Are you wondering how to clean up your online reputation? HIVEMINDED Marketing is at your service with professional advice based on industry research.
If a customer complained about your service in person, you would answer them authentically and apologetically on the spot. Perhaps you would even offer a future discount to improve their perception of your business. Google Reviews are no different!
Maintaining a good reputation means internalizing feedback, responding kindly, and tweaking your digital marketing strategy as needed. This is especially important for small businesses who rely on the support of the community.
Inbound Marketing: Building Your Community
When bolstering your online reputation, it is important to consider the strength of your social media, your brand identity, and the content you are offering your customers. At Hiveminded, we have adopted a methodology called inbound marketing, meaning our trained marketing managers curate a community rather than seeking out quick likes or follows. They curate content tailored to the identified target audience, empowering them with information that leads them to your business via three basic steps:
Inbound marketing, once attracting your target audience, encourages interaction with your posts in the form of questions and answers, polls for feedback, comments, and more. It gives you a chance to provide information and answer your customers’ questions/concerns directly! By providing the right information and anticipating your audience’s needs, your business is able to distinguish itself from others with brand authority.
To learn more about Inbound Marketing, take a look at this HubSpot article. It serves as a great resource for businesses seeking growth!
The simple act of establishing a successful digital marketing strategy may decrease your negative feedback, but to some degree, these reactions from the public are still inevitable. The beauty of the strategy, however, is that your community will know your business well. You will have a tribe standing behind you when you receive a poor review, eager to see how you will pivot.
Getting Reviews & Optimizing Search Results
There are many ways a business owner receives feedback from their audience, but Google Reviews are perhaps the most public (and permanent). You might be wondering: Why are they so important?
Google Reviews are important for a number of reasons. First, Google Reviews improve your local SEO (search engine optimization), or search rankings. This means your business’ website and social media profiles rank higher on Google search engines with reviews.
Next, Google Reviews have the potential to attract additional customers when you respond well, building trust among your target audience. It makes sense that people read your reviews before choosing your business!
Online reviews range in nature, of course, but they provide another opportunity to feature your name, address, and business hours. Not only that, but you can showcase your business’ mission statement through your responses. Reviews serve as a great way to build trust and make meaningful connections.
Always remember to respond genuinely, regardless of the nature of the review. If someone was wronged somehow, sincerely apologize and try your best to make it right. Keep it calm, cool, and collected. Do not let a bad review discourage you!
Addressing Feedback & Considering Your Reputation
You might even mirror the what the customer said in their review, repeating back what they said to show that you are intently listening. Here’s an example of a great response to a challenging review:
Jane Doe: (2 stars) “I used to like getting coffee from ‘X’ but lately they have been really slow and the shop has been crowded. I’m going to Starbucks from now on!”
Business: “Jane, I’m sorry to hear about your experience at ‘X’. I understand you felt frustrated during our morning rush. We will do our best to ensure our service is speedy going forward. Next time you come in, please enjoy a free coffee – on us! Thank you for your review.
Notice the ways in which the business’ response validates the customers’ concerns, takes time to apologize, and does its best to make things right. The tone of the message was calm, kind, and sincere. It seems like they were really listening to the customer’s complaints. They showed the customer that they cared about their experience.
When responding to positive reviews, apply the same strategies! Validate the customer, tell them how glad you are to hear about their experience, and thank them for their review. This will show your audience how dedicated your business is to its online presence.
It’s never a bad idea for the business owner to answer reviews directly for these reasons, as Google Reviews provide a unique opportunity to demonstrate your brand’s distinct messaging.
Mastering Your Messaging: Establishing a Good Reputation
Now that you have established your inbound marketing strategy, you need to master your messaging. First, it’s important you understand your distinct brand. What does it have to offer your target audience? Perhaps it’s educational information about your product’s unique selling point.
You should ask yourself, how can this information be delivered with your brand identity in mind.
Google My Business is a great place to develop your messaging and, much like Google Reviews, it aids your SEO. In fact, industry research shows that businesses with active Google My Business profiles often surpass businesses with higher reviews on local search results.
The idea here is that Google trusts businesses who make an effort to reach their audience via their Google my Business profiles. It showcases the legitimacy of your business, the ways in which you are engaging with your community, your collaboration with other organizations, and your unique skills. To learn more about how this works, check out this educational article.
The power of Google My Business also lies in demonstrating your brand authority. When locals search for your business on Google, they will not only find your storefront, location, and hours. They will also see your Google My Business posts (and Google Reviews), which will let them know if you’re really an expert.
For example, take a look at the HIVEMINDED Marketing Google My Business profile. Notice the keyword-enriched biography about our business and our mission. We also post regularly to demonstrate our leadership, commitment to the community, and professional expertise. This builds trust among our audience, and we’re glad to have the opportunity to engage them directly.
Go Forth and BE BOLD!
You now have the tools to manage your reputation via your marketing strategy, respond to Google Reviews, and master your brand’s messaging. Without reviews, how can you demonstrate your success? Let us assure you, it is always a good practice to actively seek out feedback.
First, don’t be hesitant to politely ask your customers directly. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate your business’ messaging. Additionally, business cards and takeaway surveys are a great way to invite your customers to review your business on google, ask questions, and check out your various social media accounts.
The key here is to be bold! It speaks volumes about your business when you invite honest feedback without fear. When you are able to answer questions and concerns directed towards your business confidently (and kindly), even expressing our brand values in your messages, you will build trust among your target audience.
Remember, feedback sometimes requires adjustments in your strategy. That means the feedback is useful! With these things in mind, you will be empowered in reputation upkeep going forward, and your business’ online reputation should steadily improve over time.
If you’re interested in reputation management services or partnering with us, contact our office at (417) 221-4300!