Reputation Management 101 for Small Businesses
If you have a business, then you need to add your business’s reputation to your list of important things to manage. Fortunately, it can be done with a few simple tools. In this post, we’re going to look at the basics of reputation management for small businesses.
What is Reputation Management
Reputation management is the task of keeping an eye out for any mentions of your business online and making sure that you respond to them when necessary. It’s not only about tackling negative reputation issues, such as bad reviews or social media critics. It’s also about praising those that compliment your business to ensure that your advocates feel appreciated.
How to Monitor Your Business Online
For the most part, reputation management can be relatively simple. You can employ three tools to help automate the discovery of most mentions of your business.
- Google Alerts (free) will email you each time it finds a mention of your business on a website, blog, or other indexable web pages.
- Mention (free for up to 3,000 mentions per month) will email you each time it finds public mentions of your business on social media sites.
- ReviewTrackers ($49 per month for a single location) or ReviewPush ($29 for a single location) will help you monitor your local business listings for new reviews so you can track them all in one place. This is good for any business listed on sites like Yelp, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, or similar review sites.
Of course, these tools don’t always find everything. Depending on how large your business is, or how much it is talked about, you may want also to search for social media groups about your business on Facebook or LinkedIn. Local business owners may even want to join local social media groups to monitor discussions there. Unfortunately, social media groups are the one thing that no tool can track as of yet due to their privacy.
What to Do When You Find Mentions
When monitoring your business online, you will come across three types of mentions: positive ones, neutral ones, and negative ones. The positive ones will, of course, be the easiest to react to. You just have to say thank you for the positive mention, publicly or privately. If it’s a particularly influential person who mentions you, you can go the extra mile and offer to send them a little gift – most brands will a card, a t-shirt, a stuffed toy mascot, or similar.
The neutral and negative mentions of your business will take a little more composure and thought. The first key is to not react emotionally, but react professionally. Apologize for any issues that led up to the person’s comment and see if there is anything you can do to help them. This should be done publicly so that others who come across the neutral or negative mention will see your customer service skills in action.
Overall, you have to remember that when it comes to any public mentions of your business, any response you have can become public as well. Even if you send the person a private email, they could easily update their response to include yours. So regardless of whether you are going to respond publicly or privately, do so in a polite and professional manner so that if your potential customers were to read your response, they would still want to do business with you.
Even if no one is talking about your business yet, it never hurts to put a plan in place for monitoring future business mentions and planning how to respond to them. Also be sure to get your employees on the same page so that everyone knows how to professionally respond to any online mentions they encounter. Alternatively, you can just have a go to person in your business that others can forward mentions to for appropriate handling.