Don’t pay someone to manage your online reputation! In this video, Eric Spellmann shows you how to monitor and manage what the Internet is saying about you. From customer reviews to news articles, someone is discussing you online. Using Eric’s proactive approach and free tools, you can make sure you are ready WHEN someone blindsides you online. Managing your online reputation is a key part of your online marketing strategy!
Note from Eric: Below, you will find a word-for-word transcript of this video. I provide this as an aid for the hearing-impaired and for those who might just want to read it rather than watch the video. This conversational style is not reflective of how I write. Be nice! Hey I’m Eric Spellmann and today we’re going to talk about How to manage your online reputation for free. That’s right for free! What a lot of people don’t realize is that you don’t have to pay someone to do that, you can do this yourself and this video is going to show you how.
So let’s start. First of all what is your online reputation. In most cases it’s a customer review. In other words, someone talking about you. And we all know that when we’re talking about managing your online reputation, we’re talking about dealing with someone saying something bad about you.
So, customer reviews are one of the biggest parts of that. We’re also talking about the Better Business Bureau because keep in mind someone complains to them, it goes on their website and it will show up when Google does a search, when people do a search on Google for you. Because Google considers the Better Business Bureau a very highly relevant search for your business name. For instance, if someone were looking for Amarillo Website Design and the BBB review came up, I want it to be stellar!
Basically anything online about you, it might be on Facebook, it might be on a blog, whatever anyone says about you online, is considered part of your online reputation.
Let’s talk about customer reviews first. When we talk about managing customer reviews, there’s really two or three (depending upon what kind of business you are) sites you need to check out. First, is Google+. You can get there by going to plus.google.com.
Google+ used to have Google Places, that’s what they used to call it. And the way you find out your Google+ page because if you’re a business, you already have one. Simply do a search on Google for your business name, but then click on maps in Google.
When you see your listing over there, you might see a number of reviews under there. Click on that and you will now see your Google+ page. And on that page is where you can see what people are saying about you. What I want you to do is there’s a little “Manage this Page/manage this Company” option on the right.
If you haven’t claimed this as yourself, you need to do that. Claim it, own it before someone else does. When you do, and they’ll take you through a few steps to prove that you actually are the owner of the site, but then you’ll be able to add things to it, add pictures and more importantly respond to reviews which you’re going to get to.
Yelp.com is another place where people review websites and review companies. So go to yelp.com, do a search on your company in your city and state and see what’s there. Once again, you can claim this listing and you can go and make changes to it. Once again you really can’t get rid of reviews. But the only thing you can do is respond to them. We’ll get to that.
If you are a tourism destination or restaurant, chances are you’re being talked about in tripadvisor.com. You can also ‘claim’ your business in Trip Advisor, so be sure and do that.
That is the biggest thing I can tell you. You heard me say on each one of these “Claim your listing!” The only way you start to get control is when you control the page itself. And each one of these will allow you to do it for free. Now some of them will try to upsell you a little.
Yelp and Trip Advisor, will definitely try to up sell you a little. You pay something per month or per year and they’ll give you more options. I don’t know if you really need that, but really you need to at least claim your free listing so you can make sure the data is correct. Good reason to do that. In Google+, if the Google Map is incorrect, if it’s off. If you claim your listing, you can fix that. Same with Yelp.
Respond to reviews. The only way Google or Yelp or Trip Advisor will remove a review is if maybe it has some sort of ethnic slur or bad language or something like that. Otherwise, you’re stuck with it. So the only way you can really deal with it is to respond to it.
And each one of these has the ability for the business owner to respond to the review. So, if someone writes something bad about you. What you need to do is simply say (in your response) “Hey! I am so sorry you had such a bad experience. I want to make it right. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to let me do that.”
Now what that will do is when people see the review and they see your response, basically you’re showing “Hey that’s a business owner who cares! So, yeah he got a bad review but he cares.” Everyone’s going to get a bad review. Keep that in mind.
Remember like I said, if someone complains against you, it can show up on the Better Business Bureau website (www.bbb.org) and therefore come up on Google results. So you want to make sure that you answer complains quickly. You see the Better Business Bureau doesn’t necessarily solve problems, what they do is they help people get together to work it out themselves.
And so if you’re ignoring complaints, you score terrible terrible points with the Better Business Bureau and that shows. So make sure whether it’s a legitimate complaint or not that you are responding and responding quickly. And using the Better Business Bureau’s system to do that.
Be the last one to communicate, always have the last word. That way if people are going to read through the messages back and forth between you and this angry customer, you’re the last one basically saying “Hey I want to work this out. I will do whatever I can”. But if you let the complainer have the last result, then you run the risk of that being the last thing in the mind of the person reading that list of messages.
Always call your local BBB. The Better Business Bureau is your friend, and they want to help you. And they have some other programs that can really help you manage your online reputation. Some of them cost some money, but a lot of them are totally free.
Use Google Alerts. This is probably the biggest advice I can give you. Google Alerts allows you to search the internet for anything about you, and tells you when something new comes up. I love it and it’s totally free!
Go to alerts.google.com and it will ask you what do you want to search for. One of the things I recommend is that you set a filter for your company name, your personal name, competitors and basically anything because whatever phrase you put in, Google will email you when something new shows up on the internet about that.
I use this on all of those things you see there. And it keeps me informed instead of me having to constantly just Google those things. Google will alert me. And once again guys, it’s totally free!
Get a website. I mean seriously, I know that sounds self-serving. But seriously, get a website because if someone does a search on your business name, your website will come up first, Google will usually have your website be the first thing.
You don’t want to make the first thing that comes up a negative review because you don’t simply have a website! If you want to control the message about your company, have something. Doesn’t have to be the biggest website in the world, could be a one-pager. But you need to control it.
Keep in mind that Google will always try to put the most relevant results first. So I’ve noticed that my website is first, Better Business Bureau might be second, some blog entries might be third, these videos might be fourth, it changes, it depends on what Google considers relevant.
By controlling the content of your website, because you’re obviously not going to give yourself a negative review, once again you’re helping the control what’s going out about you. You’re taking control of your online reputation.
And the most important part, and I shouldn’t even have to say this is that by controlling all the good things being said about you, you’re really pushing down all the bad things. And that’s some of the best advice I can give you, is to help push down some of the bad things about you.
Well, as always I’m Eric Spellmann and I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions give me a call, shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to help. And be sure and visit my website ericspellmann.com. Once again I’m Eric Spellmann, I’ll see you in cyberspace.