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Do you think your online reputation matters? If you don’t, you are missing a huge piece of the puzzle when it comes to converting website visitors to clients.  Unfortunately, we still find business owners who will consider reputation management services a waste of time and money. An excellent way to approach this situation is to start by quoting one of the most successful investors in the world, an American business magnate, and investor – Warren Edward Buffett. This man said that it takes twenty years to build a reputation but just five minutes to ruin it. For example, an offline business that had a lot of success over the past twenty years may put their reputation at risk due to the negligence of online reviews or brand mentions. Do you want to wait until you experience something like this to start taking care of your online reputation? It may be too late to recover your reputation at that time. Since there are many misconceptions about whether your online reputation is important or not, in this article, we are going to discuss this problem and point out why having a good online reputation is crucial for the growth of your business and how it can affect your offline and retail locations as well.

Google Decides What Your Reputation Is

When someone needs to find information, they won’t look in the newspapers, wait to see an appropriate TV commercial or ask a friend. They will go to Google first. Why? Because it is the easiest and the quickest way to find reliable information they need. The same applies for someone who wants to find when a local business closes, what’s their address, or to quickly grab a phone number. If you don’t have that information available online, 98% of customers will pick another company, restaurant or store that isn’t necessarily better than you but has all the right information that your customers are looking for. Only by not having this information available on your website, you risk of getting bad reviews or even worse, if someone has falsely answered this question on a forum and similar, false information may rank at the top of the search results instead of your own accurate information. We are sure that the last thing you want is someone to look up your local business and then get sent off in the wrong direction. By having a quality online reputation management strategy, you will never have to experience these problems.

Social Media Will Talk about You

Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are used every day by more than two billion users all over the world. So, even if you don’t have a strong online reputation, someone will probably talk about your brand at some point. They may have a question, a comment or an opinion. If you aren’t present in social media, there will be no one to respond to that question or comment, and that will make people disappointed or angry. Social media is the best and most cost-effective way to build brand loyalty. Research has shown that 88% of customers expect from their brand to be available on social media. Without having an online presence on social media, you will inevitably lose brand loyalty and trust of your customers. No matter how small your business or retail store may be, don’t leave your loyal consumers and consumers in the dark.

Your Brand is Already Online

You maybe don’t want to be present online, but the fact is you already are. Google is indexing businesses of all sizes, and you are also among them, whether you like it or not. This is important because your customers may be looking for you online and get the information you wouldn’t like them to get, such as information that isn’t updated or correct. That will inevitably lead to misdirection and negative reviews, and negative reviews, if not taken care of, may take control of your brand. Without online reputation management, no one will be able to monitor your online reviews on Yelp, BBB, TripAdvisor, etc. Do you want to end up on RipOff Report and PissedConsumer? If you want your business to grow, you certainly cannot allow yourself to jeopardize your brand reputation by not watching your own reviews.

Highlight the Best Part of Your Brand

By putting your small business online and creating a website, you can highlight the best parts of your business to everyone who decides to visit you online. With a quality website and original blog relevant to your services, you can keep your customers updated and always asking for more. For example, by having a strong online presence on social media, you can update your followers with special promotions, online coupons, promote your services, menus and similar. If you choose to ignore your online reputation, you are already destroying it, because as we said, your brand already exists online, whether you like it or not. However, it’s your choice in what amount you want to stay visible and in which way. Take action today before your online reputation is out of your hands!

Even The Best Businesses Get Bad Reviews

If you are in business long enough, you are going to piss someone off and make them unhappy. You can go above and beyond with a client, and at the end of the day, you are going to rub someone the wrong way.  Unfortunately, for many businesses, you don’t really get to respond the way you would like on Google, or Yelp (which may be the worst company I have ever dealt with for publishing BS reviews).  If possible, try and interact with the potential client you have upset, and see if there is any way to correct the matter. Respond to the review publicly, but don’t go crazy with your response.  Again, know that you are going to not going to please everyone, and put your anger into helping another client solve a problem. I know it is easier said than done, but dwelling on it will only make matters worse.

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