When Near-Perfect Beats Perfect

Believe it or not, having a near-perfect average star rating may actually be better for your business than a perfect one.

When a 4.50 average star rating beats a 5.00

At Top Rated Local®, we’re not your typical review site. Rather than just scoring a business based on the reviews on our own website, we aggregate a business’s reviews from a wide range of verified review sites to come up with their overall Rating Score™, giving small businesses a chance to more effectively monitor their online reputation from one place, and giving consumers the chance to truly understand what kind of business they are working with. And because of the nature of the job, we see a wide range of Rating Scores.

Although we can and do recognize those top-tier businesses that have achieved impeccable five-star averages (see our Top Rated Local awards program!), there’s no denying the power of a near-perfect Rating Score when it comes to attracting new customers to your business and establishing trust online.

The benefits of having a near-perfect star rating

#1. Consumers don’t trust perfection

It wasn’t so long ago that it was a common practice for businesses to pay companies to write fake reviews for them, and it’s a large part of why so many people are less trusting of five-star reviews, especially if every review a business has is a five-star.

Luckily, eople are also less trusting of one-star reviews, because many know that competitors and irrationally angry ex-employees or ex-customers will sometimes try to destroy a business’s reputation online in the form of a one-star review.

A study conducted by SmallBusinessPrices.co.uk looked at how trustworthy consumers view businesses based on their average star ratings.

You may or may not be surprised to learn that people are more trusting of a business that has a three- or four-star average rating than a five-star rating. The study found that only about 10% of people trust 5-star ratings; while, 35% trust 4-star ratings and 22% trust 3-star ratings.

Not only might a consumer believe that a perfect five-star rating is inauthentic, but if you don’t have any reviews that are lower than five-stars, they might think that you’ve somehow deleted or hidden negative reviews.

#2. It’s the content that matters

While a business’s average star rating is certainly important, the content of a business’s reviews is what truly matters to consumers who are researching new businesses online.

Five-star reviews will only get you so far if there’s no content to back them up. Reviews appear much more authentic to consumers when there’s an explanation for why the business was ranked a certain way.

And it’s not just the content of the review that matters; it’s also the content of your response. No matter how many stars a review is, you should always make it a point to respond.

Responding to positive reviews is essential because it shows your customers how much you appreciate the fact that they took a few minutes out of their day to give your business a shoutout online. And responding to negative reviews gives you a chance to apologize and fix any mistakes, share your side of the story with the world and show off your customer service skills.

#3. A lot of consumers seek out negative reviews

Surprisingly enough, when a consumer is researching a business online, they will actually specifically seek out negative reviews, which means that, even if you may have a one-star or two-star review, it might not be the worst thing for your online reputation.

Consumers want to see the one- or two-star reviews because they want to know what the worst-case scenario is if they work with you.

There’s a big difference in there being an hour-long wait at a restaurant at 7 pm on a Saturday night and a restaurant giving its patrons food poisoning.

People don’t just look at the star rating; they’ll actually read the review and make their own judgment. And luckily for small businesses, people will, by and large, take one-star reviews with a grain of salt.

#4. Five-star reviews don’t give you any room to grow

Reviews are the modern-day word of mouth, and they’re one of your most powerful tools for building trust with potential customers online.

When there’s a list of 20 plumbers to choose from, consumers utilize reviews to help them choose which one to turn to. And if your average rating is four stars, consumers are even more likely to trust you.

In addition to attracting new customers online, reviews have one other big advantage for your business — they’ll help you grow and learn how to get better and do better for your customers.

That’s why it’s essential to read and internalize reviews, even if they seem overblown or irrational. There’s usually a lesson to learn, and at the end of the day, when you learn that lesson, it will only help your business grow and flourish.

#5. People are more likely to leave four-star reviews themselves

One other big reason why people are more likely to trust a business that has a four-star average rating than a five-star average rating is that people themselves are more likely to leave four-star reviews than five-star reviews, even when they have nothing to complain about.

Part of the reason for this is that people see star ratings differently. For example, some people will only give a business five stars if they went above and beyond to serve them, while others will give any business that they have nothing to complain about five stars.

Furthermore, some people are more subjective in their reviews — writing about their experience with the company as a whole — while others are more personal in their reviews — for example, writing about their experience with a specific staff member.

People don’t often take reviews at face value for this reason, and that’s a good thing for small businesses.


Start managing your business’s online reputation with Top Rated Local

Whether your average rating across review sites is five-stars, four-stars or one-star, managing your business’s online reputation is a non-negotiable part of its success.

With Top Rated Local, you’ll be able to learn about your business’s overall online reputation across a range of different review sites in just one place! And when customers leave reviews on our site, it allows them to rate you based on various parts of the customer experience in addition to simply leaving a comment. But the best part of all is that signing up with Top Rated Local is absolutely free.

Don’t wait. Take control over your business’ online reputation and get listed today!

Originally published on 11/13/19

Ethics and Reputation Management

An ethical approach to reputation management

Word of mouth has always been one of the main ways small businesses have gotten their name out and grown. While the value of word of mouth is undeniable, online reputation is playing a bigger and more prominent role than ever in how a business is seen by its potential customers.

One of the key functions of your online reputation is offering a presentation of your company, and ideally, giving customers a reason to trust you. Trust plays a huge role in whether or not a potential customer will choose you over any other business. In this day and age, trust is one of the most important things your business can have.

In a 2013 study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, customers identified authenticity as one of the top qualities that would attract them to a brand, and according to BrightLocal, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews from other customers just as much as they would recommendations from peers. In other words, a bad reputation, or no reputation, can kill your business.

It is important to navigate the world of online reputation management in a way that is viewed as ethical. Ethics is defined as the moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity. With that in mind, there are some simple ways to stay on top of your online reputation while acting in a way that is also ethical.

Here are five simple do’s and don’ts when it comes to managing your online reputation ethically.

Don’t

Assume your reputation will speak for itself

It’s entirely possible that you’re the best at what you do, you have incredible employees and your customers have absolutely loved and benefited from your service.

While all of that can be true, if you are not actively monitoring and promoting your online reputation, you will stay practically invisible to a large potential audience. When a potential client first discovers your business, they will be quick to make judgments and buying decisions based on what they find online.

At the end of the day, your reputation isn’t going to speak for itself. If you don’t showcase a strong online presence, that potential client is just going to turn the other way. One easy and ethical way to start promoting your business is by asking the people that have loved your service to leave you some feedback online.

Create fake reviews

While this one seems like it should be a no-brainer, fake reviews are actually, sadly, pretty common and definitely unethical.

This one goes two ways — don’t create fake negative reviews for a competitor, and don’t create fake positive reviews for yourself. This shady tactic is not only unethical, but it’s also not legal.

According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), online endorsements cannot be misleading, cannot publish fake or unfounded claims, and must disclose any relationship or connection between the reviewer and the company. The cost of violating these guidelines could be steep since the FTC has the legal authority to charge significant fines or even shut down a business.

In one case in 2017, the FTC fined a car dealer in California $3.6 million for encouraging its employees to pose as customers and post fake positive reviews about the company.

Create negative content about your competitors

In a continuation of the last point, keep in mind that creating fake reviews is certainly unethical, and sometimes illegal. It is absolutely not worth risking your business to trash talk the competition.

When it comes to defamation and libel, the traditional rules apply to online content, which means that leaving fake negative comments for a competing business is likely going to get you into way more trouble than it’s worth.

If you want to do something that is actually beneficial to your business, take a look through your competitors’ actual negative reviews and see if the ways they are failing are things that your company can excel in. For example, if their customers have commented about their cold and unwelcoming waiting room, you can really stand out by offering a comfortable and fun space for your clients to hang out in!

By monitoring actual feedback instead of inventing fake feedback, you might end up learning something valuable about what your potential customers are looking for.

Spam

Spamming, or ‘spamdexing’ the internet, with lackluster or false content can have an effect on search results and your ranking in them, and is definitely an unethical practice.

There are many ways to create content spam or link spam, many of which are deceptive. Algorithms are used by the major search engines in order to figure out where to rank a website by figuring out what keywords and category the website is relevant to.

Some businesses operate under the idea that any content is good content and will create spam content in the form of articles or blogs that, to a reader, will look like garbage, but to an algorithm, might be full of keywords that might boost the website’s standing.

Try to erase the past

There is a false notion out there that managing your online reputation means getting rid of the mistakes or criticisms your business has run into, and instead, showing the public a flawless and perfected version of your business.

While you do want to highlight the good, it’s unethical to simply pretend the bad doesn’t exist, or to try and hide it from the world. Besides, the ‘delete’ button isn’t going to wipe you or your mistakes from people’s memories.

Do:

Practice transparency

Trust is everything for small business, and one simple way to build trust is to offer transparency to your audience. By offering transparency in your business, you are showing your clients that your business is open, honest and worth trusting.

One study found that 94 percent of consumers are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers transparency. If you are willing to be upfront about your practices, you are that much more likely to gain bought-in, loyal customers. If you can’t offer it, potential customers can all too easily continue their search until they find a company they are happy to place their trust in.

Establish your business’s core values

This is one simple way to show your audience the kinds of things that are important to you as a company. It can also help to make sure your employees are aware of the kind of business you are, and how to act according to the values you establish.

When your employees and your potential clients understand what you stand for, it helps them to decide if you are worth investing time and money in.

Learn from your mistakes, and from the mistakes of others

Accepting feedback and doing something about it is a responsible and professional way to handle your business. Customers will take notice that you care about their experience and are not too proud to learn and grow.

In some cases, making a change after receiving negative feedback will make you and your business look even better than if nothing had been wrong in the first place!

People respect someone who can learn and change, and customers certainly want to feel heard, appreciated and valued. You can also learn from the mistakes of your competitors by seeing where they are falling behind in reviews and focusing on being great in those areas.

Publish valuable content

Content marketing is one of the best ways to add value to your business. By creating content, you are able to share information with your clients and become known as an expert in your field.

When you share quality content, you make it clear that you are knowledgeable, useful and worth following. The things you share are able to help you connect with your audience, establishing a relationship based on trust and familiarity. If you want to be seen and remain relevant, you need to participate in content marketing.

Stay active

Keep in mind that consistency is key when it comes to marketing your business and keeping up with your reputation. Maintain a schedule when it comes to posting content, checking your reviews and responding to your reviews.

Again, this links to trustworthiness. Show your audience that their time matters by showing them consistency and excellence in all you do.


Start building a strong reputation the ethical way by becoming a Top Rated Local® business today. And, learn how Marketing 360® can help you manage your online reputation like a pro.

Originally published 11/18/19

Tips To Fix A Broken Reputation

Why your online reputation matters

It is the hope of any business owner that the business they have invested so much time, energy and funding into will be beloved by all and will be known for its reliability, excellent service and quality products or services.

While it’s great to wish a naturally stellar reputation, it’s entirely likely that some kind of trouble will end up finding you, and when that happens, you’ll want to be prepared to recover your reputation and maintain your status as a business people trust.

Warren Buffett once said,

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

We can’t stress enough how important your online reputation is. More and more, people are turning to the internet to do their research before deciding to give their business to companies. When it comes time for them to look into your business, you want to show them that you have the kind of reputation they can trust.

In today’s digital world, blunders and mishaps don’t often stay quiet for long, and once negativity starts showing up publicly, it often starts to expand and multiply. Whether your reputation has taken a small jab or has been knocked back by a solid blow, you’re going to need to do some reputation repair. When the time comes to manage and fix your online reputation, will you know where to begin?

Know that you are not alone. No business is immune to negative reviews or an eventual screw-up. What’s important is that you care and want to make things right. When the idea of repairing your reputation feels overwhelming, know that you have already made a big step in the right direction by simply making the decision to start!

Take a deep breath, remind yourself that you are not the first or last business owner this will happen to.

5 things you can do to fix a broken reputation

#1. Own your past 

There are few things as powerful as a business willing to admit to its faults and make a sincere apology to those affected by the blunder. When you come off as defensive, defiant or irritated, people rarely see you as in control and trustworthy. They see a business that is more concerned about its pride than its customers.

If the hit to your reputation came in the form of a scathing online review, take a minute to think about both what the customer said and what they felt. Chances are, this customer left your business feeling unheard or dissatisfied for a legitimate reason.

Other customers and potential future customers will be able to read, not only this review, but also the way you respond to it. This is where a little humility and sincerity will give you the chance to look good to your audience.

By acknowledging that this customer’s concerns are heard and worth responding to, you show your audience that you care and that you are paying attention. You don’t even necessarily need to confess to any specific grievances.

By saying something along the lines of, “I apologize that you did not get to experience the incredible customer service we hope to provide to each and every one of our patrons. I want to hear more about this visit, get the opportunity to make this right, and show you the kind of service we strive to provide. Please contact me at ___,” you can show this customer, and all potential customers, that you care and are dedicated to providing outstanding service.

By apologizing and showcasing that you have a plan of action to make things right, you come off as strong, reliable and in control of this situation. 

If there is a specific incident that has come up that is harming your reputation, you want to stay ahead of the curve by owning up to what has happened. Be honest from the start, apologize and reiterate what is important to you or what you will do to make things right.

One example would be, “I want to apologize for ___. This is not the way we hope to conduct our business, and we are sorry for anyone who was affected by these actions. We want to recommit ourselves to providing trustworthy service to our customers, who we value so much. Thank you for sticking with us through this, and know that going forward, we will always do what we can to earn your support and be the kind of company you are proud to do business with.”

Looking at a statement like this, your customers will see integrity, compassion and a commitment to them, instead of being left in the dark wondering if you’ll ever mention the incident in question. Being willing to address the concern, taking ownership of your part in it and recommitting yourself to the values your business stands for gives customers a reason to trust you, which is more important now than ever.  

#2. Strengthen your reputation by creating and sharing engaging content

Content marketing is one very powerful way to promote your business because it connects you with your clients, builds up your relationship and boosts your reputation by establishing you as an authority in your field.

Content marketing can be done through a blog, through videos on YouTube or Facebook, by posting to Instagram, by creating infographics and a whole host of other ways. That’s one of the beautiful things about content marketing; there are so many ways to do it that it really can be customized to your business and its strengths. 

Take something as simple as a blog. Many small businesses have found some level of success by using a blog to answer common questions their customers have.  

If you own a house cleaning company, for example, you may think that there’s no way people would be interested in reading about your business, or that the internet is already full of information about your industry.

But chances are, your customers do come to you for advice, or would benefit from seeing some engaging content about how to maintain their glass top stove between deep cleans.

At the very least, creating and sharing information related to your field will put you a step ahead of your local competitors, which is exactly where you want to be! Regular blogging can help you to establish and build relationships with your customers as well as provide them with helpful content.

Blogging is an easy way to establish yourself as an expert in your field. If you use your blog to address common questions your customers have, you provide them with a valuable tool that also showcases the fact that you are listening to their questions and concerns, and that you have a vested interest in helping them.

The kind of trust you can build by blogging about real questions and concerns, in and of itself, is incredibly valuable. People want to give their business to someone they trust and like, and a blog can not only help with this, but it can also help with keeping your customers engaged and interested in your business, even in times when a bad review or PR nightmare has you feeling down. Basically, a blog can help you establish enough of a baseline rapport with your audience to make it harder for them to turn on you in times of trouble. 

Whether it’s blog posts, Facebook videos or well-timed memes, the content marketing you do will not only help get your audience familiar with you and your business, but it will also count as fresh content, meaning the search engine bots will be more likely to look on your site favorably when it comes time to rank your business. 

#3. Smother the bad

You can’t just ignore or erase your bad press or negative reviews, and even if you could, that’s not a business tactic we recommend. Now, this does not extend to fake reviews, which you will want to discredit or get deleted.

We’re talking about the everyday hits a business can be expected to take. While you want to address negative incidents and reviews, you also want to show people that you have more going for you in the form of authentic, positive feedback.

Take a look at where your reputation stands at present. What do your reviews look like? Do you even have any reviews? Are the ones you do have pretty good, but a year old? 

Now might be a good time to reach out to your customers to tell them how much you would value their feedback and let them know how much it would help your business out.

There’s a right way and wrong way to go about this, so make sure that when you are making a push for positive reviews, you are doing so in a way that is authentic and is not incentivizing people to say nice things about you.

When people are checking out at your store, you can say something as simple as, “Would you please leave us some feedback on our Facebook profile? It would really mean a lot to us.”

You’re not begging, or asking for five stars, you are simply telling your customers that their experience with your business is important to you. 

Ideally, more and more people will start to share their feedback in the form of online reviews, giving you some much-needed content for people to base their opinions of your business on. You can also use positive feedback right on the front page of your website.

If you have had any press about your business, make sure it is featured somewhere on your website. Here at Top Rated Local, every business ranked as one of the top five in its category is recognized with a Top Rated Local awards.

By accepting opportunities like this, those businesses now have a valuable asset in the form of positive press, which they can display in their shops, post about on their social media and link to on their websites.

If your business has had any positive press, like an article about your grand opening or a spotlight for the work you’ve done giving back to the community, be sure to display it where people can easily find it! 

#4. Claim your listings and set up social media profiles

You may not be aware, but your business is already listed on review sites all across the internet, including Google, Yelp and Top Rated Local. If you are ready to start managing your online reputation but have no idea where to start, we recommend getting the ball rolling by first claiming all of your business listings.

Claiming your business online is free, easy and there’s no better way to keep ahead of what people are saying about you online. Claiming your business can help to build trust in the eyes of your potential consumers by legitimizing your business, showing your customers that your business is real and giving you the power to make sure that basic information. like your phone number, address and business name, is updated and correct.

This can be a crucial first step in forming trust with your potential customers. If they google your business and call the phone number that is listed, but that number is disconnected or incorrect, they are likely going to think that your business is either closed or unreliable. Neither option is good for business.

Taking your business’s listing off of these sites is not an option, but you do have the option to take control of those listings and give your website an additional SEO boost. Stop a reputation crisis before it begins by keeping up to date and aware of your online presence.

#5. Make reputation management a part of your business plan

With your claimed business listings, an outpouring of creative and engaging content and a commitment to respond to your reviews in a timely and professional manner, it will soon become apparent that you must dedicate time to managing your online reputation and making that a vital part of the way your business operates.

For some, this means carving out a set time of the day to dedicate towards reputation management. For others, it means hiring a full-time content creator, social media manager or PR person. For even more companies, the time investment it would cost them, or the financial investment it would cost to hire a new employee, has them turning to reputation management companies.

There are many reputation management companies out there, so be sure to do your research, ask around and find one that fits your business’s needs. In any case, don’t leave managing your reputation off your radar until it’s in crisis mode. Recognize the importance of understanding and managing your reputation, and come up with a well-thought-out plan of action for the best way your company can stay on top.


We hope you have been inspired to take charge of your online reputation today. One of the easiest ways to get involved is to claim your profile on Top Rated Local. Check it out, and let us help take the stress out of managing your business’s online presence!

Originally published 12/20/19

The Importance Of Reputation Management For Plumbers

Online reputation is vital to a plumber’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. 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.

Originally published 10/21/19

Shopping Etiquette in a Pandemic

Coronavirus has officially become a global pandemic, but people still need to shop for the necessities.

In a matter of days, life in the United States has become upended, and many of us are adjusting to the realities of this new way of life. However, regardless of how contagious coronavirus may be, people still need to eat, clean, and take care of themselves, and that requires a number of necessities.

Most of us are now working or attending classes from home, but that doesn’t mean that life stops. Shopping is one of those things that people still need to do, and while you may not be shopping for new shoes or a new wardrobe any time soon, you still need the basics.

No one wants to be the reason someone else gets sick, and the fact of the matter is that this new reality means that there are now new rules that need to be observed when you’re out and about.

The Right Way to Shop in a Pandemic

#1. Don’t go out if you’re sick.

The number one rule of coronavirus club is don’t go out if you’re sick. Keep in mind that the virus can affect people differently, and even if you’ve just been sneezing or coughing, you shouldn’t ignore it or chalk it up to an itch in your throat of allergies. If you’re feeling under the weather, and you need groceries or anything else, utilize no-contact delivery or ask a friend or family member to go shopping for you.

#2. Stock up but don’t hoard things.

If you get sick, you should be ready to quarantine yourself for at least 14 days. And, even if you don’t get sick, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends staying home as much as possible and only going out when you need to. That means that many Americans will need to stock up on the essentials, but that doesn’t mean that you should hoard things.

There are a lot of Americans out there struggling to get what they need, and it’s not because there are widespread shortages of food or toilet paper. In fact, there aren’t currently shortages at all, but the fact that some people have decided to hoard things has left a lot of others without. So, be thoughtful and kind and only take what you really need.

#3. Keep your distance.

According to CDC guidelines, people should stay at least six feet away from one another as much as possible. This can be a challenge in a crowded grocery store, but for your safety and the safety of those around you, it’s important to try. Six feet is approximately the distance of two shopping carts, so when you’re out and about, try to keep that distance in mind.

Don’t crowd around others in the aisle. If someone is standing in front of something you want or need, let them grab their purchase and move on before you go other there.

#4. Shop with your eyes instead of your hands.

Some people like to physically touch things before they buy them, and some people like to compare labels before deciding on certain items. These are both perfectly acceptable most of the time, but with this new reality, the less we all touch things, the better off we’ll all be.

Whether you’re trying to find the right pasta for dinner or choosing a tomato, refrain from touching things as much as you can. Instead, shop with your eyes and only pick up when you intend to purchase.

#5. Make a list — and a backup list.

This is not the time to wander listlessly down the aisles looking for something to call to you. If you’re following CDC guidelines, you should be staying home as much as possible and limiting your time out in public. That means that, when you go to the grocery store, you need to be prepared, which means having a list.

Going into the grocery store with a list will help you get in and out as quickly as possible. However, it’s also good to be prepared just in case certain things on your list aren’t in stock. Having a backup list will help you avoid having to make up alternative meal options on the spot.

#6. Bring bags with you.

People have been flooding grocery stores and pharmacies for days, and while there may be plenty of toilet paper and canned goods to go around if people weren’t hoarding them, the one thing that is in short supply are plastic and paper grocery bags. Do yourself a favor and make it a point to bring your own reusable bags with you when you shop.

#7. Be kind!

Social distancing is important for staying healthy and safe, but that doesn’t mean that we have to sacrifice basic human decency. A little kindness always goes a long way, and that’s especially true during these times of uncertainty, so in everything you do, try to be kind to those around you.

Some people who could really use a little extra kindness of the men and women who work in grocery stores and pharmacies throughout the country. The risks that you take by shopping is nothing compared to the risks they take by serving you, so recognize that and show them a little extra kindness and patience, even if lines are long and shelves aren’t as stocked as you’d like them to be.

It’s also important to remember that while you may be healthy enough to get out and go to the grocery store, others may not be so lucky. If you’re heading to the store, ask friends or neighbors who may not be able to go on their own if they need anything, and while you’re out, grab a few extra canned goods to take to your local food bank.


When you’re out and about, keep everyone in mind who’s working hard and putting their health and safety on the line for you. Leave them kind words and encouragement in the form of a review on Top Rated Local®, your go-to local business directory!

How to Stay Safe While Supporting Local Businesses

These days, local businesses need your support more than ever.

Most consumers know that, by supporting local businesses, they’re putting money back into their own community and helping to support their local economy. It’s the reason why so many consumers choose to support local businesses rather than giant corporations or big box stores, even if it means spending more money or sacrificing small conveniences.

If you’re serious about supporting local business, it’s more important than ever before to keep doing so. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are facing the same uncertainty that we all are, and, inevitably, small businesses are hit the hardest in times like these, and they are relying on your support more than ever before.

Don’t get me wrong, supporting local businesses in your community is important, but it’s not more important than your health and safety. Luckily, there are a lot of things you can do to keep supporting small businesses in your community while also protecting your own health.

5 Tips for Staying Safe While Supporting Local Business

#1. Take advantage of delivery or carryout options.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), the best way to avoid getting infected with coronavirus is to limit your exposure to it. That’s why so many people are working from home and taking online classes. But, work and school aren’t the only in-person activities people do each day. People also have to shop, eat, and live their everyday lives, but as much as you can, you should try to do so from home.

One of the best ways to protect yourself and others is to take advantage of delivery and carry-out options as much as you can. If you’re not sure whether or not a local business in your area offers one of these options, make it a point to ask. Businesses are working to stay ahead of the curve, and many of them are newly offering options like these in order to continue supporting their communities.

#2. Keep your distance.

Chances are, a lot of what you want and need will be available through delivery, but sooner or later, you’re probably going to have to get out in the world for one thing or another. But, when you do, it’s important for your own health, and that of others, to make sure that you always keep your distance from others.

When you do need to visit a local business in person, try to go when traffic is lite and the business is less busy. If you’re not sure when that is, you can always call and ask! In addition to avoiding a business’ peak hours, make sure that, when you do visit, you are always mindful about how close you are to others and maintain a distance of at least six feet from those around you.

#3. Stay home if you’re sick.

There’s a lot that we still don’t know about coronavirus, but there are also a few things that we do know, like the most likely way that it spreads. Although the virus can survive for a period on surfaces, and transmission can happen before symptoms even appear, for the most part, coronavirus is spread from person to person through respiratory droplets.

While supporting local business is important, it’s not more important than your health or anyone else’s, and since coronavirus is most effectively spread from people who are already sick and showing symptoms, it’s not a bad idea to play it safe by staying home when you’re sick (even if your symptoms don’t fit coronavirus).

Coronavirus is extremely contagious and isolating yourself when you’re sick is an important part of getting better, but it’s also an essential part of keeping others safe who may have underlying conditions that make the virus more dangerous. Do your part!

#4. Cover sneezes and coughs properly.

Not all coughs and sneezes have to do with coronavirus. You may just have allergies or a tickle in your throat, but if you’re out and about when that happens, it’s important to take proper precautions just in case. The truth is that coronavirus affects people very differently. Some people get very sick while others will experience a minor cold or might possibly display no symptoms at all, which is why it’s important to always be cautious.

Any time you do cough or sneeze when you’re out and about, don’t do it in the open or in your hand, do it in your elbow. This is the best way to avoid the needless spread of germs. And, afterward, make sure that you thoroughly wash and sanitize your hands.

#5. Make sure that you properly disinfect your home.

If you are taking advantage of delivery services, or you’re working with a local contractor in your home, like a plumber or a roofing contractor, it’s important to be mindful of the risks they’re taking in order to work with you. That means that you should make it a point to properly disinfect your home before you invite any contractors in.

According to the CDC, most of the EPA-approved disinfectants out there will work to kill coronavirus, and they advise using the appropriate disinfectant for the surface you’re cleaning. If you’re using bleach, use a quart of water for every four teaspoons, or mix five tablespoons of bleach for every gallon of water. If you’re using isopropyl alcohol to disinfect, make sure it’s at least 70 percent alcohol.

Stay safe while supporting local businesses in your community.

Protecting yourself in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t have to mean abandoning your support of local businesses. There are lots of things you can do to show your support while staying safe, and I hope that this article will help.

Whether you’re looking for a local plumber or a local grocery store, Top Rated Local® is your go-to small business directory. Start your local business search here, and read reviews from across the web.

Your Spring Cleaning Checklist

Spring is the perfect time to deep clean your home.

We’ve almost made it. We’re only a few short weeks away from the first official day of spring, but in many places throughout the country, it’s already very much in the air.

For many Americans, winter means a lot of time spent in the house, which means it’s not uncommon for our homes to get a little dirtier than they normally would. Furthermore, the short winter days sap a lot of our motivation to do those deep cleaning tasks that are necessary every so often.

The spring is the perfect time to refresh your home after a long, cold winter, and with longer, sunnier days, you’ll have the energy to tackle many of the tasks that seldom make it on your weekly to-do list.

Your 2020 Spring Cleaning Checklist

Throughout the Home

  • Vacuum and deep clean the carpeting or sweep and map the hard-surface flooring.
  • Beat and clean any rugs.
  • Dust and wash the baseboards.
  • Wash the walls.
  • Dust the blinds and/or wash the drapes.
  • Clean the windows and wash the screens.
  • Dust all surfaces, including overhead light fixtures and the tops of picture frames.
  • Vacuum out vents and dust vent covers.
  • Clean out the window sills.
  • Replace the batteries in all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
  • Replace any damaged or old extension cords or surge protectors.
  • Replace any lightbulbs that have burnt out.
  • Throw or give away anything you no longer want or need.
  • Check the expiration dates on any fire extinguishers and replace them when necessary.
  • Fill in any holes in the wall (like if you’ve moved a piece of art on the wall, for example), and touch up any necessary spots on the wall with paint.

As you can see, there are many tasks you’ll need to complete throughout every area of your home, but the most overlooked, by far, is the baseboards. Baseboards are frequently overlooked, and they can look grimy when left too long. Cleaning them will make a huge difference in how your home looks and feels.

The Kitchen

  • Clean out any expired food in your refrigerator, and, if necessary, reorganize it.
  • Remove the dust on the refrigerator coils.
  • Wash the inside and outside of the refrigerator, making sure to remove and clean the crisper drawers.
  • Clean the oven.
  • Clean the floor and wall behind the oven, refrigerator, and trash can.
  • Wash the cabinets inside and out.
  • Clean out any expired food in your pantry, and, if necessary, reorganize it.
  • Wash the shelves in the pantry.
  • Scrub the counters, the backsplash behind the stove, and the hood.
  • Clean the inside and outside of the dishwasher.

If you have a self-cleaning oven, there are some steps you’ll need to take before you turn it on, including removing any racks or liners inside and thoroughly reading the manual and following the instructions.

Bathroom

  • Clean out any expired or unnecessary (like leftover medication from old prescriptions) medication from the medicine cabinet, and, if necessary, reorganize it.
  • Wash the mirror, including the frame.
  • Clean out any unused or empty shampoo, conditioner, or body wash bottles, as well as any old cans of shaving cream or old razors.
  • Wash out the bathtub and the shower.
  • Recaulk the bathtub if necessary.
  • Clean the toilet inside and out, as well as the surrounding floor and wall.
  • Wash or replace the shower liner and shower mat.
  • Wash the shower curtain.
  • If applicable, clean makeup brushes.
  • Update and replenish the first-aid kit.
  • Wash bathroom mats.

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think about cleaning your shower curtains all that often, but it’s definitely something that should be done every once in a while. Depending on the fabric of your shower curtains, you might be able to wash them in the washing machine, or you may need to hand wash them.

Living Room

  • Vacuum and clean the upholstery.
  • If you have leather furniture, clean and condition it.
  • Reorganize and clean any storage cabinets you have, like bookshelves or a cabinet for video games or movies.
  • Dust and clean all furniture, and polish all wood furniture.
  • Move furniture so that you can thoroughly clean the floor underneath.
  • Wash all blankets and/or pillowcases.
  • If necessary, reorganize the cords of your electronic devices.

Cleaning the fabric and leather furniture in your living room will make a huge difference in how it looks and feels. If you’re aiming for something new in your living room, consider rearranging your furniture.

Bedrooms

  • Clean all bedding, including the mattress cover, blankets, and throw pillows.
  • Spot clean and flip the mattress. If you have a pillowtop mattress, rotate it.
  • Clean out winter clothing to put in storage.
  • Go through the closet and get rid of anything you no longer wear, and, if applicable, reorganize your clothes and shoes.

By cleaning out any clothes or shoes you don’t wear and reorganizing your closet and drawers, you’ll make what you do wear easy to find. Plus, your room will look less cluttered.

Outdoors

  • Thoroughly sweep and clean the porch, desk, and sidewalk.
  • Clean out the grill.
  • Remove any leaves that are leftover from the fall.
  • Clean out the gutters.
  • Replace any burnt-out lightbulbs.
  • Wash the siding.
  • Trim any out-of-control bushes or vines.

Tasks, like gutter cleaning, are not only essential for making your home look great, but also ensuring that water can run off of your roof. This will help you avoid roof leaks in the future.

Spring cleaning is a lot of work. Find the help you need with Top Rated Local®.

If this list seems long, that’s because it is. There’s no doubt about it, spring cleaning is a lot of work, and it is going to take a considerable amount of time and energy on your part to get it all done. If you’d rather spend your spring outside riding your bicycle or enjoying a cold one on a patio somewhere, I don’t blame you. Luckily, there are plenty of incredible local businesses near you that are ready to help.

Whether you’re looking for a house cleaning company, a painter, a window cleaner, a carpet cleaner, or a roofer, start your local business search with Top Rated Local. When you search with us, you can read a business’ reviews across all verified sites from just one place!

Find your spring cleaning help with Top Rated Local today!

Make the Most of Leap Day!

Leap Days only happen once every four years!

Most years have 365 days in them, but once every four years, there’s a magical 366th day. This day, my friends, is called Leap Day, and it’s necessary for keeping our calendars in sync with the seasons.

February 29th isn’t just a day that keeps our calendars and seasons in line; it’s an extra day that won’t come around again for four more years. What better time to seize the day than on a day that only comes around once every four years?

Seizing the day isn’t just about expressing your undying love to someone new or facing your biggest fear; there are lots of ways that you can seize this February 29th and make the most out of it.

A Few Ideas to Help You Make the Most of Leap Day

#1. Pamper yourself.

If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably more than a little busy. For most people, weekdays are full of work and the day to day of life, like cooking dinner, taking the dog for a walk, doing the dishes, etc., and weekends are a time to catch up with friends and spend quality time with family. That, unfortunately, leaves very little me-time leftover.

Take advantage of the extra day this year by pampering yourself just a little. For some people, that might mean going to a local nail salon, hair salon, or barbershop. For others, it might mean getting a massage or taking a yoga class. Whatever pampering means to you, the 29th of February is the perfect day to do it.

#2. Share a meal with a friend.

Remember back when you were in high school or college, and you would see your friends almost daily? Sadly, adulthood — and the responsibilities that come with it — makes it challenging for most people to maintain these kinds of friendships. Heck, most of us are so busy that, unless we put it into the Google Calendar, scheduling time to catch up with friends is nearly impossible.

Leap Day is an extra day, though, which makes it a perfectly reasonable day to blow off a few of your adult responsibilities and spend some time catching up with a friend over a delicious meal at a local restaurant.

#3. Learn something new.

Learning and growing are essential parts of a full life. They keep us evolving and changing as life does. Continually learning is also good for our health and wellness; it reduces stress levels, delays symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and improves memory. But, too often, we get so caught up in our busy schedules that we just don’t have time to sit down and learn something new.

Take advantage of the extra day this year by taking some time to learn something new that interests you. That might mean taking a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class at your local martial arts center, taking a class on how to create flower arrangements at your local flower shop, or buying a book on a topic you’ve always wondered about at your local book store.

#4. Book a trip.

Few things in life are quite as magical as stepping foot for the first time somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. They say the secret to happiness is spending your money not on filling your home with material goods but on experiences. There are, of course, a lot of unbeatable experiences to be at close to home, but if you’ve always dreamed of going somewhere, near or far, Leap Day is the perfect day to seize the opportunity and finally book your ticket.

Whether you want to travel across the world or across your state, you want to get the best deal on your trip. Working with a local travel agent can be a great option when you want the very best deals. A travel agent can also give you guidance on attractions and tours to take advantage of, where to stay, how to get around, etc.

#5. Treat yourself.

As I’ve established time and time again in this blog, most people are busy. And, while we all need new clothes, shoes, etc. every once in a while, shopping isn’t what it used to be. In yesteryear, when people went shopping, they’d walk around, browsing, and getting out in their community! These days, people just search for exactly what they want online, and that can take the pleasure out of the experience for a lot of people.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to shop online, and it’s often necessary when life gets too busy. But, there’s also something perusing a local boutique or retail store. You get to touch and feel things and try them on! Besides, when was the last time you bought something for yourself? I can’t think of a better day to treat yourself than Leap Day.

#6. Go to the movies.

The end of February is almost here, which means that another Oscars night has come and gone, when I recognized maybe two films that were nominated or received awards. Does this sound familiar to you? Most Americans like going to the movies and would see a lot more of them if they had the time, but having the time is where most Americans run into problems.

Leap Day is a great day to take a couple of hours off of your regularly scheduled life and catch up on a movie you’ve been dying to see. Besides, where else can you get popcorn that’s even remotely in the same league as the popcorn your local movie theater offers?

Make the most of Leap Day with Top Rated Local®.

It’s a day that only happens once a year, so go ahead, take advantage of it and seize the day! Whether your plan is to get your nails done or take a Taekwondo class, turn to Top Rated Local to help you find the right local business for your needs. We can help you find restaurants, movie theaters, beauty salons, nail salons, martial arts centers, travel agents, and more! You can also read reviews and compare local businesses.

Starting Your Year Off On The Right Foot

Claim your business listings

Claiming your business listings online is going to be step one of your New Year’s Resolution to have a stronger online reputation. Many people overlook this vital task because they don’t realize how important having a claimed business really is.

When you claim your business, you are showing your customers, current and future, that yours is a reliable and authentic business. The fact of the matter is, more and more customers are searching for local businesses online, and ranking ahead of your competition is very likely going to be what makes or breaks their decision to choose your business over any other.

Think about it, when a customer is going online to search for a business, but ends up finding an unclaimed business profile with inaccurate information, like their phone number, address, or business hours, they’re not likely going to trust that business with their time or money. Claiming your business and making sure your information is accurate and up to date is really simple considering how important an outcome doing so has. In fact, according to research done by Google, three out of four shoppers who find local information in search results to be helpful are more likely to visit stores in person. Thankfully, claiming your business listing is also usually free.

Claiming your business listings doesn’t only show your potential customers that you are a reliable business, it also gives search engines a reason to trust you and give you a better ranking. Search engines look for and promote legitimacy. By claiming your business, you not only show search engines that you are legitimate, but you also help boost your SEO (search engine optimization) and the likelihood of your business being seen more frequently. By claiming your business on verified sites, you improve your chances of increasing traffic to your website by making it more accessible and easy to find.

Claiming your business profiles should be one of the small business basics, and since claiming your businesses is such a simple way to get the attention of customers and search engines, it’s surprising that more small businesses don’t prioritize the practice, but that just means that a business that does claim its listings is going to stand out among the crowd.

Build Your Online Presence

When you search for your business on Google, take notice of what comes up. How does your website look? Are there reviews for your business? What kinds of photos are there? Is your website mobile-friendly? What about social media? Which social media profiles are your target audience likely active on? Are you easy to find there? Making it simple for your target audience to connect with you makes your business appear accessible and personal, which is important when it comes to building trust and showing your customers that you are reliable.

Your potential customers need to be able to find you, and when they do, you want them to be impressed by what they see. Start by investing in an awesome website. Your website will be many customers’ first impression of you, and no matter what business you are in, you will find that an eye-catching and professional website will be beneficial to your business.

Even a company that has traditionally operated by word of mouth, like tree removal or lawn care, can benefit from having a nice, up-to-date website. Your website can tell your customers your story, humanizing your business; it can showcase some of your favorite reviews, giving customers a reason to trust you, and it can give your customers the basic information they need, like your address, hours, phone number, and pricing options.

Too often, businesses that have gotten by thanks to word of mouth have lost out on potential new customers because so many people are turning to the internet to find new local services. In fact, the number of local searches is on the rise, with 46 percent of all Google searches being people who are looking for local information and 82 percent of smartphone shoppers using the phrase ‘near me’ in their searches, a number that has increased 900 percent in the last two years.

You need more than to simply be present; you need also be active in order to have a strong online presence. That means updating your website and social media pages with new photos, current reviews, blog posts, and updates. Always respond to your reviews, both positive and negative, in order to show your customers that you care about their experience with your business.

Ask for reviews

Just like having a great website, having a handful of reviews on verified websites is crucial to the overall success of your business. Reviews are a vital tool when it comes to generating trust and increasing your overall sales.

Nowadays, almost everyone is turning to the internet to do their research before making their purchasing decisions. Customers can turn to websites, like Google, Bing, Facebook, and Top Rated Local, to read about the experiences of past customers. While each of these sites has its own way of collecting and prioritizing reviews, reviews left on any of them will count as fresh content in SEO algorithms. Reviews will end up helping your business ranking by improving your overall SEO since fresh reviews count as fresh content, which search engines tend to like.

In addition to helping out with your SEO, reviews can also help you to connect with your customers. Your customers will naturally have some feedback for you, and their feedback is undoubtedly going to be incredibly valuable to you and your business, whether it is positive or negative. Positive reviews offer a great incentive for others to trust you with their business, and negative reviews offer you some insight into where your business might be slacking. Negative reviews also give you a chance to show others how you would like your business to be seen. For example, if you receive a negative review, you can respond to it, showcasing your responsiveness as well as your willingness to receive feedback. In your response, you can highlight some of the things you hope your business will be known for, like:

“We’re very sorry you did not get a chance to experience the outstanding customer service we hope to provide to every person who visits us…”

Customers like to see that someone will be attentive to their needs if anything goes wrong, and the fact of the matter is, they are more likley to trust a business that has had a few things go wrong. When they see only five-star ratings, they start to become suspicious that the feedback may not be authentic. A sprinkling of less-than-perfect reviews with well-worded and thoughtful responses is more likely to inspire trust in potential customers than a hundred bland five-star reviews.

Knowing how important it is to have online reviews, you should also know that there is absolutely no shame in asking for them! Chances are, you really do value and appreciate honest feedback, and there is no reason not to say so to your customers. As long as you are not paying for or somehow incentivizing people to leave you feedback, you can be confident that you are acting ethically in your request for reviews.

Revamp your customer service policies

Now is a better time than ever to make sure your employees are all on the same page when it comes to the kind of customer service your business offers. Establishing some customer service basics, a set of values, and even an overall business mission can unite your staff and help to set the baseline for how to behave with the customers.

Having a solid foundation in excellent customer service is a surefire way to gain the kinds of reviews that will instill some trust in your business.

Your customer service skills need to extend into your online presence as well. If you have multiple employees responding to reviews, posting to your social media pages, and interacting with your customers online, you need to have a unified voice that you feel best represents your company. It might be beneficial to start out by having a few templates for responding to customer concerns or negative reviews.

Consider Getting Outside Help for Online Reputation Management

Taking on the responsibility of managing your online reputation may seem daunting and could take more time than you have to invest into it. For many companies, the role of online reputation management is a full-time job. While most small businesses don’t necessarily have the budget to hire a full-time staff member to perform these duties, many are turning to reputation management companies.

If outsourcing your reputation management is something that appeals to you, make sure you do your research and find a company that feels like a good fit and can perform the job you want done. If you are interested in learning more about reputation management and its benefits, check out Top Rated Local, today!

Basic Reputation Management for Limousine Companies

Figure out who you are and what you want to be known for

For many people, the choice to hire a limousine service means that they are looking for a service to help them add to or complete a specific kind of experience. It’s important for you to figure out what kind of

customer you are hoping to attract because these customers likely have the bar set pretty high in their minds. Are you the endlessly fun party bus company? Are you the luxury line, ready to whisk people away to their formal events? Or are you an airport staple, offering safety and ease with a touch of class and sophistication?

Whether your company offers one or all of these services, it is important for you to know which you are, which customer you want to attract, and how to show the world exactly what kind of experience it is you have to offer them. Before you even start to navigate the world that is your online reputation, you first need to figure out these basics about your company.

Once you have established who you are and what you offer, think about what your service basics include. It could help to establish a mission statement for your business. This gives you and your employees a guideline for the kind of service your customers should be expecting from you. It also gives you and your employees a common goal and a baseline understanding of what is required from you.

When you have this foundation firmly planted under you and your business, you can start to look at your online reputation with a bit more confidence about what it is you are working towards.

You need to have a great website

Your website is almost always going to be your customer’s first impression of you. More than ever, people are turning to Google to search for local products and services. When they click on your page, you want to not only impress them, but also give them all the information they need to feel confident in choosing you over any other business. Having a professional and informative website is a must.

One way to stand out to potential clients would be to make sure your website’s homepage includes a widget that showcases stellar reviews previous customers have left for you. Customers trust other customers, and nowadays, reviews are worth their weight in gold since the majority of people trust online reviews as much as they do a word-of-mouth referral from a friend or family member.

Another website must-have is a gallery of high-quality photos of your fleet of vehicles. People want to know what they are getting when they are dishing out money for a service, and having excellent photos, a 3-D tour of your cars, or a few action shots of your cars will act as a valuable form of marketing for your business, even if they are only posted on your own website. At the end of the day, your website is there to reassure people that you are the best choice, and they won’t feel certain about that until you give them a reason to trust you. Having high-quality photos of the car they would be paying for is one crucial way to build that necessary trust.

Having profiles of your drivers, complete with headshots and a few quotes from positive reviews, would be one simple way to make your website, and business, stand head and shoulders above the competition. Including a page like this builds familiarity and trust with your brand. People are essentially trusting your employees and your company with their lives and are often hiring a limousine service for an event that is really important to them. You need to do everything you can to show them that you are worth putting that must trust in.

Don’t skip out on social media

No matter what your personal feelings are about social media, it could be a crucial asset to the growth of your business. Social media can give you a valuable tool for connecting with your customers, past, present, and future, and apart from the time investment it takes to manage your profiles, it’s generally a free service.

Think of social media as a collaborative extension of your website. With it, you can establish an easily accessible representation of your company and the kind of service it has to offer. Connecting with your customers on social media is simple, and many may already be looking for the opportunity to follow you! Social media makes it easy to post photos, establish your voice, spread the word about promotions, and interact with your audience. With a well-managed social media profile, you can even turn your customers into your own best spokespeople by having them tag you in their photos and share your profile with friends!

Reviews are vital to your success

The cornerstone of your online reputation depends on the reviews your customers leave for you. More and more people are sharing their opinions and experiences online, whether they are prompted to or not. The fact of the matter is, you have an online reputation, whether you know about it or not, so, we suggest taking charge of it and using it to help promote your business. Good reviews are no longer simply a nicety; they are a necessity.

When you are ready to explore and manage your online reputation, we suggest getting started by claiming your business profiles. Claiming your business can help to build trust in the eyes of your potential customers by legitimizing your business, showing your customers that your business is real, and by giving you the power to make sure that basic information, like your phone number, address, and business name, is updated and correct. This can be a crucial first step in forming trust with your potential customers. If they google your business and call the phone number that is listed, but that number is disconnected or incorrect, they are likely going to think that your business is either closed or unreliable, and both of those options are no good for business, especially for a limousine service, where reliability is a vital trait your customers are looking for.

When your business has online reviews, good and bad, it appears to be more authentic and trustworthy than a business that has no reviews at all. When a business has no reviews at all, people will question whether or not the business is even operational! It is more important than ever to ask every one of your customers to provide their feedback. Good reviews are as good as a referral, and bad reviews give you the opportunity to make things right and show your audience that you genuinely care about the customer experience. We highly recommend responding to all reviews, positive and negative, because doing so shows your audience that you are present and that you care about what they have to say.

Reviews do even more than provide you feedback and provide potential customers with a snapshot of your business; they also help your search rankings! Reviews act as new content, which search engines love. Websites with consistently fresh content are favored by search engine algorithms, meaning that the more fresh and relevant content that is connected to your business, the better for your rankings.


We hope that these tips have been helpful to you and your business. If you are feeling ready to tackle your online reputation, we recommend getting started by claiming your business on Top Rated Local today!