Reputation with Broadly

Don’t underestimate the power of your online reputation—it can make or break your business. Actively managing it is the key to attracting and retaining local customers.

Designed specifically for local businesses, Broadly’s online reputation management platform makes it easy to monitor, improve, and leverage your online reputation for meaningful business growth. 

Ready to get started? Request your FREE demo today!

Watch your online reputation transform with Broadly