A Primer for Small Businesses in the Confusing Landscape of Online Review Sites

Online-review-sites-reputation-advocateFor both online and brick-and-mortar businesses, the greatest challenge in today’s tech-savvy world is to connect with potential customers through search engines and social-media channels.

One avenue is by acquiring positive customer ratings and reviews. Recommendations from neighbors and friends have become a vital element in our consumer attitudes. Before visiting a hair salon, mechanic, restaurant or other business, most of us rev up our Internet browsers and start clicking around for further information. No matter what your service or product, statistics show that what your customers think definitely impacts new leads. On an online review or rating site, a genuine customer experience story has the ability to create a positive impact on your business. Read the rest of this entry »

Managing Your Online Reviews: 4 Ways to Destroy Valuable Customer Feedback

Reputation Advocate - 4 Ways to Destroy Customer FeedbackThe “small” things in life often make a big difference. Customer service counts. In today’s fast-paced world where 89% of us choose another place to shop or do business after a bad customer experience, it’s imperative for business owners to avoid the following mistakes.

1. Making feedback complicated

Any time you ask a customer to offer an opinion about your services, it must be intuitive, quick and painless. It’s not hard to recall the times we’ve been discouraged from offering an opinion about a service when we were asked to dial an 800 number after we arrived back home. Or perhaps there were too many details requested in order to complete and mail a postcard. So before asking for feedback, remember that if it’s a hassle for the customer you will not get what you are after. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Be Content with Bad Content

Barbara-Wyer-Content-Is-KingYou don’t have to search very hard to conclude that high quality social-media and website content is the mainstay of successful business. Sure, basic content might fill up the page, but exceptional content keeps customers returning on a regular basis. Quality nearly always trumps quantity.

Discover your voice

The Internet can be viewed as an informal tool. As part of your online reputation management project, write with a conversational tone that will engage and attract readers. Think about the websites that you tend to gravitate towards on a regular basis and notice what works (or doesn’t) for them. The most successful sites likely contain a unique voice that speaks to you, or content relevant to your specific interests. While thousands of websites may contain similar content, a distinct voice stands out from the crowd. Read the rest of this entry »

What Do You Do When Customers Get Mean on the Internet? Nothing

Negative online reviews can often be detrimental to your business’s online reputation. Unfortunately, the law protects websites that publish
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user-generated content, even if the ratings and reviews listed are false, misleading or even slanderous.

A recent study from Opus Research revealed that 35 percent of small businesses received new customers as a direct result of positive reviews. Meanwhile, 84 percent of consumers said that online reviews influenced their purchasing decisions.  Therefore, criticism about your business displayed online could create a disastrous situation in terms of your sales and customer retention. The Internet is truly the modern version of a phone book, with content now visible to millions of online visitors acting in real time.

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Them’s Fighting Words: How to Handle Negative Commentary About Your Business

Keeping an eye on your business’s online reputation involves paying close attention to any Internet users who might be trash-talking your products, services or employees. Just one or two well-placed slams can result in your image being sullied.

At times, the Internet can turn into a mudslinging contest where the damage to your brand is significant. You must implement a number of strategies to ensure that the downloadpublic opinion about your business remains positive. Furthermore, you must consider the art of damage control even before you run into trouble. One of the critical aspects of managing your business’s online reputation is massaging the search results that appear when people are searching for you.

If someone has denigrated your services or products in an online forum or blog post, then that commentary might be appearing on page one of your Google search results. Even when Internet users don’t follow the link, seeing your name attached to a negative review, rating or remark can turn them away from learning more about your business. Think about the angry swipes that you see about your local businesses and professionals each time you call up Google search results. The most prudent approach is to use search engine optimization strategies that will push down negative posts and keep them away from page one. Below are the four E’s of creating and maintaining your online reputation.

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Customer Service at the Click of a Mouse: Social Media as the Ultimate Communication Tool for Your Online Reputation, Part Two

Barbara Wyer Post about Social MediaRegardless of how great your products or services are, there’s almost always room for improvement. Making slight adjustments to business operations might increase the possibility that customers will come back. In order to develop a reputable brand that will last, it’s important to respond swiftly to these comments. Once the issues are clarified, you can begin the process of resolving them before even greater problems arise.

If the goal is to develop a reputable brand with long-lasting results, it’s important to establish a connection with your audience. Social media listening builds stronger customer relationships. One enormous benefit of gathering feedback is that it positions your business as a trustworthy source. When consumers have a complaint about a company’s products or services, they generally have no fear of letting loose. If you listen carefully, you can get ahead of the curve, determine the issue and address it. Further, you can demonstrate your impressive customer service skills and consideration for the consumer’s thoughts and feelings. Read the rest of this entry »

Stop, Collaborate and Listen: Social Media as the Ultimate Communication Tool for Your Online Reputation, Part One

Social Media keyboardGathering consumer feedback in order to target the needs of your customers is a crucial element of running any successful business. And, while offering the best services and products will always be important, cultivating a dedicated set of customers ensures that you can count on repeat sales. Here are some interesting statistics:

More than 57 percent of Internet users admit to looking themselves up on Google or another search engine. Meanwhile, 70 percent of adults have searched for information about others. Forty-four percent of online adults have searched about professional services. Approximately 71 percent of savvy social media users in the 18-29 age group have adjusted their privacy settings to limit what information is available online. Read the rest of this entry »

Infographic: The Value of Reviews

Reputation Advocate Reviews

Infographic – Customer Reviews: Friend or Foe?


Warren Buffett illustrated the importance of reputation in one oft-quoted statement: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

A solid reputation is as crucial to a business as its customers are – in fact, they go hand-in-hand. Online customer reviews are essential to the reputation of both small and large companies. When asked about the impact of customer reviews, MIT marketing expert Dr. Duncan Simester asserted that, “negative reviews do drive purchasing decisions and can reduce sales.” It’s no wonder then, that 80 percent of consumers have changed their minds about purchases based on negative information found online. Read the rest of this entry »

Your Google Search Results Have Changed

Google changed your search results last week. Well, not exactly last week…more like every week for the last ten years! In case you didn’t know, every time Google makes what they call “adjustments” in how they treat your information online, it impacts you. I know that sounds crazy, so let me explain.

google-updateGoogle is a search engine. Google, Bing, and Yahoo – search engines all have the same foundational underpinnings; these are called algorithms.

Without being too technical, let me explain it this way. Search engines look at hundreds of variables for each and every piece of information searched on the Internet. Algorithms decide which variables are more relevant to a search, and which pieces of information are less important, based on certain principles of logic. Read the rest of this entry »

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