Websites like Yelp and Citysearch allow customers to leave reviews on businesses that they’ve recently visited. When these reviews are positive, they can help your company earn more business because these reviews will act as referrals to other customers.

If the review is negative, though, it can have a damaging effect on your company, especially if you don’t know how to manage these reviews.

Some companies make the mistake in not tracking what is being said about their business on these review sites, and that is not a good idea.

If reviews about your business are sitting on the Internet, you should know what they say that you can better manage your company’s online reputation.

As a business, you have the option of managing these reviews in house or hiring an outside agency to do it for you. Some companies prefer to have the help of an experienced company while others prefer to tackle the challenge themselves. If your company is opting to manage these online review sites on your own, the following tips will help you do so successfully.

1. Claim your business.

Each online review site allows your company to claim your business, which gives you the ability to create your profile and respond to any comments. If you don’t claim your business, customers can still create a page for you and leave feedback, so it’s critical that you claim it yourself so that the information being shared is accurate. You can list your contact info, services/products offered and anything else you deem relevant to your customers.

2. Get alerted.

Some of the online review sites will alert you every time a new review is written. Make sure that you register for these alerts so that you can keep a close eye on what is being said about you in real time. If you don’t alert yourself, you will only check these sites when it’s convenient to you, and this is not good for your business. Staying on top of what is being said about you is important to managing your online reputation.

If the site does not alert you when new reviews are posted, sign up for Google Alerts and allow this tool to make you aware of what is being said about your brand. Google Alerts allows you to select certain keywords to monitor, and anytime this keyword is mentioned online, you will be notified.

3. Designate a team.

Your online review monitoring will only be successful if you keep a close eye on it around the clock. Make sure that you designate a dedicated team to keep an eye on your review sites and to respond correctly to any comments that arise. It’s a good idea to have more than one person on this team, and if possible, set it up as shift work. Since the Internet never sleeps, you cannot simply monitor your brand during business hours only.

4. Look for patterns.

Monitoring your online reviews requires a great deal of attention. Unfortunately, these sites are filled with spammers and disgruntled employees that post fake reviews in order to make the business look bad. Most of the online review sites have their own internal systems looking for fake reviews in order to remove them, but sometimes it’s not enough. Though it’s hard to determine the fake from the real, try and look for patterns. Did multiple reviews complain about their unhappiness with a product or service? Did multiple reviews discuss the poor attitude of a specific employee? When you notice patterns, you can start to use the reviews to help better your business.

5. Respond to both positive and negative reviews.

Online review sites allow you respond to the reviews posted about your business, and you need to do this whether they are positive or negative. Thank those patrons who have left positive reviews about your business. This will make them feel good about taking the time to review your business, and it will keep them loyal to your brand.

You should also respond to negative reviews by apologizing and offering to fix the situation. A simple response can put the reviewer at ease and let them know that you take these reviews seriously and you want to better your business. Plus, when you respond, it shows other users that you care about what is being said. If you let negative reviews sit, it will allow other users to start attacking your business too.

So if you want to manage online review sites in house, make sure you employ these tips to help manage more smoothly.

Posted by Garrett Payne. He is a small business owner.  He likes to give advice to other business owners about review tracking and online review management.


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