By Kim Evered, Sr. Vertical Marketing Manager, Self Storage
The new prominence of Google Place Pages (maps), Google Reviews, and social media has made controlling your online reputation more important –and more complex– than ever before. The number of people posting reviews on sites like Yelp, Citysearch, and Google Places/Yahoo! Local (maps), expressing their customer (dis)satisfaction on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and blogging about products and services has soared. This consumer-generated content generally ranks high on search engines, typically appearing on the first page of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). A positive review and/or post can be a boon for business. Conversely, a negative comment can adversely impact your business. The best course of action is to proactively manage your online reputation, a two-part process that is outlined below.
While you may not have time to search review and social sites or read the blogs every day, you can - and should - monitor what's being said about your business online. Monitoring tools to get you started:
- FREE - Have each location Manager/Director sign up for Google Alerts (this is the option G5 is currently recommending to clients)
- FEE-BASED - Sign up for the expanded version of Google Alerts (more alerts for more names/phrases more often).
- FEE-BASED SOFTWARE – If you’re looking for a more extensive way to track what people are saying about you online, sign up for reputation management tools like Radian6 or Trackur. These software services are typically designed to connect you to your customers/prospects, track engagement, and analyze, measure and manage the results.
2. Respond and Engage
Responding quickly and professionally to online comments regarding your business can make the difference between good PR (Zappos) and a PR nightmare (Gap). Reaching out to individual tenants on the websites where the conversation is taking place is the most effective response, including in Google Places. Avoid being defensive, overtly marketing or sales driven in your responses; these communication strategies tend to alienate the audience. Check out this article from Outspoken Media for more information on responding to negative reviews.
As online social interactions become more prevalent, reputation management should be an important component of your online presence. For more information on Reputation Management Best Practices, including tips on Blog Influence, Web Optimization, Video Optimization, Domain Acquisition, PR Firms, Link Building, and avoiding common mistakes, request a copy of our Best Practices guide.