How to Nail Online Reputation For Your Nail Salon

Your online reputation says a lot about your nail salon.

Word of mouth is still a powerful form of advertising, but these days, it’s being replaced by online reviews more and more. Let’s face it. Instead of asking friends and family for recommendations on where to get their nails done, most people will simply do a quick Google search. Making sure that your business stands out online is a huge part of separating yourself from your competition, and that means that you need to learn how to nail your business’ online reputation.

Managing your business’ online reputation will take time, energy and consistent effort on your part. And even then, it’s not always easy to manage, especially if it’s new terrority for you. Luckily, though, with a little know-how, getting your nail salon’s online reputation right can be much simpler, and that’s why we’ve come up with this quick guide to online reputation management for nail salons.

Tips to Help you Nail Your Nail Salon’s Online Reputation

#1. Claim your listings.

You don’t necessarily have to pay to get your nail salon listed on a variety of review sites. In fact, it probably already is! And the first step of managing your salon’s online reputation should consist of determining where your business is already listed, claiming your salon’s existing listing and signing up for as many applicable, free review sites as you can.

Why is it important to claim your listing?

  • Simply having your business exist on multiple review sites is a great start, but your job is far from done — you also need to claim your listing. Often, when a listing is left unclaimed on review sites, the information that’s available may be outdated, incorrect or, in some cases, missing altogether. So whether the listing still has your old address or it’s missing your phone number, claiming it will allow you to update the information. You could also add photos and other media to make your listing stand out more.
  • Additionally, claiming your business makes it easier for prospective clients to find your business on a variety of different review platforms, and in most cases, it gives you the ability to actually respond to the reviews your business gets on the platform.

#2. Let your customers know where your salon is listed.

Now that your business is listed and your listing is claimed on a variety of review sites, it’s time to start generating more reviews for your salon. The more reviews you have, the better, and it’s even better when your reviews are more recent.

When people are checking out a business online, they typically won’t just read one review and more on. They’ll read several different reviews, and in order for those reviews to be relevant to their potential experience with your business, they need to be recent. In fact, a lot of people won’t even pay attention to a review if it wasn’t left within the last few weeks. This means that generating reviews for your nail salon needs to be something you focus on consistently and continuously.

How can you generate more reviews for your nail salon?

  • Let your clients know where you’re listed – Hang a sign in your salon indicating the different places your clients can leave you a review. But keep in mind that the last thing a client is going to do is to go through the process of signing up for a Yelp account or an Angie’s List account in order to write a review for your business. However, if your business is also listed on a platform where they already have an account, like Facebook or Google, it’ll make it much easier for them to leave a review for you. This is another reason why it’s important to get your business listed and claimed on a variety of review sites.
  • Ask for reviews – Asking for reviews can be kind of a grey area, depending on the review site in question and how you go about doing it. However, there is one thing that’s crystal clear about asking for reviews — it works! The vast majority of your customers won’t think to leave a review for your salon on their own, but if you ask, they are more than willing. But it’s important to keep in mind that asking for reviews is not the same as incentivizing them, and you should never promise a discount or anything else in exchange for a five-star review.
  • Send follow-up emails – Requesting reviews in-person is incredibly effective, but we get it, it’s not the first thing on your mind when you’re with a client. When you’re with a client, you’re focused on providing them with the very best manicure or pedicure possible — not badgering them to write a review for you. That’s why sending follow-up emails the next day can be a great option.

#3. Respond to your online reviews.

While generating reviews is essential, simply having reviews isn’t enough to effectively manage your nail salon’s online reputation; you also have to respond to them. Reviews are one-sided, and they’re not always an honest or accurate portrayal of the kind of service you offer your clients. That can be incredibly frustrating, but when you take the time to respond to your nail salon’s reviews, you can share your side of the story and set the record straight.

It’s important to note that there’s a right way and a wrong way to respond to reviews. If you respond to a review — even a negative one — in the right way, you can show off your customer service chops and potentially even win back the client in the process. But if you respond in the wrong way, you may come across as petty or immature, which could not only mean losing that individual customer for life, but a lot of potential customers as well.

What’s the right way to respond to reviews?

  • Respond quickly, but give yourself a minute to breathe – When a client leaves you a review, they expect a response from you in a timely manner, but if the review has upset you, it can sometimes help to give yourself a few minutes to breathe and collect your thoughts. Some assertions made in reviews can be downright insulting, and it’s normal to get upset when someone is lying about your business online, but if you get caught up in the moment and let your emotions guide your response, it’ll only make the problem worse.
  • Respond to every review – It’s absolutely essential to respond to negative reviews, but did you know that it’s just as important to respond to five-star reviews? Whether the review is negative or positive, the client took time out of their day to write it, and you need to honor that by taking the time to thank them for sharing their feedback. This also ensures that your clients know that their feedback has been heard.
  • Take the conversation out of public view – It won’t look good for your business if you have a public argument on Google or Facebook with a client. You’ll only make yourself look bad. That’s why, when you’re responding to a negative review, you should apologize and offer the client to call you or email you personally to discuss the matter.

#4. Check-in with your clients while they’re in the shop.

A big part of managing your nail salon’s online reputation actually happens in-person in your salon. Not every review will be an honest reflection of a client’s experience in your nail salon, but most of them will be, which means that your nail salon’s online reputation is a reflection of the kind of service you offer in your salon and one of the best things you can do to manage it is to make customer service your main focus every day.

Sometimes, you might think you’re doing everything right and the experience is still not what the client wanted or expected. That’s why it’s important to keep a pulse on the situation while it’s happening by checking in with your clients to ensure that they’re satisfied throughout the entire experience. You should also make it a point to ask for feedback in person after you’ve completed a manicure or pedicure. You may even try surveying your clients.

In-person feedback is great because it allows you to solve an issue before it becomes a negative online review that the entire world can see, and it demonstrates to your clients that you truly care about what they think of your salon. The goal of checking in at regular intervals in-person is to ensure that they are happy when they walk out of your door — which should be your number one priority with every customer interaction.

#5. Be active on social media.

Most businesses think of their website as their ultimate home base online, but it’s actually just one of the many places where you can connect with both your existing and potential clients online. In fact, one of the best places to connect with people is through social media!

Social media is a great place to show off your work and let people know what kind of results people will get when they choose your nail salon, but with a little know-how, it’s also a great place to expand your client base and community.

How do you expand your client base with social media?

    • Focus on the right platforms – All social media platforms aren’t made equally, and while you should be listed and have a presence on a variety of platforms, your main focus should be on the platforms that your client case uses the most. What’s the best way to know what platforms those are? All you have to do is ask!
    • Show off your work – The common saying — “a picture is worth 1,000 words” — is especially true when it comes to social media. While you can and should use text to communicate on social media, almost nothing is more powerful than an image, except for videos, that is, which is another great medium for showing off your work.
    • Post often – Posting on social media isn’t something you can just do once. You have to keep at it on a regular, consistent basis in order to make an impact and grow your online reputation to what you want it to be. Posting regularly on social media will also help to improve the social media optimization of your website, leading to better organic rankings and more visibility.
    • Engage with your audience – Making connections with other people is one of the best things you can do for the success of your nail salon, and that’s just as true on social media as it is in person. Make it a point to always respond to any comments you get on social media, and don’t be afraid to ask for permission to share your clients’ nails or stories on social media as well.

#6. Display reviews on your website!

When you get a glowing, five-star review, it’s normal to want to shout about it from the mountaintops. There are so many ways to display your reviews so that more people can see them, but one of the best things you can do is to display them on your website.

A good client review is a great thing to display prominently on your website, and when people see it, it will help to establish trust and comfort in your nail salon.

There are two basic ways that you can add reviews to your website. One option is simply to copy/paste the review, which is good, but the most effective way to display reviews is with a review widget. When you copy/paste, you can only display one review, but when you embed a review widget on your site, you’ll add new, dynamic review content to your site on a regular basis.

Take control of your nail salon’s online reputation with Top Rated Local®.

Top Rated Local is not your average review site. Our algorithm collects reviews from a variety of review sites to provide you with an overall Rating Score™ for your nail salon, which will give you a good idea of how you’re doing across the board — instead of just on one single review site.

In addition to helping you get an understanding of your nail salon’s overall online reputation, signing up for Top Rated Local comes with a long list of benefits for business owners, including real-time notifications when you get reviews, the ability to respond to reviews, prioritized profile ranking on Google, monthly email updates about your salon’s reputation, a Top Rated Local badge to help you display reviews on your website and so much more.

Don’t wait. Become a Top Rated Local nail salon today!

The Monsters Of Reputation Management

It’s Creepy and It’s Kooky, It’s Altogether Spooky: Reputation Management

Happy spooky month! In the spirit of the month, we thought we’d give you some tips to keep your online reputation less than spooky. Online reviews can be scary business if you don’t know what you’re doing. There are so many different spooky situations that can arise, you’d think you were in the middle of a Goosebumps book. From competitors attacking your reputation to poorly crafted listings, negative reviews, and beyond, the thought of managing your business’ reputation can be haunting. However, with the right tools at your disposal, you can slay any creepy crawly, ghoul, or ghost that comes your way — At least when it comes to making your business look good online.  

The Werewolves Are Attacking

Your business is thriving. Your online reputation has never been better. But, when the full moon rises, the werewolves come out. Suddenly, all of your listings are under attack! Bad reviews everywhere, from people you’ve never even met. Chances are, your competitors were bit by jealousy and unfortunately, they are now werewolves, trying to come after your business’ hard-earned online reputation when the moon of your success is full. They’re running full-fledged attacks on your online reputation and it’s time for you to act.

The only surefire way to fix this is to double down on your reputation management efforts. You need to be strong enough to fight off the werewolf. That means you need to ask for reviews, getting your online listings sorted out, and utilize Top Rated Local. It is absolutely vital that you focus on reputation as a major part of your business’ online marketing strategy. If your online reputation is impenetrable, the werewolves will have to walk away with their tails between their legs.

 Your Listings Look Like Frankenstein’s Monster

“IT’S ALIVE!” Except not, because an ugly listing is as good as dead. Chances are, if your listings on online review sites look bad, you’re not getting any conversions from them. Think of your poorly cultivated listing as Frankenstein’s monster, the only difference being that the townspeople run away from it instead of toward it. The good news is, you don’t have to be a mad scientist to give it a bit of a facelift. 

A few simple steps can make your listing look clean and professional. First, make sure your address and all other contact information is uniform and accurate throughout all of your online listings. Professional-looking, attractive photos that showcase your business are a great next step. These will not only draw the eye of your potential customers, but it will give them information that will help them to determine whether or not your business is the right fit for their needs — not only drawing in more sales, but better sales.

A Disgruntled Former Employee Turns Into A Zombie

It’s a dark and stormy night. Suddenly, a hand bursts out from underground. It starts typing furiously. Is it…? Could it be…? Yes! It’s an angry former employee posting all over the internet about how terrible they think your company is! Thankfully, this isn’t an apocalyptic situation. You know exactly how to handle this. 

If a disgruntled former employee is posting about you all over employer review sites, you need to focus hard on your employer reputation. The first thing you should do is respond politely and with the genuine intention to accept and grow from feedback. Understand that your former employees likely hold no ill will toward you, and they aren’t actually trying to eat your brains. And even if they are, responding correctly will help you show current and potential customers and employees that your team really does care.

You’re Being Haunted By A Bad Review

If you feel a sudden chill and hear things go bump in the night, you know there’s something strange in your neighborhood. But, don’t call Ghostbusters quite yet! It’s probably just a bad review on one of your review sites. As spooky as this may seem, you can pretty easily turn this scary apparition into Casper, The Friendly Ghost with a little bit of work and some old fashioned customer service. 

If you’ve ever seen a horror movie, you know that ignoring your ghost problem won’t make it go away. You need to do like Jennifer Love Hewitt and work with the ghosts to reach a resolution. Reply to the review with an apology and try to move the conversation off of a public review site and move it to some form of one-on-one communication as soon as possible. Pro-tip: for this conversation, avoid ouija boards and stick to email.

A Vampire Got a Hold of Your Online Reputation

Uh oh, your reputation got bit by a vampire, and now it sucks. No one thing is particularly bad, it’s just… not great. That’s okay, though. It can be fixed — no garlic or wooden stakes necessary. Making reputation management a fundamental part of your business’ online marketing strategy is the only truly effective way to solve this problem. Think of comprehensive reputation management as your silver bullet.

Making sure your listing looks good, asking for reviews, and being proactive about responding to reviews are all excellent ways to keep your online reputation in tip-top shape. Review your online listings often. In other words, make sure to check your reflection in the mirror often. Do these things and restrategize when necessary if you don’t want to end up as a character in Twilight.

Try Top Rated Local®

By using Top Rated Local, you can master your online reputation. With our unique proprietary Rating Score® system and data from tons of verified review sites, you can get a good look into what exactly your business’ online reputation looks like, without having to manually find all of your listings. Beyond that, Top Rated local has a groundbreaking awards program that offers awards to the best of the best in more than 60 industries. Sign up today and see what Top Rated Local can do for you.


The Entrepreneurs at Top Rated Local®: Blake

Top Rated Local® employees are full of entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, so much so that many of them have their own businesses outside of their day job! Last month, we talked to Brandon; now, it’s time to move on to Blake!

Blake has been at Top Rated Local for around two and a half years. Before Blake worked at Top Rated Local, he was particularly interested in graphic design and video implementation, but the more heavily marketing-focused roles called to him. Blake is a senior marketing consultant, which means he works with our clients on initial strategy development. He works to effectively diagnose the hurdles businesses are overcoming and pair it with a solution moving forward. He focuses on fostering long-term relationships with our clients and strives to “put heart in it.”

Blake started in photography while working for his dad, who owned a promotional products company when Blake was a child. He asked Blake if he was interested in graphic design work, and Blake helped him out with whatever he could. By the time he was nine or 10 on, he was already working with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Battlecreek Photography has been in business for about 12 years or so. It started as a favor Blake was doing for his friend, and then, once his passion for photography was ignited, the business grew. At the time, Blake was working a lower-paying job. So, once he had a really good sales month, he pounced on the opportunity to buy all the photography equipment he would need to really dive in. It started as a hobby, but in his words, “The more people actually started asking me to take their pictures, the more I realized it was for me. Ten years ago, this wasn’t really a thing like it is now.”

Although Battlecreek Photography started out with simple portraits, it has become centered around what Blake really wants to do, like weddings, senior photography, and family photography.

When it comes to reputation management, Blake focuses on asking for feedback and recommendations. He told us, “I always try to do something above and beyond. Like, if I shoot a wedding, even if I get out of there at 12:00 or 1:00 in the morning, I still try to send them 10 or so edited images by that night.” He added that, after weddings, in particular, his social media pages seem to get a sizeable number of new views.

When asked about his reputation management strategy, Blake said, “The way I approach it is very transparent… One thing that business owners could really benefit from is a higher degree of transparency.”

Thank you so much for your time, Blake, and thank you for being such an integral part of the Top Rated Local family!

Want to see what Top Rated Local can do for your business? Sign up here today.

Idaho’s Top Rated Local® Businesses: 2019

More than just potatoes and more than 72 types of precious gems, Idaho is hopme to tons of outstanding local businesses. Of these businesses, only the most elite can make the cut as Top Rated Local® award winners. We are thrilled to announce which businesses made the cut, becoming our 2019 Top Rated Local award winners!

The total number of verified review sites, the average overall star rating a business has on those sites, and the total number of ratings/reviews they have posted on those sites all play a role in the overall Rating Score™ calculation. The more ratings/reviews a business has posted on verified review sites, as well as the higher the average overall star rating, the higher the Rating Score. The highest possible Rating Score is 100.

Each and every one of these businesses has worked tirelessly to serve the people in their communities. Idaho has more than 131,663 small businesses, making the competition stiff. But, these businesses have risen above and been phenomenal assets to the community. Our award winners in the state have an average Rating Score of 98.19 and an average star rating of 4.91 on verified sites, both of which are higher than the national average for our award winners.

We would like to extend a special shoutout to Woodland Family Dental, our number one business in Idaho for 2019!

Congratulations to all of our Utah award winners, and thank you for your continued work and support for your community!

The Importance Of Reputation Management For Plumbers

Your online reputation is vital to your company’s success

The world of online reputation management may seem a bit too much for your local, family-owned plumbing company, but it definitely should not be overlooked or brushed off as being only helpful for younger generations. Let us fill you in on why your online reputation matters and what you can accomplish by taking control of it! By understanding and managing your online reputation, you can gain valuable insight into the minds of your customers, see where your reputation is shining or lacking, and communicate with your current and potential future clients!

What your reviews tell people

Whether for last-minute emergency services or a long-awaited planned project, when it comes time for the average consumer to choose a plumber, most people are going to turn to the internet before deciding who to hire. As a local business, your online reputation can make or break you. Today, your online reviews hold as much weight as word of mouth has in the past. In fact, 88-percent of consumers trust online reviews just as much as they would trust a personal recommendation. While positive reviews can help get your name out and grow your business, negative reviews can result in a bad reputation, which will undoubtedly harm your business.

Your loyal fans, your current customers, and an untold number of future potential customers are using online reviews every day to make their purchasing decisions. Think about it, from the most mundane household products, like sponges and hand soap, all the way up to important services, like optometrists and family doctors, people almost never choose a product or service without doing some research first. That means that it is more important than ever to stay on top of and manage your online reputation. Think of your reviews as the new word of mouth or referral.

Imagine a potential customer searches for local plumbers and comes across your page and a competitor’s page. Your page has no reviews and theirs has a few positive reviews scattered across Facebook and Google. That customer is most likely going to go with the business that people have recommended through their reviews! Many times, people are looking for a plumber with some level of urgency, and the average person doesn’t have much, if any, plumbing knowledge, so they really rely on those reviews to help them know which business to trust! Plumbing is a competitive industry, and you can be the best plumber in the city, but if potential customers aren’t told as much by someone other than yourself, they have no reason to believe you.

Check out your competition

Not only can your online reputation give you a leg-up in the industry, but it can also give you some good insight into what customers care about. Browse through the reviews of some of your competitors. What are the top compliments and criticisms being made about other businesses in your field? Maybe you hadn’t thought to really focus on communication, but you’ve noticed that that’s one of the things people complain about the most. You can help your business to stand out even more by going out of your way to be the best when it comes to communication! You commit to responding to all voicemails by the end of the day, you start to send out follow-up emails, and maybe you even set up your employees with a texting service so they can let the customer know when they are on their way. Soon enough, excellent communication skills

become something you are known for! By seeing where others are struggling, you can get a good idea about what is going on in the minds of the consumers, as well as what they value and what tends to bother them the most.

You can also see where you might be outshining your competitors! By reading through the reviews, you might notice that you’re the only local company that keeps getting compliments about your friendly technicians. You can lean into that when it comes to your branding. Start by saying that customer service is something you’re known for, because at this point, it is, and you have the reviews to back that up!

Make yourself more visible

It is crucial for you to show up as one of the top results when someone searches for businesses in your industry. In fact, it’s been shown that 75-percent of people never scroll past the first page of search engine results! If you don’t show up on that first page, it’s almost as bad as not showing up at all. If you’re trying to buy your way to the top with keywords and paid ads, get ready to shell out the big bucks. An easier, and significantly cheaper, way to boost your visibility is through reviews. Your SEO (search engine optimization) is boosted when you provide original, fresh content, and new customer reviews are a form of content that not only helps by giving you precious feedback, but also helps to get your brand noticed by those algorithms that can push you to the top!

Communicate with your customers

Online or off, there’s no doubt that communication is valued in the service industry. Online reviews give you a unique platform where you can communicate with your consumer base quickly and publically. If a negative review comes in, you can quickly address the issue, showing potential customers that you are not only communicative, but that you also value customer feedback. In some cases, you can even turn around a bad review by addressing the customer’s concerns and showing them that you care about their experience.

Make managing your reputation easy with Top Rated Local

Plumbers who have been in business for a while will and have a long list of clients probably also have reviews across many different platforms, like Yelp, Home Advisor, Angie’s List, Facebook, and Google — Top Rated Local can help you keep track of where your reputation is by bringing them all to one place! It has never been easier to take control of your online reputation, and with some help from Top Rated Local, you can quickly get the shining reputation you’ve dreamed of.

How To Use Negative Reviews To Your Advantage

Turning A Negative Into A Positive

When you come across a negative review for your business, it can be really jarring. So much so that it may even appear to be an emergency situation. But, you can turn off the alarms, because a negative review can be turned around to actually help your business. In this blog, we’ll explore negative reviews, why they happen, and how you can make them a good thing.

Why Do People Leave Negative Reviews?

In order to understand the benefit of negative reviews, we first need to understand why people leave them in the first place. Of course, there are tons of reasons a person would feel the need to do so, but you can almost always bet it’s for the sake of others to receive financial reimbursement, or to get some sort of response from the business owners.

To Protect Others

Often, people believe that the entire purpose of leaving reviews is to help others decide whether or not they want to give a business their money. This drives people to leave negative reviews, sometimes even for minor issues, if they feel they didn’t get their money’s worth from whatever service you provided. 

For Financial Reimbursement

Speaking of getting your money’s worth, lots of people will leave reviews because they feel that it will get your attention and result in financial reimbursement. Whether or not that’s something they should actually get should obviously be taken on a case-by-case basis.

To Get a Response

Whether it be the aforementioned financial reimbursement or simply an apology, many people won’t be satisfied until they get a response to their negative review. We have talked about it before, and we’ll touch on it later, but responding properly to a review can make all the difference when it comes to customer retention and reviews.

What Makes Them A Good Thing?

Criticism can always be constructive, whether it starts out that way or you have to twist it into positive change. A negative review doesn’t have to be a death sentence and it can absolutely be turned into a positive thing for your business. From showing potential customers that the worst that could happen isn’t all that bad, to giving you an opportunity to improve your business, they can be a tremendous force for good regarding your business’ reputation.

They Represent The Worst-Case Scenario

One thing that is often taken for granted about bad reviews is that they give your customers a glimpse into what it means for the worst to happen with your business. Knowing those possibilities can put your customers at ease and also demonstrate how easily fixable they are. If your worst is better than that of your competitors, you come out on top.

They Lead To Informed Purchasing Choices

If your customers get to see both the good and bad of your business, they become empowered to make the best purchasing decisions. If they’re making the best purchasing decision by choosing your business the first time, they are more likely to come back to you time and time again.

They Legitimize You

Too many positive reviews can seem suspicious and come across as fake. Because we know that buying fake reviews is a bad idea, it’s simple logic and safe to assume that when legitimate reviews come across as fake, it’s bad news. By letting your customers see that everything isn’t perfect all the time, you build trust with your customers.

They Provide Opportunity

“Facing it, always facing it, that’s the way to get through. Face it.” That’s a quote from novelist, Joseph Conrad. This is great advice when it comes to responding to reviews. It is vital to always respond to negative reviews not only so that people can see how dedicated your team is to doing right by your customers, but so that you can hopefully retain the customer who left the negative review. Beyond that, any criticism your business receives can help your business to improve.

How To Approach it

So, what’s next after receiving a bad review? Well, you aren’t going to be surprised by what we have to say — it’s all about reputation management. By carving out a good reputation management plan for your business, you can overcome any bad review.

Come Up With A Gameplan

The best thing you can do when receiving a negative review is to analyze the situation, figure out a course of action, and decide how to approach the same situation going forward. If there is a way to respond to your poor review with a solution, focus on that. If there isn’t, make sure that being apologetic and genuine is at the forefront of your mind. In times like these, think “the customer is always right, but maybe we can reach a middle ground.” It is okay to defend your business, as long as you approach it with customer service in mind and the focus falls on correcting information and not fighting, you are completely within your right to challenge any negative reviews that come your way. 

Focus On Reputation Management

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again… over and over again. Offense is the best defense. By creating an impenetrable reputation, you can effectively shield your business from the negative effects of bad reviews while still enjoying the positive. Give your happy customers just as much attention as you would give the unhappy ones. Focus on your business’ social media presence and make sure to encourage your customers to leave reviews. If you need more advice on reputation management, browse through our blog. We’ve got lots of information for you.

Try Top Rated Local®

With our proprietary Rating Score™ system, you can get an accurate look into where your business stands online… negative reviews and all. This allows you to truly take charge of your business’ reputation management and create a reputation that can weather any bad review. Sign up today and see what Top Rated Local can do to elevate your business.

What Threatens Your Business’ Online Reputation

These days, a business’ online reputation is everything, and every savvy business owner needs to know what can put it at risk.

Successful business owners understand the importance of a solid online reputation — and what threatens it.

It used to be that, when consumers needed to hire a plumber or replace their roof, they’d ask their friends or neighbors for a recommendation. Word of mouth is still a powerful tool today, but more and more, the conversation is happening online. Reviews are the future of word of mouth, and they’re an essential part of a business’ overall online reputation. Your business’ online reputation is — undoubtedly — a key component of your success.

You can’t control what people say about your business online, and you can’t simply wish away a negative online reputation or hide reviews you don’t agree with. Your business’ online reputation will reflect the work that you put into it, for better or for worse.

Like it or not, your business’ online reputation will determine whether consumers work with you or with your competition, and unfortunately, there are many things that can put it at risk. Knowing what threatens your business’ reputation will help you better maintain it, and if you take the right steps, you may be able to sidestep the threats altogether.

Seven Things That Puts Your Business’ Online Reputation at Risk

#1. Negative Reviews

As we mentioned, word of mouth is a powerful tool, but online reviews have quickly become a close second. Most people in the United States — 90 percent in fact — will read a business’ online reviews before visiting, and studies have shown that online reviews have an impact on almost 70 percent of purchasing decisions. Not only do most people read reviews and use them to make purchasing decisions, but people overwhelmingly trust online reviews as well. Believe it or not, 84 percent of people trust online reviews just as much as they’d trust a recommendation from a friend or family member.

Getting reviews on a regular basis is an important part of a strong online reputation, but not every review is likely to be a positive one. Negative reviews will happen from time to time, dragging down your business’ star average and tainting its online reputation. Even if you work hard every day to meet your clients’ needs, you’re not going to please everyone.

You can’t control what your customers are saying about your business online, but you can control the kind of service you offer and how you respond to negative reviews. You might also be surprised to learn a negative review or two can actually be a good thing, especially if you respond to it the right way.

Want to learn how to respond to negative reviews like a pro? Check out our previous blog — How to Handle Bad Reviews.

#2. A Disgruntled Employee

Creating and maintaining a positive working environment where your employees are happy and well taken care of is important for so many reasons. It will reduce turnover and help you save money by holding on to the best people. It will save you time and energy spent on training new employees. It will lead to more productive employees who take pride in their work. Best of all, it will help you to keep your business’ online reputation strong.

While you should absolutely treat your employees well, compensate them fairly and provide them with opportunities to shine, that doesn’t mean that you have to give into every demand or allow an unproductive employee take advantage of you. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, some employees aren’t going to be happy. And all it takes is one rogue employee with the password to the business Facebook account for disaster to strike!

What can you do to limit this kind of damage? Well for one, be in the know about how your employees feel about your business by regularly asking them and anonymously surveying them. You can also limit the login information and access to your business’ social media profiles. Instead of designating the responsibility of running your social media presence to several employees, give that responsibility to one or two people you can trust.

#3. Overly Expressive Upper Management

Your employees are the face of your business, and oftentimes, what they do in public can reflect back on your business for better or for worse. This is true of every person you employ, but it’s especially true for the people in upper management.

A great example of this is the Gilbert Gottfried incident. Gilbert Gottfried is a comedian who used to be the voice of the famous Aflac duck. After Japan’s most powerful earthquake hit the coast of Tōhoku in 2011 and triggered a massive tsunami that left more than 19,000 people killed, Gottfried tweeted, “Japan is really advanced. They don’t go to the beach. The beach comes to them.” Gottfried must not have realized that Aflac was Japan’s premier insurance company. Needless to say, he was fired.

You can’t police what your employees are saying on social media, but you can make guidelines for how you expect your employees to behave online, particularly when they identify your business as their employer. You can also make sure that your employees know that their activity on their personal social media account reflects back onto the business.

#4. Subpar Service

There are a lot of things about your business’ online reputation that are either out of your control or that you have very little control over — for instance, what your management says on their personal Twitter accounts or what kind of reviews your customers give you. However, there’s one thing that is totally and completely in your control — and that’s the type of service you provide your customers day in and day out.

Your business’ online reputation doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s forged one customer interaction at a time, and although a few of those reviews might not be a fair reflection of your service, the vast majority of them will be an honest look at how your customers see your business. In order to earn five-star reviews, you need to make sure that you’re providing your customers with five-star service.

If you have multiple negative reviews, chances are, the world isn’t conspiring against you. There are probably things about your business that require your attention, and your reviews give you unparalleled insight into what you can do to make your customers happier and better meet their needs. You just have to make sure that you listen!

#5. A Similar Domain Name in the Wrong Hands

Registering for your domain name is important, but did you know that you should do so for multiple names? It’s important to register for any and every domain name that could be associated with your business, products, services or brand. This will help to prevent other people from acting on behalf of your business without your knowledge.

There’s a lot of competition out there, and some people are so desperate to direct more traffic to their website that they will buy a domain name associated with their competition, and redirecting the link to their own website. Buying domain names for your brand, products and services will also help to protect against typos and misspellings that might otherwise send people to your competition

#6. Wrong Social Media Tone

Of the many things to worry about when it comes to your business’ online reputation, your tone on social media can seem like the least important thing on your to-do list. Believe it or not, your tone on social media can play a vital role in your business’ online reputation, and it’s important to get it right.

Many business owners make the mistake of hiring the wrong person to manage their social media presence. A lot of times, these social media managers come from public relations or journalism background, and though they might know all of the ins and outs of the platform, they may not have a good understanding of who your audience is and what they’re looking for.

It’s important that you get the tone right on social media, and a big part of accomplishing that is simply listening to what your customers are saying online and being willing to make adjustments to keep them happy.

#7. Failing to Maintain Your Online Reputation

It’s tempting to let your online reputation fall by the wayside. After all, you’ve got a lot on your plate, what with running your business and all. However, your business’ online reputation isn’t a “set it and forget it” type of thing. You can’t work hard on it once and let the chips fall where they may. If you want a strong online reputation that lasts, you have to put in the effort continuously.

Keeping your business’ online reputation healthy involves responding to every review you receive in a timely manner. You should also make sure that you are regularly in the know about what people are saying about your business online, which means that you should regularly google your business. It also helps to set up Google alerts and sign your business up for Top Rated Local® so that you’re notified when you get new reviews. Another important part of reputation management online is ensuring that your website and social media profiles rank highly in the SERP for your business name and other keywords.

Would you like to learn more about how to maintain a powerful online reputation? If so, check out our previous blog — Tips to Keep Your Online Reputation Healthy.

Become a Top Rated Local business today!

As you can see, there are a lot of things that can put your business’ online reputation at risk, and keeping your business’ online reputation in great shape is an ongoing thing that takes a lot of hard work. Luckily, you can get the tools that you need to build and maintain the kind of online reputation you want are available with Top Rated Local!

Signing your business up with Top Rated Local is free, easy and a step in the right direction when it comes to reputation management. Get started today!

The Importance of Reputation Management for Restaurants

Reputation management is something that every business owner should be focused on, but if that business is a restaurant, it becomes even more essential.

Every restaurant should prioritize reputation management.

In most places, there is no shortage of options when it comes to restaurants. Most cities are home to a wide variety of restaurants, giving them the choice of a host of different flavors, settings and service options to choose from. With so much competition, restaurants simply can’t afford to let their online reputation fall by the wayside, which means that reputation management should always be high on a restaurant’s priority list.

Reputation management isn’t a one-and-done kind of thing; it’s something that takes a consistent effort day in and day out. There are no shortcuts when it comes to reputation management, and you certainly won’t be able to wish away a negative online reputation. And when you invest your time and resources into maintaining your business’ online reputation, you want to know that it will pay off! That’s why we’ve put together this list of a few of the most important reasons why reputation management is vital for restaurants of all shapes, sizes and dining styles.

Five Reasons Your Restaurant Needs a Good Reputation Management Strategy

#1. Restaurants see a higher volume of clients.

Have you ever noticed how restaurants tend to have a far greater number of reviews than, say, an auto shop or a plumber? That’s because restaurants serve a lot more people than a plumber or an auto shop does.

Not only do restaurants serve more people in a typical day than businesses in most other industries, but people who dine at restaurants are also more likely to share their experience online in the form of an online review. One study found that, on average, only about 5 percent of consumers frequently leave reviews across all industries (which means that they write 12 or more reviews per year), but one in eight diners will write a review after their meal, which is about 12 percent.

With so many more people frequenting your restaurant and talking about it online in the form of reviews, it makes staying on top of your online reputation that much more pressing.

#2. Reviews are an important part of the dining decision.

It’s no secret that a lot of consumers rely on online reviews to guide them when they make decisions on which products to purchase or which company to hire. And while that’s true no matter what industry you’re in, it’s especially true for restaurants, whose customers read more reviews and weigh them more heavily when deciding where to eat.

According to a TripAdvisor survey, 94 percent of diners from the United States are influenced by online reviews when deciding where to eat, and according to another study, 78 percent of diners said that reading online reviews factors into whether or not they schedule a reservation at least half the time.

If your overall rating is up to scratch, you could be losing more customers than you might think. It’s estimated that more than 33 percent of people will not eat at a restaurant if it doesn’t have at least a four-star rating online. But the good news is that just a one-star increase in your Yelp rating alone could translate into a revenue increase of as much as 9 percent.

#3. There is no shortage of restaurants to choose from.

When you compare restaurants to other local businesses, like barber shops, sign companies or financial advisors, you’ll quickly notice that their competition is usually a lot more fierce. Let’s face it, in your typical city, there are probably a handful of financial advisors, one or two barber shops and maybe a few sign companies, but there’s a new restaurant on every block. And unlike most other local businesses, restaurants have to compete with fast-food joints, coffee shops, sandwich shops and more — not just other comparable restaurants.

All of that competition makes focusing more on online reputation a no brainer for restaurants. People trust online reviews by and large, and if you have a solid online reputation behind your business, it gives people an incentive to try you out over your competition.

#4. Focusing on your reputation will help your website get noticed.

If you are the owner of a Mexican restaurant that specializes in street tacos, and someone googles, “street tacos near me,” you want your restaurant to be the first thing that pops up in the SERP (search engine results pages). Of course, people make decisions about where they want to eat based on many different things, but it can only help to be ranked near the top of the results. After all, if you’re not on that first page of Google, you may as well not exist on the internet at all.

SEO (search engine optimization) and reputation management are two sides of the same coin, and when you focus on one, it benefits the other. Not only will managing your business’ online reputation help your website outrank your competitions’ websites, but it will also help to push down any negative reviews or press further down in the results.

#5. Reputation management will help you catch and respond to negative reviews promptly.

Negative reviews can have a big impact on any business, but in the restaurant industry, negative reviews can make or break success completely, particularly negative reviews about the cleanliness of a restaurant. According to one survey, approximately 75 percent of consumers say that they will not patronize or visit a restaurant that has negative reviews about cleanliness.

Negative reviews can have an especially negative effect on restaurants as opposed to businesses in other industries, and if you let a negative review go unchecked, it will only make the problem worse. We’ve said it time and time again in our blog, but the fact remains that, while you can’t control what your customers say in online reviews, you can control how you respond to it.

Responding to negative reviews is a great way to turn a negative situation into a positive one, but it’s important that you don’t wait too long to respond. People expect a response promptly, and the longer you allow a negative review to go unchecked, the more damaging it can be to your business’ online reputation. When you take an active role in managing your business’ online reputation, you’ll be able to catch and respond to negative reviews much quicker.

Get your business listed on Top Rated Local today!

There are many aspects to an effective reputation management strategy, but one of the best things you can do to get started without having to spend a whole lot of your time or money is to claim your listing on Top Rated Local, thus, becoming a Top Rated Local restaurant in your area!

There are so many reasons to become a Top Rated Local restaurant — you’ll get real-time notifications when you receive reviews, monthly email updates on your overall reputation, the ability to reply to Top Rated Local reviews, a prioritized profile ranking on Google, a boost to your Rating Score™ and a Top Rated Local badge that you can display on your website to build trust and give customers a direct link to your reviews — just to name a few of the many benefits. And the best part is that you get all of this for free!

Become a Top Rated Local restaurant today!

Ask A Reputation Manager: In-House Reviews

This Month: In-House Reviews

In this month’s edition of “Ask A Reputation Manager,” we spoke with Artise, who is a very important member of our in-house reputation management team because we had some questions about in-house reviews. Artise sat down with us to teach us a little bit about in-house reviews, what they are, how to get them, and how helpful they can be for businesses.

About Artise

Superstar reputation manager, Artise, has been working with Top Rated Local® for about two years and, in his words, has “really found a home” in reputation management. He’s incredibly passionate about helping both businesses and their customers get the best use out of Top Rated Local and other review sites, and he utilizes his experience both working with businesses and being a customer to help his clients form a stellar online reputation.

What are in-house reviews?

“In house reviews are reviews that are generated in-house by the client, taking advantage of what I call the ‘you just finished my cool stuff’ effect, while customers are full of endorphins, happy, and want to express that happiness in some way. For example: say it’s a martial arts school. A student wants to leave a review because it’s the best martial arts school they’ve ever been to. That’s a good time to ask for an in-house review.”

So, should businesses ask for in-house reviews from every client, every time?

“No, and the reason I say that is because if a person wants to leave a review, it’s generally indicated in their tone. If they say, ‘Hey, you did a really great job and I wish there was a way that I could thank you,’ or something along those lines, that’s in-house review territory. If the guy is just like, ‘Hey, thanks for the job,’ you don’t really want them to leave a review. Obviously, when someone hasn’t had the world’s greatest experience, the last thing you want them to do is leave a review. That’d be a big no-no.”

What makes this an effective approach to getting reviews?

“The most immediate thing is the double-pronged approach — you’re requesting a review right then and there and taking the secondary opportunity to send an email requesting a review. Then, of course, there’s the endorphin effect. That makes people even more likely to leave positive reviews. Particularly with service clients, acting quickly is going to give you a much better chance of a review.”

Are there certain industries in particular that can benefit from in-house reviews?

Service industries, definitely, almost exclusively. That, and anyone who’s client-facing. The higher priced the service is, the more it starts to wean in effectiveness. HVAC, plumbing, and electrical work can particularly benefit from in-house reviews. 

Can you tell us a few things that most people don’t know about in-house reviews?

“For one, most people don’t know how easy it can be to set up for your business if you have the right tools (like a solid reputation manager through Top Rated Local). Also, people don’t know that in-house reviews have a really high rate of success, especially compared to an email campaign. The reason is simply that you’re in front of their face. If you ask somebody to their face to leave a review, chances are, they aren’t going to leave you one star reviews. Just that alone makes it worth the effort, even if you’re not a social person.”

What else should we know?

In-house reviews have already been shown to boost the amount of reviews businesses receive, versus the standard email method. I would say a lot of my clients are pleasantly surprised by how effective they are. I think they assume that if the opportunity for a review is available, it’ll just present itself. But, that’s not the case. It’s absolutely not the case. Mostly, that’s because customers don’t think like business owners. They simply want to get the job done and get out, unless you change the conversation by asking for a review.

On Top Rated Local®, you get a better glimpse of your business’ online reputation through our cumulative Rating Score™ system. Want to see what Top Rated local® can do for your business? Sign up today and check out your Rating Score™.

A Startup’s Guide to Reputation Management

Starting a successful company means starting a company with a focus on reputation management

Even startups need reputation management.

Don’t make the mistake of waiting until there’s a problem to start managing your business’ online reputation. Your online reputation can make or break your business — and that’s particularly true when it comes to startups. Your business’ online reputation dictates how potential customers see you, including how much they are willing to trust you and whether or not they’re willing to work with you.

Brand new baby businesses don’t have the added benefit of brand awareness and trust like more established companies do, and when you only have a handful of reviews, one or two negative ones could be a devastating blow to your business’ overall reputation.

In other words, new businesses have a lot to prove — and also a lot to lose — which means that startups can’t afford to allow their reputation to fall by the wayside. Even if you only have one or two customers at this point, reputation management should be at the top of your priority list. Luckily, the experts at Top Rated Local® are here to help you learn how.

Your Step-by-Step Guide to Reputation Management for Startups

Step #1. Determine what kind of reputation you want to build.

Reputation management is about more than just putting out fires and preventing molehills from becoming mountains. It’s about taking a proactive approach to making your reputation what you want it to be, which means that your first step needs to be determining what that is. The fact is that the vast majority of startups won’t face any major public relations disasters right away, and it’s important to build a reputation with plenty of positive associations.

Figuring out what kind of online reputation you want to build for your business starts by determining what you want to be known for. For example, if you own a restaurant, you obviously want your name to be synonymous with great food, but you might also want your restaurant to be known for great, super-fast service or for offering only the freshest, most high-quality ingredients.

Pro Tip: Your personal reputation can impact your startup’s reputation.

While your business is still young and doesn’t yet have an established reputation of its own, your reputation, as the founder or CEO, can have a huge impact on your business’ reputation. Whether you’re interacting with colleagues, customers or potential investors, or you’re updating your status on Facebook or tweeting about recent events from your personal account, it’s essential to keep in mind that, until your business has a reputation of its own, its reputation is synonymous with your personal reputation.

Step. #2. Build a website that ranks.

Reputation management and search engine optimization (SEO) go hand in hand. When someone searches for your brand on Google, you want the first result to be your website following by your social media pages and listings on review sites — not a one-star review from an unhappy customer or any other bad press. That’s why it’s essential that you have a website that ranks well for your business name, as well as for any applicable keywords that you’re business is attempting to rank for.

Ensuring that your website ranks highly on Google starts by building a website that looks good, is easy to use and loads quickly. But it also involves continuously adding relevant, high-quality content to your website on a regular basis, which you should do by writing blogs, videos and images.

Step #3. Establish your presence on social media.

Having an active presence on social media is a no-brainer for every business this day and age, and it gives you the added benefit of helping your brand rank on Google for things that you can control and that are positive, not bad reviews or negative press as we mentioned before. Plus, social media gives you a powerful avenue for connecting with both your existing customers and potential customers.

Don’t make the mistake of believing that your business needs to sign up for every social media platform. Instead, determine which platforms will best help you communicate your message and which platforms your customers are using. There’s no point in putting in a lot of time and effort into establishing your presence on Twitter if your targeted audience doesn’t use it. In this case, the phrase, “Work smarter not harder,” means working more strategically.

Once you’ve built your presence on applicable social media platforms, it’s important that you stay active on them. When you are consistently active, you can keep a close eye on how your audience responds to your brand, and you can also get your message out there on a daily basis.

Step #4. Claim your business’ listings.

Whether you like it or not, your business is listed on review sites all across the internet, including Google, Yelp and Top Rated Local. You don’t have the option of getting your business’ listing taken down from one of these sites, but you do have the option to claim your listing, making sure that all of your information is accurate and up to date and ensuring that you can respond to each and every review.

In addition to giving you the ability to ensure that your information is accurate and respond to your reviews, claiming your business listings will also help to build more trust with your audience, and it can even help to give your website a much-needed SEO boost to ensure that it always ranks number one for your brand. And when you claim multiple listings, you’ll be able to give your customers a choice of where to leave you a review.

Start by claiming your Top Rated Local listing!

Step #5. Make customer service your number one focus.

Here at Top Rated Local, we have an awards program that recognizes the top 100 businesses in every state and the top five businesses across a variety of categories in every state. Every award winner is given the option to have a featured article written about them, and by interviewing thousands of business owners, we’ve learned that most of them have one very important thing in common — they focus on customer service.

Reputation management is a complicated, multifaceted thing, but every successful reputation management strategy needs to have a focus on customer service above all else. When you provide next-level customer service, it makes managing your business’ online reputation that much easier because there will be fewer issues to overcome and because you will be providing the kind of service that makes people want to spread the word about it.

Step #6. Ask for reviews.

Top Rated Local provides every business with a Rating Score™, which gives them an overall look at how they are doing across multiple verified review platforms. There are several variables when it comes to determining that Rating Score, but one of the most important aspects is the number of reviews you have.

Most people won’t settle for reading one or two reviews when they’re researching a company to work with; they want to read several before making a buying decision. And you can’t rest on your laurels waiting for your customers to write those reviews on their own. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of people won’t write reviews on their own, even if they were blown away by the service offered. However, research shows that most people will write a review when asked.

Asking for reviews is the easiest way to ensure that you’ll actually get them. That’s important because if you get one or two bad reviews, you need lots of good ones to dilute their power. And when your business is still in its infancy, you’re starting out with so few reviews as it is, and you simply can’t afford to wait for them to come organically.

Pro Tip: Never try to buy or fake reviews.

Businesses need reviews, and business owners who understand just how important reviews are may be tempted to buy them or write fake reviews on their own. The fact of the matter is that inauthentic reviews can be easily spotted by an audience with an eye for detail, and when you’re caught faking reviews, it will only hurt your business’ online reputation.

Step #7. Respond to reviews.

Responding to every review is an essential part of reputation management for any and every business, from brand-new, baby startups to well-established companies that have been around for decades. And it’s essential that you respond to every review, not just the bad ones.

When you take the time to respond to positive reviews, you’re demonstrating to your customers that you recognize the fact that they took the time to write the review as well as how thankful you are that they did so. And when you take the time to respond to negative reviews, it allows you to show off your customer service skills.

The first rule of reputation management is that you can’t control what other people say about your business online; you can only control how you respond to it. Whether a negative review is legitimate or not, you can help to share your side of the story in your response. And because there’s very little recourse for getting fake reviews taken down on most review platforms, your response may be the only way to set the record straight.

Pro Tip: Don’t wait to respond to reviews.

Responding to reviews is critical, but it’s also critical to ensure that you respond quickly. The simple fact is that people expect a quick response when they leave a review, and if you leave them hanging, it could make an unhappy customer even more upset and left feeling unheard.

Check out our previous blog — The Many Different Kinds of Reviews and How to Respond to Them — to learn how to respond to every kind of review, even fake ones!

Step #8. Keep an eye on what people are saying about your business.

While a strong reputation management strategy is more proactive than reactive, reacting to what your customers are saying about you online is unavoidable. People are going to say all kinds of things about your business online, and in order to stay ahead of it and maintain the kind of online reputation you want, you need to know what people are saying!

Every business should keep tabs on what people are saying about them by searching for their brand on Google. It’s also wise to set up Google Alerts so that you can be alerted any time someone says something new about your brand online.

Step #9. Take feedback to heart.

If you’re the type of business owner that doesn’t just want to be known for providing the best service but actually wants to provide it, then it’s important to pay close attention to the feedback you get from your customers. Of course, bad days come and go and not every negative interaction with a customer is indicative of your overall service, it’s essential that you learn from your mistakes — especially the ones that tend to be a theme across multiple reviews.

It’s often not enough to apologize for a mistake or a bad interaction; customers want to feel heard and they want to know that the feedback they took the time to give you is listened to. That’s why, when you respond to negative reviews, it’s important to tell the customer about how you’ve utilized their feedback to better your business.

Step #10. Never rest on your laurels.

If there’s anything that you take away from this article, we hope it’s that reputation management is an ongoing thing. An effective reputation management strategy takes a consistent effort on your part, and it should be one of your top priorities throughout the life of your business.

Think about it — there’s never going to be a time when your business doesn’t need a solid online reputation, and maintaining that reputation should always be at the top of your to-do list.

Become a reputation management guru with Top Rated Local!

By putting in the reputation management footwork from the get-go, your startup will have a leg up on your competition out of the gates. And there’s no easier or better way to start managing your business’ online reputation than by signing up for Top Rated Local!

Getting your business listed is free, and there are so many benefits to joining, including a boost to your Rating Score, real-time notifications when you get reviews and the use of the Top Rated Local badge on your website! It’s a no brainer; get started today!