Joan Jett famously sang about the lack of concern she affords her reputation. A great strategy for a punk rocker! For those managing any other business… Not so much.
Businesses that fail to actively manage their online reputation may find that someone else does it for them. Worse yet, they may have no reputation at all, which means that their official company soundtrack will be crickets.
Fortunately, a little bit of effort and know-how will allow you to define yourself, gain exposure, communicate with your target market, and, perhaps most importantly, prevent your haters from ruining your hard-earned goodwill.
Two good places to start are Google Business Profile (formerly called Google My Business) and LinkedIn Business Pages.
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What is Google Business Profile?
Conduct a Google search on a local business or business category. You’ll notice that the results aren’t as straightforward as the laundry lists of yesteryear.
There’s the knowledge panel, that little box full of pertinent information that shows up when somebody searches for a specific business. Then there’s the local pack, which showcases three businesses in response to category searches such as ‘coffee shops near me’. Don’t forget Google Maps, which also displays business names and locations.
This is quick and timely information that people use to make decisions every day. To control how your business is presented, you will need to create a ‘Google Business Profile’ account.
With this account, you will be able to choose your business category, list your location, provide contact information and hours, and showcase your products and services. Best of all, it’s free! This is not a long-term pie-in-the-sky branding initiative, but a practical and efficient way to put your business in front of those who are most interested, at exactly the right time! Neglect it at your own peril.
Managing Online Reviews
One of the primary functions of Google Business Listings is online reviews. Customers will share the details of their experiences for all to see. This can be a good thing or a bad thing.
Oftentimes satisfied clients will be happy to share their positive thoughts with the world, but may need a reminder to do so. Why not gently nudge a new or old satisfied client to spread the good word with a positive review? It’ll look great on your profile.
But alas, danger lurks! A dissatisfied person with an axe to grind may visit their rage upon you in the form of a scathing review. Take a deep breath, play nice, respond with empathy, promise to fix the problem, and, if possible, take the exchange offline. But most importantly, be sure to address it! An unaddressed negative review is akin to a rotten piece of fruit under the couch. It will only become more funky over time. And don’t get into mud flinging! If the reviewer crosses the line into harassment, call it to Google’s attention and they may agree to remove their comments.
LinkedIn Business Pages
When it comes to leads, conversions, and building up your sales funnel, LinkedIn is the place to be. Unlike other social media channels, LinkedIn is dedicated to professional life, which eliminates much of the bickering and food pictures that make other networks famous. In fact, it’s reported that LinkedIn is the number one channel for B2B content distribution, and lands three times more conversions than Twitter or Facebook.
People on LinkedIn are looking for thought leadership, and those who utilize their business page to provide regular, relevant material have a real opportunity to form meaningful connections.
If your forte is a little more straightforward than that, simply utilize your page to share pictures of your products or information about news and promotions. LinkedIn Showcase Pages are extensions of your main page, specifically designed to spotlight individual brands, business units, and initiatives.
If you post consistently, you will increase your chances of increasing the level of engagement and interaction from those who are interested in you or your business. The more you give, the more you get, so be sure to give it regular attention, or dedicate a trusted employee to the task. Similarly to Google Reviews management, this will be a mixture of engaging positive feedback, while performing damage control on challenging or negative comments.
Peak Ed Designs doesn’t believe in a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to managing your online presence. A well-designed webpage is an absolute must (and we’re happy to help!), but it doesn’t end there. Maximizing the web’s potential to grow your business is not an action, but an ongoing process and online reputation management is a key component of that.
The first step is perhaps the most important, which consists of building your Google Business Profile and LinkedIn Business page profiles.
With this in mind, if you need some help creating and developing these accounts, Peak Ed Designs offers a comprehensive Online Reputation Development Package to our clients. Optimizing your pages will set you up for success, and there’s no time like the present to get started.
Optimize Your Online Presence & Grow Your Business With More Sales!