In my last post, I discussed what Online Reputation Management is and why it is important for you as a business owner to understand what it is and what you can do to manage your online reputation. In this post, I will discuss how to find what people are saying about you, your business, and your employees.
But first, I want you to understand a couple of things. First – the online reputation score will vary from site to site. That’s because everyone has their own favorite go-to’s for leaving reviews and they don’t leave them in the same places. The more reviews you have, the better it will look for your business IF the majority of them are positive. However, if you have a lot of reviews and many of them are negative, increasing the star rating will take more work than if there were only a few ratings.
Secondly, the star rating is in a way more important than the reviews themselves. This is because most people will base their decision on the star rating by itself, yet others will base their decision on both the star rating and the text in the reviews. We will address both of these scenarios and the differences in a future article.
So with that said…..where are people leaving these opinions that count so much toward your online reputation? The most common place that people leave their opinions will depend on the type of business that you have. For example, if you have a restaurant, many people will leave their opinions on Travel Advisor. You can go to traveladvisor,com and search for your restaurant – you should see the listing and the reviews, along with any other information that either you, your employees, or your customers have added regarding your business.
The next place that is extremely popular is Google, or Google My Business, or Google Maps (they are all one in the same – the same review from someone shows up in all 3). To discover what people have said about you on Google, just go to google.com and type in your business name along with the city and state your business is located (keep in mind that multiple businesses with the same name may exist in different places, and if you have the name federally trademarked you can take legal action – vice-versa could also occur but that is a story for another time).
Take a look at your Google listing to see what your online reputation score is – the more stars you have, the better your reviews will tend to be. Just because you have 5 stars doesn’t mean there aren’t any bad reviews – there could very well be one or more lurking in the shadows.
The next big place that people will leave reviews, especially if your business is in a city versus an area with a smaller population is Yelp. Yelp is an animal in its own right, and we will discuss Yelp in a future article. But for now, know that reviews on Yelp are there for good except if they are pretty new. That’s because Yelp has their algorithm that they use to determine whether a review is trustworthy. If they deem that it isn’t, the review goes into the slag pile of “Not Recommended Reviews” which are more difficult to get to. For right now, you can see if your business is listed on Yelp and what the rating is along with the specific things people are saying about your business.
Next, you can take a look at your Facebook business page, if you have one. Even if you think you don’t have one, you might still have one. That’s because anyone can add one for you, and then others will find that page and leave reviews! Go onto Facebook and type your business name then see if it comes up. Make a note of what you find and what people are saying about your business.
There are tons of other places will leave formal reviews for you, including the BBB, Yellow Pages, Merchant Circle, and many, many others. The fastest way to determine the other sites that people are leaving reviews for you is to do a search in Google for your business name plus the town (or city) and state your business is located in. Look for listings that have star ratings – those are the primary places that people are leaving their opinions.
We are not done yet! (Yes, I bet you though we were) The last thing that we need to discuss are informal reviews. These are statements that people make on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others along with their own blog articles or blog articles they guest in on. These things are not quite as important as the formal review sites, but you know how people talk! Someone says something, and that spreads and spreads and spreads, especially if it is really bad! You need to know about those things too, and the only way to find them is to perform special searches that will weed those things out.
WHEW that was a lot of information, right? Take things one step at a time, and go through each of the sites I discussed here. Make a note of what the star rating is on each site, how many good reviews there are and how many bad reviews are on each site. Next time I will discuss how to respond to the reviews – trust me – there is a right way, and a VERY wrong way!
Until next time…. thanks for reading!