It is worth mentioning that no business is immune from having occasional issues with satisfying their customers. When such incidents occur, business owners should consider nipping the problem in the bud. Ideally, the incident should never reach a stage where a person feels that they can only obtain satisfaction by venting their feelings online. Unfortunately, small businesses often cannot afford to hire people for managing their online reputations exclusively. Not surprisingly, they can become sitting ducks when someone posts something negative about them online. As such, when people search for these businesses by their names, they could come across larger incidences of negative content. Naturally, this could act as a turn-off to many prospective customers.
To counter these situations, owners of local businesses will need to be proactive. This is especially so when it comes to managing their online reputations. To achieve this objective, business owners would need to:
- Create an online presence on all the applicable websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo etc.
- Cultivate and engage with your audience on social media networks to increase your influence and engagement scores
- Develop an online presence for products and brands that have names that are different from your company name (if applicable)
- Post blogs regularly to feed your customers with updates and promotions as well as to improve the search engine rankings of your website
- Understand the implicit needs of people who post negative reviews of your products or services and be creative in resolving the issue
- Give a genuine apology in case you find that a customer had a dissatisfactory experience and try to make amends in whichever way you feel might diffuse the situation and,
- Avoid getting into online arguments as this could make your business come across as unprofessional and petty
It is worth highlighting that merely having an online presence is not enough. In the past, it was enough to have a website that incorporated Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategies for attracting people to visit your website. This strategy alone will not yield much nowadays. To ensure that your customers have a good impression of your business, you’ll need to ensure that your products and services are superlative. At the same time, you’ll need to ensure that any prospective customers doing online searches for your business are not put off by negative content they encounter.