Quick Guide to Online Review Management

David PR Group Online Review ManagementReview sites are here to stay, so we can’t put our heads in the sand and ignore them anymore. Sites exist to review all manner of businesses, and your business may have reviews that you have never seen – leaving the reputation of your business in the hands of the internet community without any input from the business owner or management.  Review sites have strong authority with search engines, and online reputation management firms which have attempted to suppress review sites with positive content are losing the battle. Many online reputation pros have thrown in the towel and are now recommending engagement to change review site content, rather than trying to push them down in search results.

Claim

Claim or create your company page on the main review sites. Your company may not yet have a listing on a site like Yelp, but any customer or interested party could create one without your knowledge and certainly without your consent. Business owners should look at the main review sites and either claim their page if one has already been created or create their own listing – this will give you a small level of control. If you have a claimed page, then you can enable the tools provided to businesses by review sites, such as notifications of new reviews and the ability to respond to reviews. This is the single most important reason to claim your page, so that you will be notified of new reviews.

Build Out

Build out your review site listings. Across the board, executives from review sites recommend completing profiles and adding information to business listings. Up-to-date photos, videos and descriptions increase page views as well as interest from prospective customers or employees.  Plain listings without images look stale as customers on review sites are typically interested in getting current information. At a minimum, most review sites offer the opportunity to post photos, videos, detailed descriptions, hours of operations and contact information.

Engage

Engagement. Likely the biggest trend in online reviews centers on engagement. Interaction between businesses and their customers helps build the overall sense of community, and executives from review sites universally advocate for responding to both positive and negative reviews.  While responding to a negative review may not change the opinion of the reviewer, the response may positively impact the next consumer.  According to TripAdvisor, for example, business owners should explain in responses how they plan to remedy negative situations. Future customers appreciate honesty and also react favorably to engaged businesses.

All business, not just those in hospitality, need to develop an ongoing strategy to manage online reviews. Regular audits of online practices and a commitment to engagement are critical.

–John

Top Online Reputation Trends for 2019

David PR Group Online Reputation Trends for 2019After a year that saw a slew of epic social media fails, like an Elon Musk tweet leading to a set of $20 million fines and numerous folks losing jobs over offensive posts, I can say with certainty that 2019 will offer a new batch of colorful online problems. Some of the old pitfalls remain, but there’s also hope as we learn to better manage our online lives – and hopefully be less judgmental of others. Here are five key online reputation trends for 2019.

Your job is watching you, but mainly if you screw up

While most employers truly don’t care what you do in your off hours, what you say on personal social media accounts can still get you in hot water and even fired. For example, last month Green Bay Packers Associate Head Coach Winston Moss posted on Twitter that the team needs to hold star quarterback Aaron Rodgers accountable for the team’s poor play. Moss was quickly fired. Lesson: Don’t publicly bash your organization’s most high-profile employee. Sure, we have freedom of speech in America, but you don’t get to say whatever you want with impunity. I’m not an employment lawyer so I can’t get into the finer points of what constitutes a legally fire-able offense, but I know that in some states an employer doesn’t need a reason to terminate you. My advice is that it’s best to keep controversial opinions to yourself, and don’t say anything on social media that you wouldn’t be comfortable saying in your company break room among all of your co-workers.Read More

Online Review Sites: The New Normal

Online Review Sites David PRThe value proposition for online review sites is simple as they enables almost anyone to offer a public review and rating of a business. A review site allows users to give both good and bad reviews of businesses – and gives consumers the opportunity to make an informed purchase decision. This new reality can be a challenge for businesses, however.

Here are some general recommendations when it comes to online reviews:Read More

Time for PR to Take Back Reputation Management

All roads lead to reputation managementAs an old-school public relations consultant, I remember the days when “reputation management” was strictly a PR term.  We learned about it in our college courses and included it on our websites as a practice area.  But then sometime in the past few years, reputation management was stolen from us by the search engine optimization world.  Today, when you mention reputation management, most people equate it with “online” reputation management and the act of trying to manipulate search results by pushing down, burying or suppressing negative content and links.

If you don’t believe me, ask Wikipedia (cue groans.)  I know that our profession has an “it’s complicated” relationship with Wikipedia, but millions of people use it each day, and here’s what it says about reputation management:

Reputation management refers to influencing and controlling an individual’s or business’s reputation. Originally a public relations term, the expansion of the internet and social media, along with reputation management companies, have made it primarily an issue of search results.

Ouch, right?Read More

Solving the Yelp Puzzle to Build Your Business

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Founded in 2004, the online review site, Yelp, often confounds business owners. It is, without question, one of the dominant review sites and one that often outperforms company websites on search results. What that means is that a search for a particular restaurant on a search engine, for example, could pull up a Yelp listing ahead of the restaurant’s actual site. Now, if the reviews on Yelp are positive, this may increase the chance of a customer booking. However, if reviews are largely negative, the opposite could be true.

A 2011 Harvard Business School study found that each “star” in a Yelp rating impacted sales by between 5-9 percent. Another study suggested that increasing a star rating from 3.5 to 4 on Yelp would increase a restaurant’s chances of being booked during peak hours by 19 percent.

Some businesses have seen dramatic marketing results from actively working with Yelp and engaging the community.

If handled correctly, Yelp has the potential to help generate business for companies with listings, but the site has some idiosyncrasies that need to be addressed and managed.Read More