Local Reputation Management Is the Key to Business Success

September 26, 2014 8:56 pm Leave your thoughts

Too many business owners are unaware of the part local reviews play in successful business strategies. Here is the bottom line: In order to facilitate growth for your business, it’s essential to generate more online reviews. By generating more reviews, your business will reach deeper into the local market and gain access to the appropriate customers. Local reputation management is the foundation of this online marketing strategy.

In our ubiquitous digital age, local reputation management is no longer just for politicians or big corporations. Local reputation management wields the power to open (or close) doors to coveted business partnerships and customer relationships. Now that most people make buying decisions after searching online to find business reviews, public records information, legal documents, or social media sites, it’s not a stretch to see how online review sites combine to immediately define your business in the local community. What many business owners discover way too late is that they didn’t get a fair chance at a first impression.

A local reputation management strategy must begin and end with honest and forthright information. Online content found when someone searches your name makes an instant initial impression for you. Linkedin, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest combine with dozens of complaint, opinion and review sites to spotlight your business positively or negatively. This reality explains why it’s crucial to embark upon a local reputation management strategy and build your digital brand online.

Successful local reputation management efforts require that your business’ online review profiles are completely accurate. Carefully consider how you will be presented before completing profile information on local review sites. Since local review sites rank well on Google and other search engines, local reputation management is the most intelligent tactic for having your voice heard in a crowded marketplace. Consider these statistics:

  • 7 out of 10 customers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.
  • 85 percent of surveyed North American consumers read online reviews for local businesses, with 50 percent of U.S. consumers more likely to use a local business after reading positive online reviews.
  • On average, 75 percent of reviews posted on review websites are positive, and 71 percent of consumers agreed that reviews make them more comfortable that they are purchasing the right product or service.

Local Reputation ManagementYou want to see positive reviews from your audience. You want to see them sharing those reviews via their social networking channels. You want to inspire a reaction among the customers coming through your doors or visiting your online store. Social media strategies for small businesses should be community-oriented and tailored to the customers. Engage customers by showcasing your online reviews through a local reputation management campaign.

It is important to underscore the vast importance of creating and curating an online reputation. Depending on how strong negative search results are, it may be very difficult to suppress undesired information in a reasonable amount of time without ample manpower. An effective local reputation management strategy will require vigilant attention and may require the services of a reputable online reputation management firm. Local reputation management can be used to make a connection with potential clients and eventually procure the online reviews necessary to attract a wider audience.

Earning positive online reviews and engaging in local reputation management is more than just sharing on Facebook or re-tweeting news on Twitter. Online review sites build a comprehensive view of you and your abilities. Through a local reputation management campaign, you can share information about your services and community activities. When trying to progress in your chosen industry, the smallest transgression could be considered a liability.

As part of a local reputation management campaign, we encourage business owners to be confident when asking customers for a review. In fact, it should be something you do without thinking. Never ask customers to change or delete a review; simply request feedback offline.

A service like The Review Solution is a convenient tool to assist your local reputation management. The Review Solution collects reviews and sends follow-up emails asking reviewers to verify the validity of their review. Thanks to The Review Solution, a business can develop an online reputation management campaign with minimal hassle.

For companies accredited by the Better Business Bureau, reviews are posted to the BBB business profile page automatically when using The Review Solution. Accumulating reviews will help your BBB profile rank higher when people search for your company on Google, Bing and other search engines. According to Local Visibility System, a business needs to have 26 reviews or more to be above the national average.

Your local reputation management campaign can be either proactive or reactive. The latter is the least desirable and those businesses that maintain good local reputation management practices from the beginning are more likely to suffer less damage during a reputation crisis.

How many reviews does your business have?

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Steven Wyer

Chief Operating Officer at The Review Solution
Steven Wyer is the Chief Operating Officer of Third Coast Interactive, Inc. and the author of Violated Online. As COO of Third Coast Interactive, Steven Wyer oversees platform development, sales, marketing and internal operations. These responsibilities include global expansion into targeted vertical markets that can best leverage the power of The Review SolutionTM, a service that offers consumers a convenient way to post online reviews for local, regional and national businesses.