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.

The Advantages of Using Top Rated Local® for Consumers

Find a better way to look for local businesses near you with Top Rated Local®.

Top Rated Local is not your typical review site.

These days, when most consumers need a plumber or are looking for a great place to eat, they typically look online rather than asking for recommendations from friends or family. However, the last thing you want to do is to put your trust in the wrong business, and the only way to gain any kind of understanding into what working with a business is like is to read their online reviews, and it’s for that reason that reviews can make or break a business’ success.

No one wants to hire a roofer, only to find out they like to scam their customers, or a home contractor that always shows up late or blows up the budget. You want to know that you’re hiring or frequenting a business that provides great service and ensures that you’ll get what you pay for, and reading reviews is one of the best ways to do that. However, not all review sites are created equally.

Here at Top Rated Local, we’re proud to say that we’re not your typical review site. Built on five pillars of the customer experience — quality, value, timeliness, experience and satisfaction — Top Rated Local was built to provide a better, more effective solution to both consumers and businesses alike. It’s a place where consumers have access to a straightforward feedback system that gets to the bottom of their experience and helps them gain a better understanding of the overall customer experience.

Five Advantages of Top Rated Local for Consumers

#1. Gain an understanding of a business’ overall reputation.

It’s not always easy to tell what kind of business you’re considering working with if you look at the reviews from just one website. There are a variety of different review sites, and a single business could have a wildly different reputation on each one. For example, the same business that has an “A” on Angie’s list might also have a one- or two-star review average on Yelp, so if you rely solely on either one, you won’t get a full picture of what working with the business is really like.

Top Rated Local provides consumers with an easier way to tell what kind of business they are potentially working with by aggregating their ratings across a variety of trusted review sites to calculate the overall Rating Score™ for the business. The number of reviews, the average star rating, how recent the reviews are and the number of review sources are all taken into consideration when calculating a business’ Rating Score.

With Top Rated Local Rating Scores, you no longer have to scour the internet in search of reviews from multiple platforms. Plus, Top Rated Local lists other review platforms, so if you’d prefer to read reviews instead of relying on a business’ Rating Score, every platform a business is listed on will be at your fingertips and easy to access.

#2. Top Rated Local isn’t pay to play.

Did you know that a lot of the most popular review sites out there rank businesses hire based on the plan they purchase rather than their actual reviews? That’s right, if a company has money, they have to rely less on providing great service and a quality product, because a lot of review sites will rank businesses higher in their search results merely for spending money with them. These “pay-to-play” types of review sites aren’t helpful to either consumers or businesses.

Luckily, as we’ve mentioned, Top Rated Local isn’t your average review site, and it isn’t pay to play. While we do have different plans that businesses can choose from — yes, some of them are paid — Top Rated Local doesn’t attempt to skewer the results for its paying customers. Instead, paying customers enjoy other benefits, like the ability to mark reviews as verified, promote special offers and enhance their listing.

Not only does this ensure that the businesses that offer the best service get the biggest benefit — rather than the businesses with the largest bank accounts — but it also ensures that consumers have better, more accurate information to work with when they’re doing research on which company to choose.

#3. Get to the bottom of the issue with more valuable reviews.

Reviews are wonderful, and oftentimes, reading reviews is the only way to get to know a business and what kind of service they provide before taking the leap and signing a contract. However, not every review is made equal, and a lot of times, reading reviews can actually confuse the issues rather than making it clearer.

The reason why reading reviews can muddy the waters is that they are often subjective and overly personal. Here’s are a couple of examples:

  • You went out to eat after your new fiance proposed to you, and you’re on top of the moon. Even though the food was late and a little cold, you’re so ecstatic about your future nuptials that you can’t see a single problem through your rose-colored glasses, and so you write a glowing five-star review.
  • You went out to eat on a crowded Saturday night, and you’re already feeling annoyed, because there was an accident on your way there and you sat in traffic for 45 minutes. By the time you sit down, you’re more than a little hangry and nothing seems to be going your way. And even though the restaurant did everything in their power to meet your needs and make you happy, you’re not having it, and so you write a one-star review.

As you can see, our personal lives can easily bleed into the reviews we write, which is why Top Rated Local developed the five pillars of the customer experience — quality, value, timeliness, experience and satisfaction, giving consumers a better idea of what it’s really like to work with the business in question.

#4. Gain more confidence when making decisions online.

Whether you’re purchasing the perfect ring for your special someone or scheduling an appointment for carpet cleaning, doing so online always comes with some level of risk. When you can’t be there in person to determine what kind of business you’re considering working with, you rely on people online to write reviews to guide you.

As we mentioned in our last point, reviews are incredibly subjective, and while they can certainly make you feel more confident when making purchasing decisions or decisions to hire a company, they can often end up leaving you more confused.

With Top Rated Local’s one-of-a-kind Rating Score™ and the five pillars of the customer experience, you’ll have the information you need to make decisions that are much more informed. When you use Top Rated Local to find the right local businesses for your needs, you can be more confident that you’re making the right decisions for your needs and your bank account.

#5. Write better, more effective reviews for the businesses you work with.

Writing reviews is one of the best ways to support the local businesses you frequent — apart from financially supporting them by giving them your business of course. When you write reviews, you can also help other consumers make wise decisions about which companies to work with and which products to purchase. However, as we talked about in our previous point, there are some reviews that are more helpful than others.

If you want to write reviews that can help other consumers like you make the right decisions for their needs, let Top Rated Local guide you. Using the five pillars of the customer experience, you’ll rate the business based on specific criteria rather than just writing a few sentences in a comment. Of course, you’ll also be able to comment, but those pillars will help to guide you toward writing more effective, better reviews.

Would you like to learn more about how to write more effective reviews? You’re in luck because In a previous blog — How to Write Helpful Customer Reviews — we touched on a few tips to help you write reviews other consumers can really use and learn from.


Start experiencing the benefits of Top Rated Local for yourself!

When you haven’t had a chance to work with a business yet, and you don’t know anyone else who has, either, reading their reviews and learning about their online reputation are often your only course of action in determining what kind of business it is. There are a lot of variables that can make even reading online reviews murkier than you might think, and if you’re looking for a better option for making decisions online, look no further than Top Rated Local!

Whether you’re looking for an interior designer to help you bring life to your home or office, or you’re in need of restoration services to help you recover after a flood, turn to Top Rated Local to help you find the right company to work with for your needs. Start searching for local businesses near you with Top Rated Local today!

The Advantages of Using Top Rated Local® for Businesses

Find a better way to manage your business’ online reputation with Top Rated Local®.

Top Rated Local is not your average review site.

A business’ online reputation is everything these days. That’s because consumers regularly do research online when they’re looking for a specific product or service, and as Millennials and Generation Z start becoming a bigger and bigger slice of the consumer population, more and more people will rely on reviews when making purchasing decisions.

Reviews are a huge part of your business’ overall online reputation. Not only do they say a lot about your business, but they affect where your website ranks in search results. Reviews can literally make your website more visible, and that means that the success of your business relies heavily on your ability to generate reviews and manage them, and that’s where Top Rated Local comes in.

We’re proud to say that Top Rated Local is not your typical review site. Top Rated Local is built on the five pillars of the customer experience, and it was created to empower consumers and businesses alike by capturing a business’ overall experience in a way that’s unlike anything else you’ll find out there. And today, we’re going to go over the advantages of using Top Rated Local for both consumers and businesses.

Five Advantages of Top Rated Local for Businesses

#1. Get a good idea of your business’ overall reputation.

There are numerous review platforms out there, from Angie’s List and Yelp to Google and even Facebook. Having a profile — and actively monitoring it — on each of these platforms is essential to maintaining a strong overall online reputation, but it can be a lot of work to constantly check up on each one of these platforms to find out if you have a new review to respond to and to figure out where your business stands.

If only there was a way to get a good idea of your business’ overall reputation without having to check a dozen different websites. Luckily, with Top Rated Local, there is!

One of the biggest benefits of using Top Rated Local is that your Rating Score™ captures the overall customer experience — not just your ratings on Top Rated Local. Your business’ Rating
Score is determined by aggregating all of the reviews on verified review sites. From there, a proprietary algorithm analyzes your business’ overall rating based on the number of reviews you have, the number of verified sites your business is listed on, the average rating of your reviews and more.

#2. You don’t have to pay to play.

A lot of review sites out there are free to get signed up on but offer paid plans in exchange for higher placement in their search results. So, for example, if a consumer is searching for a plumber on one of these sites, they aren’t necessarily getting results based on a company’s reviews or online reputation. Instead, they’re getting results based on how much a company is willing to pay.

Running a small business these days can be tough, and making a small business successful and profitable can be even more difficult. This can make it difficult for small businesses to compete with bigger, more profitable companies on these pay-to-play review sites.

Top Rated Local does offer a variety of different plans, starting with a free option, but signing up for a paid account does not mean that your business will show up at the top of the search results (though there are a number of incredible benefits). The order in which businesses are presented in the search results on Top Rated Local is based on their Rating Score — not on how much money a business is spending with Top Rated Local. That gives small businesses and even playing field to compete in, and it ensures that consumers are getting suggestions based on a business’ reputation instead of how much money they are willing to spend.

#3. Get notified when you receive reviews.

Responding to your reviews is absolutely essential to the success of your business, and that’s true regardless of whether the review in question is positive or negative. Responding to reviews demonstrates to both your existing customers and potential customers that, if they take the time to write a review for you, you care enough to take the time to respond to it and to address any concerns that they brought up. And when it comes to negative or one-star reviews, responding to your reviews will allow you to share your side of the story.

Even if you get occasional reviews that are fake or written by one of your competitors hoping to undermine your success, crafting a response can help to make things right. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to get a review deleted — even if you can prove that it’s fake — and responding is often your only course of action to let the world know that the review isn’t authentic.

In addition to making sure that you respond to every review, you should make it a point to do so promptly. In fact, most consumers expect you to respond within a reasonable timeframe — 72 to hours or so. Plus, if you respond to a review fast enough, your chances of a customer changing a one-star review to a three- or four-star review are greatly increased. That’s right, responding quickly enough may even eliminate an unsightly one-star review that could hurt or diminish your business’ online reputation!

#4. Display the Top Rated Local trust badge on your website.

These days, trust is everything, and it’s imperative to earn the trust of consumers if you want your business to be a success. When someone comes across your business online, the only thing they have to help them determine how much to trust you is your word — and your business’ reviews! — and you need to give people a good reason to choose you rather than turning to the next business on the list.

When you sign up to become a Top Rated Local business, you’ll have the ability to display the Top Rated Local trust badge on your website and any other marketing assets you wish. When people see that Top Rated Local badge, it helps to build trust and gives them a reason to choose your business over your competition.

#5. Embed reviews on your website.

As we mentioned in our last point, establishing trust right away is a huge part of any business’ success in this day and age, and customer reviews are a huge part of that. Let’s face it, every window cleaner, plumber, home contractor and electrician out there claims to be the best at what they do. They all claim to have experience, value integrity and put their customers first, but the reality is that not all of these businesses can be the best, and not all of them can be trusted.

What a company says about itself is important, but it doesn’t compare to what a company’s customers say about it. When your customers go on and on about how great it is to work with your company, it says a lot and helps to give potential customers more confidence in working with you.

Displaying reviews on your website is a great way to add trust and give people a reason to work with you, and when you become a Top Rated Local business, displaying those reviews is easier than ever. With Top Rated Local, you can add a widget to your website that will display your reviews directly on your site. That means that consumers don’t have to go look for your Yelp or see what customers are saying on Facebook. All they have to do is go to your website, and they can see your reviews!

Enjoy the benefits of utilizing a different kind of review platform.

Reputation management should be a focus of every business, and that’s true regardless of what size your business is or what industry you work in. Luckily, with the help of Top Rated Local, you’ll have everything you need to maintain your business in one convenient place. And the best part is that you get it all at no cost to you with our “Free Forever” plan!

Want to get even more out of Top Rated Local? Compare our plans to learn about the benefits you can get by upgrading to Premium or Premium Plus, like the ability to promote special offers, mark reviews as verified or private and send re-rate requests. Learn more about our plans and become a Top Rated Local business today!

The benefits of using Top Rated Local aren’t limited to businesses; using Top Rated Local is beneficial for consumers as well. Would you like to learn about the many benefits of looking for local businesses near you using Top Rated Local? If so, be sure to stay tuned for our next blog — The Advantages of Using Top Rated Local for Consumers.

Arizona’s Top Rated Local® Businesses: 2019

Home to 13 species of rattlesnake and the saguaro cactus, Arizona is much, much more than just a vast desert. It’s also home to fabulous small and medium-sized local businesses. That’s what makes us so excited to announce the Top Rated Local® award winners in Arizona for 2019!

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.

The employees and owners of these businesses have worked hard to stand out from the crowd and serve their communities well, and that’s paying off tenfold. With nearly 397,000 small businesses in Arizona, they’ve beat out stiff competition. These award-winning businesses have earned an average Rating Score™ of 98.17 and an average rating of 4.91 on verified review sites.

We’d like to give a special shoutout to the number one business in Arizona for 2019, Ironwood Dermatology. They’ve earned a perfect 100.00 Rating Score and a 4.98 average star rating by serving their clients well.

Congratulations to all of these stellar businesses on your 2019 Top Rated Local awards!

Florida’s Top Rated Local® Businesses: 2019

The sunshine state is so much more than just oranges, beaches, and theme parks. It’s home to more than 21 million people and all of the businesses that help them to lead happy, healthy, safe and productive lives. We are ecstatic to announce the best of the best, our 2019 Top Rated Local® award winners in the state of Florida!

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.

The owners and employees of these Florida businesses have worked tirelessly to prove themselves as the best at what they do. With more than 2.5 million small businesses in the state, the competition is certainly tough, which speaks to the high standard to which our award winners hold themselves. Our Florida award winners have an impressive average Rating Score™ of 98.65 and an average rating on verified review sites of 4.92.

The number one business in Florida is White Orchid spa, with a perfect 100.00 Rating Score and an average rating on verified sites of 4.97 stars. They’ve worked hard to pamper Florida residents and now, they get to enjoy the fruits of their labor!

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

The Benefits of Becoming a Top Rated Local® Business

These days, there’s almost nothing more important than a business’ online reputation, and when you want to take your online reputation seriously, there’s no better way to do so than by becoming a Top Rated Local® business in your area!

Becoming a Top Rated Local business is a no-brainer!

With 97 percent of people reading reviews for local businesses, you can’t just ignore your business’ online reputation or hope that no one notices. In this day and age, a business’ online reputation is its bread and butter, and if yours isn’t where you want it to be, it could be hurting you more than you know. However, managing your business’ online reputation is easier said than done.

Managing your business’ online reputation can be tricky, and it takes a lot more involvement than many business owners realize. But with the right tools, managing your business’ online reputation doesn’t have to be a challenge — though, fair warning, it will still take a time commitment. Top Rated Local is one of those tools, and we believe that it will be one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal.

Six Reasons to Become a Top Rated Local Business Today

#1. Be in the know about your business’ overall reputation with your Rating Score™.

Most review platforms are fairly limited. Take Yelp for example. When you look at your reviews on Yelp, you’re only seeing the reviews on that platform. That means that Yelp won’t be able to give you any insight into what your business’ reputation looks like on Google or Facebook, or what it looks like overall. However, Top Rated Local gives you a central location to monitor your entire online reputation, even when reviews are published on other review platforms.

Your business’ Rating Score on Top Rated Local is calculated by aggregating all of your business’ reviews across multiple verified review platforms, and it’s based on a variety of factors, including the number of reviews you have, the number of review sources you have reviews on and your business’ overall rating on the various platforms. Monitoring your Rating Score on Top Rated Local will help you gauge your business’ reputation overall, rather than leaving you to scramble for information across a bunch of different websites.

#2. Gain the ability to respond to reviews.

If you’ve had a chance to read our last blog — Why You Need to Respond to Online Reviews — then you already know about why it’s important that you take the time to respond to every single review you get, whether it’s a glowing, five-star review or an inauthentic one-star review left by an ex-employee who’s out for revenge.

Responding to reviews is of the utmost importance. Review responses help you to share your side of the story when reviews are unfair, make your clients feel heard when they have issues and thank your clients who take the time to review you for doing so. However, like with the many other review platforms out there, you can’t respond to those reviews until you claim your listing!

#3. Be alerted every time someone leaves a new review.

Every savvy business owner knows the importance of responding to every review, good or bad. But regardless of your response and regardless of the kind of review you’re responding to, it’s essential that your response comes promptly. The longer you wait to respond, the more your clients will feel unheard and the longer you leave unfair accusations about your business unchecked.

Your reviewers expect you to respond promptly to every review. In fact, more than 50 percent of consumers expect you to respond within a few days of them leaving a review. However, living up to that expectation can be more challenging than many business owners think, particularly since it takes a willingness to monitor your reviews across multiple review platforms. But when you become a Top Rated Local business, you’ll have everything you need!

One of the biggest benefits of becoming a Top Rated Local business is that you’ll receive real-time notifications any time your business gets a review. This ensures a quick response and that there will never be any reviews that slip through the cracks.

#4. Gain more trust by displaying your Top Rated Local badge.

When someone clicks on your website, you don’t have long to convince them to stick around. Whether you’re an electrician, a plumber or the owner of a five-star restaurant, you have plenty of competition out there, and you need to give people a good reason to stick with you once they come to your website. The amount of time someone spends on your website is affected by a variety of different things, including the way your website looks, the amount of time it takes to load, the content on your website and more, and by becoming a Top Rated Local business, you’ll have one more weapon in your arsenal.

When you become a Top Rated Local business, you can display the Top Rated Local badge on your website. That means that the second someone clicks on your website, they’ll gain the added trust in knowing that yours is a Top Rated Local business.

#5. Easily and conveniently display your business’ online reviews.

In a previous blog — Your Guide to Showcasing Customer Reviews — we went over a few tips for showing off your online reviews and getting the most out of them. The fact of the matter is that you can leverage your online reviews in so many different ways. Every single business will say that they’re the best of the best, so much so that it no longer means much when they do. However, when a customer says the business is the best, it makes an impact, and with Top Rated Local, it’s easier to get even more out of your reviews.

Not only does the Top Rated Local badge help to give you an instant trust boost with people who visit your website, but it also makes it easy for potential customers to check out all of your reviews online straight from your website.

#6. Boost your business Rating Score.

Here at Top Rated Local, we recognize the importance of taking ownership over your business’ online reputation. It takes a commitment of time and energy, but it pays off exponentially. We support and encourage business owners who have taken their business’ online reputation into their own hands by giving Top Rated Local businesses a slight boost to their Rating Score.

When you sign up for Top Rated Local and verify your business’ information, you’ll get an immediate boost to your Rating Score. And you’ll also get another boost to your Rating Score after you’ve received your first review.


Become a Top Rated Local business today!

As you can see, there is no shortage of benefits to becoming a Top Rated Local business, and the best part is that you get all of this and more without any cost to you! That’s right, becoming the Top Rated Local business in your area is 100-percent free.

What are you waiting for? Take your business’ online reputation into your own hands by setting your listing up with Top Rated Local for free! Get started today!

Why You Shouldn’t Attack Your Competitors’ Reputation

So, You’re Thinking About Attacking. Let’s Talk That Out.

Let us start this off by assuring you that you are not the first business owner or marketing manager to consider attacking your competitors. It’s a natural impulse to have when you know you’re the very best at what you do, and you feel like your competitors can’t, well, compete. Maybe they even practice dirty tactics that you feel like make the market unfair and put you in a corner. It can be really tempting to attack them and the temptation is understandable. Should you actually do it? No way. It will only result in bad things for you and your company. AT Top Rated Local®, we’re here to help you figure out why you shouldn’t and what to do instead. 

Why It’s A Bad Idea

Even though it can definitely be tempting to run a review-based smear campaign on a competitor, it’s really nothing but a good and quick way to make yourself and your business look bad.  Not only could you suffer from legal repercussions like a lawsuit or a cease and desist order, but your entire reputation could be at stake simply because you retaliated.

You Could Get Sued

A lawsuit would be an absolute nightmare for any business to endure, but you already know that. Defaming your competitors is a great way to wind up smack dab in the middle of that nightmare. If you write a bad review for a competitor simply because they are your competitor, that can, in some cases, be legally considered libel. Assuming you don’t want to deal with expensive lawyer fees, time-sucking proceedings, and possible fines, it’s best to keep your eyes on your own paper.

It’s Ineffective

Frankly speaking, it is easy to tell when a bad review is left by a competitor. No matter how sneaky you think you’re being, the fact is, you probably aren’t quite as inconspicuous as you think. Your issues with the competition will sneak out one way or another, and a fake profile can be easily spotted from a mile away (assuming you aren’t boldly using your own personal review site profile). The best way to avoid the risk of getting caught leaving a false review is to never do so in the first place.

It Makes You Look Bad

As Thumper, the cute and wise-beyond-his-years bunny from the classic Disney film entitled ‘Bambi,’ would say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” That logic and wisdom certainly applies here. Nothing makes you look worse than talking trash about your competitors. Think about what you would do if you saw one business defaming another. Our educated guess is that you wouldn’t want to give them any of your money. People will assume that if you were really that good, you wouldn’t have to talk smack. But, you are great at what you do, so don’t diminish and overshadow that by attacking your competitors’ reputations. 

What You Can Do Instead

Now that launching a full-blown attack on your competitors’ online reputation is out of the question, it may seem like you’re out of ideas and back at square one — and that’s okay! Our job is to help you figure out what to do here. Try boosting yourself and your business up. 

Show Your Worth

You are excellent at what you do, and in your book and that of your loyal customers, you’re the best. Make that clear. Amp up your social media and marketing efforts and post valuable content on both social sites and blogs. Make sure everyone in your community knows just what a fantastic business you run. Beyond that, simply make sure you’re responding to feedback positively and taking it into account, and continue to be phenomenal at what you do. 

Ask For Reviews

We can’t say it enough: ASK FOR REVIEWS. Encourage the people you serve to leave their feedback. Having customers honestly vouch for you is an incredible boon to your online reputation and there is truly nothing that will make you look better than doing well and receiving praise for it.

Respond To Feedback Appropriately

This is the true key to making sure your reputation stays spotless. If your customers have complaints or concerns regarding what you do, be understanding. Put their needs first. Respond politely and take their feedback into account. 

What To Do If It Happens to You

If someone launches an attack on your online reputation, it may seem like an impossible situation to get out of. Thankfully, that is absolutely not the case. Your business can bounce back from this. We’re not lawyers, so we won’t recommend any legal action. But, one thing we do know a lot about is reputation management, and we know that if you pull back from the focus on your competition and start focusing on your online reputation, it’ll make a huge difference and help your brand. 

Double Down On Reputation Management Efforts

Your reputation will only improve if you put forth a concerted effort to make it better. That means asking for reviews, making sure all of your online listings are in order, and making reputation management an integral part of your business’ marketing strategy. Whether you hire the professionals or you simply learn to do it yourself, an investment in reputation management always pays off. Strive to make your reputation impenetrable so that you can fight off any attack lobbied against you.


Build A Strong Online Reputation

By using Top Rated Local, you can master your online reputation. We collect data from dozens of verified review sites across the internet to create a cumulative Rating Score™. With this system, you can get an in-depth look into your all over online reputation and completely master your business’ reputation management. Claim your business’ listing and sign up for an account today to see how Top Rated Local can be one of the most valuable tools in your toolbelt and help you rise above the competition.

 

Reputation Management 101

Your Guide To Online Reputation Management

It used to be that your business’ reputation relied solely on word of mouth. And although word of mouth is still absolutely an important thing to generate; now, it’s really not what people pay the most attention to when choosing a business to give their money to. In 2019, it’s all about online reputation management. Online reputation, when you first hear of it, can seem vague and maybe even a little bit confusing. What does it mean? Why is it important? How do you incorporate it into your business’ digital marketing strategy? If you don’t know what to do, need a refresher, or don’t even know where to start, we are here to help — Top Rated Local® to the rescue. In this blog, we will give you the rundown on what it takes to make your online reputation work for you.

What It Is

Reputation management is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a way to control how current and potential customers, competitors, or clients see your business. However, it goes far deeper than just that. Reputation management is vital for the success of any business. Nowhttps://www.topratedlocal.com/blog/reputation-management/reputation-management-101/adays, your customers are the ones who sculpt your reputation. Because of that, rather than just being a tool in your tool belt, reputation management should be approached with the same level of seriousness and effort as marketing or accounting for your business. By making it one of your main, day-to-day priorities and long-term goals, you can craft the image you want for your company and truly make your business stand out among the crowd — for the right reasons.

In action, managing your online reputation means managing your footprint online in its totality and involves everything from social media to SEO (social media optimization), but it stands mostly on online reviews. Those can be difficult to navigate, but it is completely doable. By incorporating reputation management into your digital marketing strategy, you take a more proactive role in the success of your business. Countless businesses have benefited from online reputation management, and yours will, too.

Why It’s Important

Now that you know what reputation management is, we can move on to why it matters. Let’s start out with the facts. Here are some quick statistics:

  • Seventy percent of people will leave a review if they are asked
  • Forty-two percent of people will not use a business with less than a three-star average rating
  • Sixty-nine percent of job seekers won’t work for a company if it has a bad online reputation
  • It only takes six reviews for 73 percent of your community to form an opinion about your business
  • Up to 80 percent of people trust reviews as much as a recommendation

Knowing that, you can see why you would want to put as much work as possible into your online reputation. But, why should you start now? One of the most staggering reasons is time. It takes a while to build a truly phenomenal online reputation, and you really want to hit the ground running. That being said, that reputation can be destroyed very quickly by negative reviews if you aren’t careful. By taking a proactive role in managing your business’ online reputation, you can react appropriately and in a timely manner to poor reviews and save the situation before it gets too bad. Reputation management is an artful combination of offense and defense, which is what makes it such an impactful part of any marketing strategy.

What You Can Do

Now that you know what reputation management is and why it’s important, you’re almost certainly wondering how to implement it into your business’ digital marketing strategy. Although it can be incredibly valuable to hire professionals to manage your online reputation, there are certainly aspects you can handle yourself, at least while you’re getting started. Those come down to three things — monitoring, responding, and strategizing.

Monitor

The first step to building a stellar online reputation is monitoring. Take stock of your business’ online reputation by going through popular reviews sites, like Google, Facebook, and Yelp to see how you business is doing at the moment. After that, as you’re implementing the other aspects of online reputation management, continue to monitor your reviews, as well as your social media mentions and comments. Top Rated Local is a great place to station your reputation management, with our cumulative Rating Score™ system and convenient portals to tons of verified review sites.

Respond

Once you see what you’re working with, you can respond. Having an active conversation with your customer base is great for any business’ online reputation. This is particularly important when it comes to bad reviews and other negative feedback. You want to respond promptly (which is part of why you must monitor your online reputation often) and politely, as well as to actually learn and grow from the feedback you receive. After all, most issues are fixable, and resolving the issue quickly can result in return business 95 percent of the time.

Strategize

By addressing the more immediate tasks of monitoring and responding, you can start to strategize, based on the feedback you’ve received and the patterns you observe. One truly invaluable benefit reviews provide is real and direct feedback regarding how you did and what you can improve upon, which is kind of like playing the long game for a better reputation online and off.


Top Rated Local is an invaluable tool that any business looking to strengthen their online reputation can use! With our proprietary Rating Score system, you can get an in-depth look into your business’ online reputation. We collect reviews and ratings from dozens of verified sources all across the web to come up with a cumulative score that gives you a glimpse into where you stand with your online reputation, and even links directly to those review sites so you can easily strategize. Not only that, but your clients or customers can leave reviews directly on the Top Rated Local site or in our convenient app. Think of Top Rated Local as your one-stop shop for reputation management.

The Entrepreneurs at Top Rated Local®: Brandon

Brandon is the Senior Brand Director of Top Rated Local® (or, as we like to call him, the senior Brandon Director). He grew up in West Virginia on a sustainable farm with no electricity and no running water/modern conveniences. From an early age, he had quite a knack for technology, which considering where he lived, he had to find creative outlets for. That’s why, when he was 16, he started building and selling computers, which jump started his entrepreneurial mindset.

That entrepreneurial mindset has taken Brandon far. Along with his wife, Marcia, he owns Life Of The Party, a costume shop in Northern Colorado. The store itself has been around for 38 years, and the couple are the third set of owners, carrying on the store’s long-held standard of inclusivity and service. As an LGBTQ+ safe space, a woman-owned business, the largest supplier of wigs in Northern Colorado, and the only place to get popular stage makeup brands within a 300-mile radius, Life Of The Party has people coming great distances to shop, as evidenced by this story Brandon shared with us:

“We had a professional troupe of rodeo clowns come in recently. They came out from California to do a show in Laramie, Wyoming. They realized they had run out of their ‘clown white’ makeup. They drove five hours to us and told us we’re one of their stops from now on.”

After being asked, at length, about the lifestyles of rodeo clowns (what can we say, we were curious), Brandon told us that Life Of The Party sees a wide variety of customers, be it for a costume, wig, makeup, or something else entirely. Their assortment of clientele can range from people who live completely different lives on the weekend to people buying gag gifts for friends, to professional performers, costumers, and makeup artists. In Brandon’s words, “Who cares what you’re using it for as long as you’re having fun!”

When asked how his two, very different careers intersect, he said:

“They intersect constantly. It’s really a benefit to me working at Top Rated Local, because I’m constantly trying new things and educating myself… I get to try things that, as a small business owner, I would never get to try on my own. The tools I use are not unavailable to small business owners, but most small business owners wouldn’t know to use them…”

The way Life Of The Party navigates reputation management is incredibly unique. That’s not only because of their diverse customer-base, but because of the nature of the products they sell. They’re able to build a positive organic reputation by being a space for people leading alternative lifestyles to shop without judgement, as well as being a local staple. “We cater to everybody, and we get everybody. We get the college kids, the grizzled, old farmer looking for a gag gift, people in transition, rodeo clowns… We get everybody,” Brandon told us.

Of course, we were interested in finding out how Top Rated Local has benefited Life Of The Party. Brandon shared with us that some of his biggest concerns with other review platforms have been the lack of resources for businesses to report fake or false reviews and constant sales calls. Because of that, Top Rated Local has been his go-to. The aggregate score Top Rated Local offers has been particularly helpful in showing off Life Of The Party’s positive overall reputation to potential customers. He left us with this:

“When people ask me where to leave a review, I send them to Top Rated Local.”


Thank you so much for your time, Brandon, 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.

Using Social Media to Improve Your Reputation, Part 2: Managing Your Profiles

Your online reputation is vital to your company’s success

In a previous article, we outlined the importance of taking control of your company’s reputation by finding out where you stand and how to get started on your business’ social media journey. Now, we are going to outline a few best practices when it comes to managing those social media profiles.

Social media has become an invaluable tool that can help you reach new audiences, gain reviews, manage your company’s reputation, and most importantly, it provides a space where you can instantly engage with your consumer base, so we want to make sure you are fully equipped to manage a space where your clients are able to leave you instant public feedback!

Commit To Authenticity

With social media, you have the opportunity to build trust in your business before you ever even meet the customer. 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.

The Journal of Consumer Psychology defines authenticity as, “The extent to which consumers perceive a brand to be faithful toward itself, true to its consumers, motivated by caring and responsibility, and able to support consumers in being true to themselves.”

It makes sense that authenticity is important to consumers. People want transparency, and certainly don’t want to feel like a company is pulling one over on them. People want to have some sense about what a business’ beliefs and values are, and whether or not they might align with their own. Having trust in a company means that a customer sees that business as worth taking the risk of investing their time and money into.

In order to build an authentic brand, you have to have a deep understanding of your company’s core values, and then show your commitment to those values in the things you post and the way you engage with your followers.

Share Your Brand’s Story

At the heart of it all, social media profiles offer a place where you are able to show your brand or business the way you want to be seen. You have a unique opportunity to give your business a voice and share it, not only with your most loyal following, but also with an untold number of potential future clients and fans! I personally follow a small ice cream shop in Portland, a city I don’t live in, just because I like their fun and engaging Instagram profile. Customers don’t only care about what you are selling and at what price; more and more, they also consider and care about who you are. People genuinely like stories, and adding a personal element to your brand gives them something to connect with or relate to.

Telling your brand’s story means giving your customers a look into who you are as a company and why your company exists. When deciding to put something on social media, decide if your post answers any of the following questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • Why do you do it?
  • How do you do it?
  • What’s next?

Deciding what your story is and how you share it can add some much-needed integrity to your social media profiles, and can give you a sense of direction when it comes to navigating how and what to post.

You don’t have to overthink what it means to share your story. It can be as simple as sharing behind-the-scenes stories of the day-to-day work life, giving a sneak peak at a new product that’s coming out, putting a spotlight on one staff member, sharing an infographic or educational article, posting a photo of the inside of your shop before you open for the day, talking about how your business uses sustainably-sourced products and why, or talking about a charitable cause you are raising money and awareness for.

Engage With Your Followers

In our last article, Using Social Media to Improve Your Reputation, we talked about finding and setting a tone for your business. By now, you know that using social media is a great way to keep in touch with your clients, your community, and your potential customers. As we discussed in that previous post, with social media, you are also able to set the tone for how you would like your business to be seen by others. Do you want to be known for your unwavering professionalism, your playfulness, or maybe your approachableness? There’s not really a right answer here, but it is best to decide on a tone and stick with it. By setting the tone, your customers know what to expect from you when they engage with you online, and it is very important to show them that they CAN reach you. This all adds on to the idea of trust and authenticity.

Liking someone’s comment on your picture, or leaving a quick message or response, shows them that you are paying attention, shows them you care, and gives them the sense that you are bought in to them and their experience. Social media makes it fun and easy to connect, chat, and engage with the people who enjoy your business.

In addition to connecting with your client base, social media sites have also become a place where customers can go for their customer service requests or to leave a review of your product or service. No matter what kind of feedback you are getting on social media, you have the chance to respond, so make sure you always do so quickly and directly. Show the public that you are listening, and show them that you care.

Don’t underestimate the power of reviews. According to BrightLocal, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews from other customers just as much as they would recommendations from peers. It’s important to keep in mind that people take notice of online reviews and your response, or lack thereof, to them.

In a previous article, How to Handle Bad Reviews, we listed out a more comprehensive strategy for handling and responding to the inevitable negative reviews you will get. Make your life easier by having a policy in place when it comes time to craft your response. Remember to always be professional and direct, address their concerns, and move the conversation into DMs, email, or over the phone.

Social media is also a great place to gather positive reviews and experiences from your customer base. When people share a photo of themselves enjoying time in your store, wearing your merch, or enjoying your hand-cut french fries, like their photo and ask if you can use it yourself! Plenty of businesses repost customer photos in their Instagram stories, showing their clients that they are seen and that your business cares about them and their experience. Not only does this make that one customer feel special, but other customers might then go and post photos using your products to get the chance at being featured themselves!

Take the first step towards being in control of your online reputation with Top Rated Local!

Your business’ online reputation is undoubtedly linked to online reviews and the way people engage with you and your business on social media. Top Rated Local has the resources you need to stay on top of your reviews and reputation. Best of all, listing your business with Top Rated Local is free!