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Let’s face it. No matter what type of business you’re in, people head to the Internet to find you. Whether you’re a jeweler, sports good store or an architect, people are looking for you on the net, and they’re probably looking for reviews, too. Google has mastered the search territory, but there are other places to find the ins and outs of your operation. And you’ll want them to find something they like.

Did You Know…

Business 2 Community put out a list of 103 compelling social media statistics in November 2013. The biggest takeaways?

  • 97% of all consumers search for local businesses online
  • 72% of adult Internet users in the U.S. are active on at least one social network
  • 68% of consumers check out companies on social networking sites before buying

Rave reviews will encourage consumers to choose you. If your reviews aren’t so hot, they’ll continue Googling until they find those that are. After all, before they spend their hard-earned cash on your services, they’ll want to know that you’re worth it.


Good Reviews Draw a Crowd

What’s the crowd saying about you? Is your brand perceived positively? A Zendesk survey conducted last year found that 86 percent of consumers claim to be affected by negative online reviews. So what can you do? You have to know what it takes to become the center of attention. You have to know the way consumers think and what makes them act.

We no longer live in a world where businesses seek to discover what customers are thinking by bombarding them with ads. Having an online presence is a must for small businesses, and a main ingredient for success. Being active in social media is even more crucial to your success. Your customers rely on social media to recommend your business and address customer service needs. In the social world, customers now tell businesses what they want, and it’s up to you to listen to what they’re saying. It’s a tricky business and takes a thorough strategy. So, what’s the key to engaging a customer base?


Ask for Reviews

There are plenty of people ready to say good things about your business, and you should make sure they do so. Most customers understand the importance of online reputations and will be happy to help you as long as you make it easy for them. Encourage customers to review your business. Work with a professional SEO company who can develop a campaign that drives customers to the Internet with their positive feedback ready to be shared.


Follow the Rules

When it comes to reviews, what are the rules? Obviously, you can’t pay anyone or offer incentives for positive online reviews. Don’t pose as a customer and post a good review. This is clearly unethical and it will catch up to you. The same goes for creating fake profiles to criticize competitors.


Dealing With Unhappy Customers

Confront disgruntled customers head-on and resolve the problem. Be sure to stay in the loop of all review platforms because worse than an unhappy customer expressing their opinion is everybody hearing about it but you. Take the following steps:

  • Be accessible. Keep a strong online presence and encourage users to reach out to you directly.
  • Respond quickly. You want your customer to know you take their complaint seriously, so a quick response will do just that.
  • Have a private conversation. It’s much more effective to send a thoughtful personal message than to post an impersonal comment on a webpage. Whether or not your business was in the wrong, apologize, and consider providing store credit or a discount.
  • Social activity on social media. Interact with your followers. After all, they followed you because they had an interest in your services or products. You can show them that you care by interacting with them. Answer questions. Respond to comments. And find out what else they’d like to hear about.

The Bottom Line

In business, reputation is everything. Sure, your work can speak for itself, but “word of mouth” goes a long way with consumers when making purchase decisions. As people search online for reviews about a company or product, you want them to see your best. In the digital world where you’re being judged by your online reputation, now is the time to take control of it.