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Do online review sites sometimes seem to have your brand in a tailspin? With the continued popularity of consumer review platforms, not to mention their preferred status in local search results, online reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor, Trustpilot and other review sites can pose a real and ongoing threat to your small business.
A negative review at the top of a Google search doesn’t just create problems for your online reputation; it can scare off potential customers, hurting your ability to connect with customers, close deals, and meet monthly sales goals.
What’s worse is that the longer these negative reviews go unhandled, the worse the damage will be, disintegrating your brand trust and revenue streams. It would help if you had that money and confidence to connect with stakeholders and grow your business. In some cases, failing to manage online reviews can lead to a major reputation management crisis that threatens the survival of your business.
With hundreds of review platforms and industry-specific reviews promoting customer feedback on the web, a strong online review management strategy is essential. Knowing how to properly manage reviews is key to protecting brand integrity and making a positive impact on customers. Here are five crucial tips for creating a revision management plan that does just that.
1. Target the business review sites that matter most
If you’re skipping online review management software and managing reviews independently, it’s essential to identify each review site with the most relevance and influence on your brand. Sites like Yelp, Amazon, and Google will likely fall on this list, primarily because of their visibility and market share. Still, looking for platforms with a specific and significant influence on your industry is essential. Regardless of your market, there is a good chance that some unknowns exist, which can significantly affect your industry and business.
Once these sites are identified, you have a stronger foundation for managing reviews and building a review footprint that resonates with your audience.
Related: 4 lesser-known customer review platforms you need to know about
2. Claim (and manage) your profile on your preferred platforms
Many online review sites allow you to claim your local business profile on their platform. Once you’re verified on sites like Yelp, Facebook, Google, and Angi, you’re in control of your business’s unique business page. You have authority over the company images, logos, bios and text that appear on the Site. In most cases, claiming your profile allows you to monitor and respond to reviews, opening an essential gateway to more effective review management.
The process for claiming your business varies from site to site. But knowing each approach and how to leverage a claimed profile can pay dividends when managing customer reviews and mitigating the impact of negative feedback.
3. Plan your strategy for managing business reviews
With a list of relevant review sites and claimed review profiles in hand, it’s time to put together a review management plan that anchors your approach. Creating a comprehensive strategy provides a framework for dealing with positive and negative reviews as soon as they are published. This should include a roadmap for how and when to respond to feedback, collect reviews from satisfied customers, and choose who will oversee your review management process.
This strategy helps establish a central location to manage all of your reviews and limit the consequences of negative customer feedback, regardless of the source. It allows you to focus your efforts and map out a crucial part of your online reputation management plan.
Related: Creating a review response strategy
4. Learn how and when to remove negative reviews
You can deliver a consistently exceptional customer experience and even win awards for doing so. However, no matter how flawless your business model is, it’s not uncommon to have dissatisfied customers. These customers are often inclined to share this unhappiness through negative reviews online. This is more or less a consequence of running a business, but it provides an opportunity to learn and show your commitment to getting things right.
Some negative reviews are not from real customers. Many online reviews are completely fabricated, posted by competitors or malicious actors for no other reason than to damage your brand. These reviews often violate the review site’s guidelines and may be flagged for removal.
Knowing this, it’s essential to learn how to identify fake reviews, navigate each site’s review removal process, and remove them quickly.
Related: 4 Things You Need to Know About Online Reviews (And Why You Can’t Afford to Ignore Them)
5. Generate and optimize positive content for search
Creating optimized blogs, landing pages and social media posts is a core component of a search engine optimization (SEO) or online reputation management strategy. But these tactics can also help combat and counter stubborn Google reviews, especially when they refuse to move from local search pages.
A focused content development approach can be a great way to market your values and drown out nasty comments by complementing your other review management efforts with meaty, brand-positive blogs and guest posts that drive the conversation. Properly designed and executed, your review marketing content strategy provides a compelling alternative for consumers researching your business, reducing the reach and impact of bad reviews.