Should Local Businesses Care About Their Online Reputation?
Absolutely. Online reputation is more important than ever before. A positive presence on the web builds trust with your target audience – A crucial ingredient for converting traffic into customers. Consumers won’t hesitate to take their spending elsewhere if your business leaves them with a poor impression. Here we’ll look at several reasons why you should care about your online reputation.
Consumers Search Online For Local Businesses
Think about the last time you found a local business. Chances are you searched on Google for a relevant query, browsed the top listings, and read a few reviews. You’re not alone either as data from Google found that 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local businesses.
Why does this matter?
Because consumers aren’t just turning to the web for the latest news and product updates. They’re also using it to find businesses near them. A key aspect of online reputation management involves keeping tabs on what others are saying about your business.
Consumers Read Business Reviews
Customer reviews can swing purchasing decisions and tie in to your reputation online. According to the Local Consumer Review survey from BrightLocal, an estimated 86% of consumers read reviews. Positive reviews made 68% of consumers more likely to choose a local business while negative reviews stopped an estimated 40% from choosing that business.
Even if your site ranks at the top of the search results, sales will be negatively impacted if your business is riddled with poor reviews online. This is yet another reason why online reputation needs to be more of a priority if it isn’t already.
Reviews Affect Local SEO
A common mistake that local businesses make is not taking a more proactive approach towards getting customer reviews. According to the Local Search Ranking Factors Survey from Moz, online reviews account for as much as 15% of the local search results. That means all factors being equal, a site with more customer reviews online will likely outrank another with fewer reviews. Customer reviews then benefit your business in two ways: Positive feedback acts as a form of social proof and is correlated with higher rankings.
Now that you understand the value of your reputation online, here are a few things you can do today to build a positive presence on the web:
- Maintain profiles on social media: Many consumers use social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to find local businesses and reviews. Create profiles on each of the major platforms and actively manage them by engaging with your followers and posting interesting updates.
- Use an online reputation management tool: There are a number of online reputation management tools available that make it easy to keep tabs on what people are saying about your business. Alternatively, you can also set up Google Alerts for your business name so can respond accordingly.
- Respond to customer reviews: Be sure to respond to customers that leave a review for your business whether on Facebook or Yelp. It creates an open channel for communication and shows that you care about your customers.
Consumers tend to transact with businesses they trust. This is why managing your online reputation is incredibly important. All it takes is a few negative reviews to completely tank your reputation. Take a more proactive approach to build a positive presence online and your business will be in a better position to drive more sales.