Tag Archives: Yelp

A Guide to Reputation Management

Posted on Monday, June 1, 2020 by Kate

As businesses begin to re-open in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to consider your reputation management. The Internet is an incredibly powerful tool, so tread carefully as you reopen in order to protect your business’s reputation. Here are a few suggestions to help:

Your success is everyone’s success

  • The actions of each business are critical to an entire area’s recovery. It is imperative that whatever practices you put in place for reopening are followed consistently by staff members at all times. If they are not, the ramifications to your business’s reputation (and the area’s) can be harsh and long lasting. Social media makes it possible for word of shoddy procedures or unpleasant experiences to travel quickly. Do not promise cleaning or social distancing practices you will not complete or enforce. Exercise patience to the greatest extent possible while emotions are running high, as squabbles with or among customers can be harmful to your (and the area’s) reputation.

Choose your words carefully

  • The words you choose to use for your website and social posts can be interpreted politically in the current climate. It’s important to consider unintended meaning before you post or go live. Review your language to try to envision how someone on either side of the reopening debate might interpret what you’re saying and adapt your message accordingly.

Social media is powerful – use it wisely

  • It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on what people are saying about your business on social media, so have a plan to frequently check for any fan comments, direct messages and reviews. When a response is warranted, do so promptly, politely and not defensively. Apologize if you need to, but don’t get into online arguments. Wherever possible, deescalate the situation and take it offline to discuss. Be as honest and genuine as possible.
  • Make sure your contact information is up to date on your social channels, as well as on your website, to avoid confusion among potential customers.
  • However you choose to move forward with your business, make it clear in your social posts and be honest about your expectations for customers, as well as forthcoming about any new standards you are abiding by, in order to reassure them of their safety. Do not promise things you aren’t actually doing, however. Be mindful that customers will make decisions based on the expectations you set. Customers have the opportunity to judge you—quickly and easily—online.
  • And remember, the photos, videos and experiences your customers share online now can be halfway across the world in an hour, thanks to social media. What others see will influence whether they feel comfortable patronizing your business as well. Work to ensure the message you convey is a responsible one.

Keep an eye on review sites too

  • Those same experiences shared on social media will make their way to other review-based platforms as well, like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google Reviews. Keep an eye on what’s coming in, and as previously suggested, respond promptly and genuinely without escalating any situations. Leave a simple thank you for those who leave positive reviews. Remember, 90% of consumers say their decisions are influenced by online reviews, so you want to present your business as helpful and responsive.
  • Word of mouth and testimonials are still the most trusted and used forms of marketing. Through mindful messaging and managing expectations, your customers can be your strongest advertising. Don’t be afraid to ask them to share their positive experiences at your business. Their review, comment and post can be a powerful tool in your business recovery.

Link Friday: The Reviews and Ratings Edition

Posted on Thursday, April 16, 2015 by Kate

Research shows that 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.  So should you take the plunge and allow customers to rate and review you online?

Where are people talking about your business online?

Posted on Monday, November 21, 2011 by Alan

Like it or not, everybody has an opinion about your business. But do you know what they’re saying online? More importantly, do you know what it takes to manage and improve your online reputation?

According to Google, 97 percent of all users search for local businesses online. That includes people who live near your business as well as first-time visitors to your community. As a business owner, you should know the websites where people are getting their information about your business.

  • YelpYelp allows users to search for and review local businesses, from hotels to restaurants to retailers. The site has more than 50 million unique visitors a month. Each business listing has a five-point rating, reviews from visitors and business information. Users and business owners can update the business listings.
  • TripAdvisorOn TripAdvisor, users can rate everything from hotels to restaurants to flights to vacation rentals. Users (or owners) can share photos of hotels and restaurants they’ve visited and participate in forums. Website services—and a number of services for business owners—are free to users, who provide most of the content.
  • Google Places: Google Places offers recommendations for local businesses, from retail stores to restaurants. Users can find and share places with other Google users, and businesses can claim their business listing online, as well as add photos, videos and special offers. Like the other three sites, paid advertising/listing upgrades also are available.

So, where should you start?

  1. Create your page, or claim it if it exists already. Creating a page is relatively easy, and claiming a created page or listing on any of the sites is just a matter of entering information and responding to an automated phone call.
  2. Make sure the information about your business is complete and up-to-date. People come to these sites looking for information, so the more up-to-date, accurate information on your listing, the better. Are you closed on Sundays? Is there a website you can link users to? This information will give online visitors a better picture of the amenities you have to offer.
  3. Monitor your reviews and respond constructively to customers’ complaints or concerns. This is particularly easy on Yelp, where business owners have the ability to respond to negative reviews privately or publicly correct erroneous information in profiles. Yelp even offers an online guide for business owners looking for a how-to on responding to critical reviews. Likewise, don’t be afraid to interact with users (either positive posters or negative ones) on other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

As a small business owner, it’s impossible to control everything that’s being said about your business. But, by working with these websites, you have an opportunity to shape some of the dialogue.