Online customer reviews can support or hurt a business. People are talking about your business and share their experiences with others. Managing the customer reviews left on websites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google, Foursquare or Facebook Reviews becomes imperative in order to improve and lift the reputation of your business.
More businesses in the Myrtle Beach area are using social media marketing services that include online reputation management in order to monitor, asses and control the public perception of their business reputation. People interact and exchange ideas online, they congregate in social communities sharing their experiences with peers. Online users ask peers for advice and they trust other users more than they trust advertising.
It has become a common practice for people to leave comments and reviews online. They do so on their own blog, on other people's blogs, on review websites, on Facebook and Twitter, pretty much everywhere they can express themselves. This user-generated content is indexed by search engines, thus helping others find the reviews. Because of that, businesses can not afford to stay passive. As a business owner you have to embrace the trend and turn it into an advantage. Here are a few reasons to start monitor your business' online reputation:
- You become aware of what people talk about you online and learn about the quality of their interaction with your business
- It helps you improve your business and understand more about your customers
- It shows people that you care about them and the experience they had with your business
- Online reputation monitoring tools and services are not expensive
- It is not as time consuming as other social media activities
There are mainly two ways in which businesses are reviewed online:
- Customers decide by themselves to express their thoughts and describe their experience on customer review websites like TripAdvisor, Google Plus for Businesses, Facebook, FourSquare, etc
- You encourage people to leave a review of your business on a variety of online channels
The problem with people taking initiative is that they usually decide to do that following a negative experience. People tend to vent themselves on social media channels and we all know that oftentimes they don't give the business owner an opportunity to acknowledge the problem and come up with a solution.
The best approach to online reputation management is to become proactive. Ask for reviews by engaging a series of strategies like having your staff ask for a review in person, on the spot, while the experience is fresh in people's mind, or by sending them an email, requesting the review as a small favor.
Make sure that you set up monitoring tools in place so once the review is made, you learn about it and get yourself a chance to react if it isn't what you expect. While not mandatory to respond to each and every review, you should answer to all negative reviews with no exception. Also make sure you thank those people who left stellar reviews of your business. After all, they took the time to tell others great things about your business, thus helping you make more money.
Antonel Neculai is a specialist in the area of communications, public relations and social media with extensive background in internet communication technologies. Holds a Master Degree in the field of communications. Besides being a contributor to our blog and many other specialized online and offline publications, Antonel Neculai also holds the position of MIS/Database Manager with the Chamber of Commerce of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Antonel taught Communications and Public Relations classes at Coastal Carolina University for more than four years and worked as a Public Relations Specialist for the Chamber of Commerce of Romania.