ProtectIn business, your online reputation is everything. With online reviews, it’s possible for consumers to share their opinions, both positive and negative, through a variety of different channels. Thanks to social media and review sites like Yelp, you can swiftly build an excellent online reputation. “Managing your online reputation should be an important part of your digital marketing plan and strategy. Effective reputation management will lead to happy, loyal customers . . . and more of them!” –Brandi Boykin, social media expert, GMS

Providing your company and brand with a voice is one of the top goals of an online reputation campaign. To help reinforce positive brand awareness for your business, you must be proactive on the various sites online.

  • Facebook: Check reviews often and respond accordingly.
  • Twitter: Create a real-time interaction with potential consumers looking to interact quickly and directly. (While the site isn’t technically used for reviews, tweets are indexed in search and can show up when someone searches reviews for your business.)
  • Google+: Be sure to set up a verified account on this site. Receiving and responding to reviews can improve the search results for your business.
  • Yelp: Respond to reviews as the business owner or manager.
  • TripAdvisor: Claim your business listing and respond to reviews as the business owner or manager.

1920547_10153659733442178_8769236799833393118_nPositive online reviews are shown to have a strong influence on a consumer’s purchasing decisions. But in addition to building a positive online reputation for your company, product, or service, it’s equally important to manage the negative consumer responses. You’ll want to bridge the gap between how your company perceives itself and how it’s seen by others.

Don’t be afraid of negative reviews. The way you handle a bad review is everything, so don’t let them get to you or respond to them angrily. You definitely do not want to write reviews about yourself or to offer bribes for reviews. Remember to always thank the reviewer and personalize your response while being gracious, authentic, and most importantly, offering solutions in a caring and personable way.

Your ultimate goal is to make those unhappy reviewers happy again – once an issue is resolved satisfactorily, a complaining customer can become a strong ally as they publicly praise the result and how it was handled.

Don’t shy away from asking for reviews just because you might get some negative feedback! What consumers think will impact new leads for your business, and how you respond to these public posts can make or break your reputation.

Do you have any tips for building a positive online reputation? Please share them in the comments section below.