Not only do you have to show up you have to bring a good reputation with you.
As you begin your journey of building a strong online presence we recommend focusing on these 7 areas.
1. Number of Listings
Being listed on Google is great but its only a start on a long journey of listing sites. There are literally dozens of them and they all have different formats along with unique users. You need to be everywhere, on all the directories and all the review sites. Seeing a business or brand on only one site and not the others conveys a negative connotation, avoid that by listing everywhere.
2. Consistency of Listing Information
The biggest problem we see with many established businesses is that their contact information is different on the various listing sites. Hours of operation, contact info, location address, and other information can change from time to time. If the listing site only updates once a year or when you input it then your information could be incorrect. Even though the incorrect information may not be directly your fault, potential customers will see this as a negative. Going from site to site and seeing the same hours and consistent messaging goes a long way in building trust.
3. Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
There are mountains of statistics on reviews and they all say the same thing, positive reviews are critical to a businesses online presence. Not only do you need to have a 4 star review or better (the majority of people will skip anything less then 4 stars when given the choice) but you need to keep a steady stream of current reviews coming in.
4. Volume of reviews
A business with one 5 star review from 5 years ago is not going to pass the customer laugh test, we all know your friend left it for you. 4-5 star reviews, a good volume of reviews, and current reviews will keep you in the front of the pack.
5. Social Activity
One area that every new business is excited about is social media. They see the amazing images, video, and content being shared and talked about. Wanted to be a part of the social media world has a strong draw. If you are going to start with a social media channel, make sure you stay consistent and post regularly. Nothing says "Closed for Business" more then a Facebook page with no posts in the last couple of months. If you think you can only handle one then leave the others and focus, otherwise outsource it to someone like us to handle daily and professionally.
6. Social Engagement
People are commenting (and reviewing!) on social media channels, they have questions and want them answered. If you are going to be on a social media channel then you need to commit to being there. Answering questions and engaging with people shows commitment and a level of service valued by customers.
7. Have A Reputation Plan
Know who is monitoring reviews on FB, Google, Yelp, Trip Advisor, and all the others. Will the same person respond to reviews? What about negative reviews? If they do respond, what will they say and does it match with your overall branding and vision? Using a single sign on platform that can pull all this information into one place will save you a ton of time and headaches.
Its a lot, we know, but the importance has been proven over and over again. Make sure your online reputation if nurtured and cared for and you will reap the rewards time and time again.
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