Small Business Reputation Management Guide

Reputation Management
Small Business Reputation Management Guide
Article by Jelena Relić
Last Updated: April 24, 2023

Someone who once remarked, "Worry about your character, not your reputation," didn't have a business.

Today, businesses are a click away from a broad audience, and one downside of this is bad news and scandals spread like fire. Your reputation can, therefore, make or break your business.

This is particularly relevant for small businesses. Small business reputation management is crucial because you will lose a lot if you are not taking care of your reputation from the beginning.

90% of consumers claimed that positive reviews had influenced buying decisions. Customers have multiple options and, therefore, won't settle for brands that fail to offer them maximum value.

This article highlights the importance of small business reputation management's importance, benefits, and strategies.

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What Is Small Business Reputation Management?

Reputation Management or Online Reputation Management (ORM) is the process of handling or influencing the perception of the online audiences about your business/brand. In small business reputation management, it is more about what your business does than who you are.

Reputation management makes your business credibility and authority stronger. Search engines like Google perceive your brand based on what people talk about on the internet. The purpose of reputation management is not to be affected by a single negative post or review or the viral video of a disappointed customer.

Reputation management for small businesses is critical because customers increasingly consider online reviews for making purchase decisions.

Why Is Reputation Management for Small Businesses Important?

There are two things to establish the importance of online reputation management.

First, most of your audience finds you online. This implies that you can reach only the surface of your customer base if your online reputation is terrible. However, if you identify the problem early on, you can work on it and prevent it from affecting your customers' experience and the business's sales.

So, reputation management enables small businesses to measure their likeability to the customers and audience. Online reputation monitoring is equally important so that you can change it when needed.

The second important aspect is that you should track your online reputation even if you have built a solid one. A single bad experience can significantly impact your business's reputation. Your audience and customers can easily change their perception of your brand.

Reputation management is not only a critical task but also an everyday one. People dislike associating themselves with businesses or brands that promote lousy customer service, discrimination, or gender gap. So, it is vital to be constantly careful about your brand's message for the larger audience.

Benefits of Online Reputation Management for Small Businesses

Let us now look into some of the direct benefits of reputation management for small businesses:

  • Attract Potential Employees – Top industry talent want to work in the best place. They do not want to affect their reputation by associating with a brand with a negative perception.
  • Increases Sales – Customers look at reviews, and if your brand has good reviews, customers will be drawn to your business, resulting in higher sales.
  • Boosts Search Engine Rankings – Reputation management affects Google’s perception of your business, thereby increasing the rankings on the search engines. With better ranking, your online content appears more on the search results.
  • Establishes Authority and Credibility – With positive reviews about your brand spread over the internet, your business is considered trustworthy and a happy place for the customers.
  • Lowers Marketing Costs – With a good reputation, customers buy more easily from you. As a result, you do not need to invest a lot in your marketing initiatives. You need to evaluate your business’s online reputation, keep monitoring and find out how it can get better.
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Top 5 Reputation Management Strategies for Small Businesses

With the importance of company reputation established, here is a five-step process strategy for businesses to consider and implement:

  1. Evaluate Your Current Online Reputation
  2. Address the Reviews - Good and Bad
  3. Conduct Partnerships and Events
  4. Keep Monitoring Your Reputation
  5. Repeat the Processes

1. Evaluate Your Current Online Reputation

Before you go on to improve something, make sure you understand the situation to be improved. Following are some of the ways you can audit your online reputation:

  • Use Google Alerts. By entering your business name and related industry terms, you can drive out news regarding sites where your business is mentioned. This lets you know whether you have a reputation and if it is good or bad.
  • Type your 'business name reviews' on Google, and you will find various reviews from different sources.
  • Consider what people generally say about your business on social media and gauge the general sentiment.
  • Emphasize your Google My Business account (GMB). More than 80% of users use this platform to search for local businesses, so having your account here is necessary.

Once you know the current situation, it is time to move on to the next step.

2. Address the Reviews - Good and Bad

There are three types of reviews to worry about, and these are:

  • Reviews within the business mean your employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed. Bad reviews in these imply people are not happy to work in your organization. To fix this, you need to make changes from the inside out. Attending to your employees' complaints or providing them with additional benefits helps.
  • Reviews from the customers are found on GMB, Yelp, OpenTable, etc. These are real experiences of people, so these offer the maximum opportunities to improve your business reputation.
  • Reviews from the common public are on social media channels and can be in the form of comments and reactions.

It is always advisable to answer reviews, both good and bad. Answering the bad reviews shows your audience that you are keen to solve their problems. The idea is to identify the review with the strongest sentiments and focus on things you can change.

3. Conduct Partnerships and Events

Once you have tackled the reviews and made changes, you need to work towards improving your reputation by organizing an event or partnering with influencers.

Influencers have the power to influence what their followers think about a brand. You can agree with the influencers in your niche, especially if your small business is that of a café or restaurant.

Regarding events, you can release promos, discount offers, or a new menu selection to attract more customers. You can promote this on social media and put a time limit to increase curiosity among potential customers.

4. Keep Monitoring Your Reputation

For small businesses, reputational risks are real. To keep monitoring your reputation, you can put up alerts in Google alerts using your business name and related keywords. There will be an alert if you are mentioned on the web for good or bad reasons.

You should also regularly examine audiences' comments and general sentiments on social media channels. Working on and improving your on-site experience is also equally crucial.

5. Repeat the Processes

It would be best if you kept repeating the processes because reputation is not built in a day. It is also not something that you do once and forget.

Small Business Reputation Management Takeaway

For small businesses, reputation is crucial.

Brands do not sell a product anymore but also its value and image. That is why; it is essential to differentiate your business and offerings and make customers pleasant to you.

Remember that reputation can urge customers to go from popular coffee chains to a local shop that uses ecological cups.

A digital marketing agency for small business is a good partner that can help you with your efforts in this regard.

Professional reputation management companies can also help you with this process, so we advise looking for the right agency to partner with for your project.

We’ll find qualified reputation management agencies for your project, for free.
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