Upkeeping and managing your company’s online reputation is vital in today’s world, especially for those running small businesses. These small aspects can make or break your online reputation, from your website’s design to the number of positive reviews left by customers.
No matter the industry, small businesses must be dedicated to maintaining their reputation online. Professionals like the BRANDefenders can help, and expert teams often get the best results. But if you’re wondering where to start, here are six things to keep in mind when improving your company’s online reputation.
1. Evaluate Your Current Reputation
When the BRANDefenders approach a new client, they must first determine where they’re starting from.
What do potential customers currently find when they interact with your brand online? Where is your company present?
By searching “(your industry) stores near me,” you’re bound to give yourself an excellent idea of how omnipresent your business is online. Per a 2018 study, 90% of respondents suggested that they were likely to click on the first set of results shown in their searches. Let’s just say your business’s online presence will need some work if you get past the first page of the search engine results to finally find your company’s site.
Assuming your clients will spend more than three minutes clicking through SERPs to find your business is purely wishful thinking. Conversely, if you’re already on the first sets of results, put yourself in a client’s shoes and assess whether the blue link is something you’d want to click on or if the site’s description sounds like something you’d like to know more about.
If you’re having trouble determining your current online reputation, working with a team of reputation experts is best. The team at BRANDefenders can perform a full audit to help you determine your current presence online.
2. Business Registration & Monitorization
Once you’ve checked out what you’re working with, scouring review sites such as Google Reviews, Yelp, Trip Advisor, or Yellowpages and claiming or launching profiles for your business becomes your next step. Depending on your offer’s product or service, you might want to prioritize specific websites over others as you seek alignment with your target audience.
Opening up social media accounts on the most popular platforms – Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok – would also be wise at this stage. Even if you haven’t yet hired someone to take control of these profiles (being a business owner, you might not have the time to run these by yourself), it’s still important to be in full command of your social media presence as soon as possible.
If you’re looking to take the extra step, hiring online reputation management (ORM) companies like BRANDefenders can allow you to take complete control of your business’s online presence via the assistance of industry specialists. Having experts on your side can be the difference between gaining a loyal customer versus losing them to a direct competitor.
One study showed that 76% of consumers looked at a business’s online presence before visiting them in person. If you’re missing an online presence, you’re costing yourself potentially thousands of dollars in revenue. Small businesses must take action to avoid this type of loss.
3. Consistent & Quality Content Production
Have you ever walked out of a local store, and on your way out, you saw a sign in big letters near the exit that said, “Make sure to give us five stars on Yelp!”?
While encouraging your clients to give you positive ratings online is a great place to start, there’s also another way in which you can control what shows up on search rankings when consumers look up your business. It comes in the form of quality in-house content production.
Posting informative and high-quality content on a variety of industry-related subjects is the best way to take full control of what shows up on Google searches. Whether you’re posting tips, DIY hacks, or new ideas, it’s free content for your clients to enjoy. In turn, you’re also generating more traffic on your small businesses’ web pages and social media accounts.
Nevertheless, it’s also worth keeping in mind that specific content performs better and receives more engagement from your audience on certain platforms. For example, posting your business’s latest promotion on Instagram would generate far more attentive eyes than if it slips through people’s feeds on Twitter.
Establishing a schedule for content posting can also do wonders for overall performance in search results. Knowing when you’re target audience is online would be paramount in determining when your content is posted. Determining all these essential factors can be fine-tuned with the assistance of an ORM company like BRANDefenders.
4. Promote Online Engagement
Making connections with your customers and cultivating an environment in which the clients don’t think of themselves as solely the people who acquire your products and services might be an exhausting task, but it’s bound to pay off in the long run.
Presenting this attitude to your consumers is the hallmark of a small business that cares about the people they’re dealing with, providing them with far more fruitful experiences and consequently attracting new clients who are intrigued by the culture and ethos being exhibited by your business on the internet and in stores.
Adopting this mindset makes it easier for your clients to leave positive reviews online, which you’ll always want to follow up with a token of appreciation.
Conversely, when negative reviews on your business show up, respond to them in an impartial, caring, and constructive manner. The power of turning a negative experience into a positive one with an appropriate course of action is incredibly underestimated.
ORM and public relations specialists like the BRANDefenders can greatly assist in this area. It’s far too easy to lose your cool with someone spewing harmful words about your business, no matter how unfounded their claims may be.
5. Involve Your Business with the Community
Local businesses are the hearts and souls of many neighborhoods; what’s stopping yours from following this path?
Getting involved with the community that surrounds you is a great way to build a strong following around your small businesses, where you’ll have customers constantly coming to your store and posting about their positive experiences on social media; something as simple as an aesthetically pleasing Instagram story of their coffee, along with a location tag, can bring about great exposure for your business.
Consider becoming suppliers for events such as festivals, theme parks, ceremonies, or carnivals. Someone reporting on these events will likely pick up on your business’s presence, and you’ll earn yourself a mention in an article posted the next day, perhaps generating even further press coverage.
Collaborating with local Instagram and TikTok influencers is the latest wave in business promotion and is bound to get you some clicks on your social media pages. You could also establish partnerships with local schools and universities to provide special student discounts. Depending on your business’s niche, you can also form partnerships with other companies, allowing their employees to receive discounts at your stores.
6. Seek Connections with Industry Experts
Lastly, networking with industry experts and establishing connections with other businesses is another move you want to make to increase your small business’s online reputation. Not every move you make needs to be directed at your target audience. Creating relationships with brands that share your target audience but not your services or products is an ideal way for both brands to boost each other’s online reputation.
Finding industry experts to network with can also lead to greater opportunities down the line – perhaps you’ll end up attending industry-related conferences together as panelists one day, getting your and your business’s name out there and increasing your company’s overall reputation in the industry and on the internet.
Partnering with non-profit organizations for a good cause – e.g., for every purchase, 2% of it is donated to the foundation of your choice – can gain your business sympathy points on the internet and make your business seem more appealing to more charitable audiences.
Reputation management and PR specialists can also assist you with this process, searching for opportunities to get your business’s name out there and attract new customers.
It’s Time for Small Businesses to Stand Out
No matter if you’re running a small fitness center or cozy pedicure service, there are various strategies you can incorporate into your everyday tasks and increase your business’s online reputation.
If you’ve been working on your online presence but not seeing the amount of success you want, ORM experts like the team at BRANDefenders can do the work for you. In a constantly modernizing world, the last thing you want to do is play catch-up with businesses that have already grasped the importance of upkeeping reputations online.