Reputation is a big deal if you are an everyday person, a world-renowned celebrity, an accomplished thief, a person of God, a politician or a popular entertainer, it matters. Reputation is important to more than separate individuals. In the business world, it has an even broader impact.
One of the most in-demand areas of reputation management is boosting local business reputation. Pass or fail, business success all comes down to reputation.
But how do local businesses build their reputations? Maintain a good reputation? Destroy a reputation? Change a reputation for better or worse?
This can be challenging for local businesses. It is a well-known fact that it is hard to change an established reputation. It consists of more than a mishmash of deeds and actions. Reputation comes down to people’s perceptions. It all happens in the mind, and we all know how hard it can be to change someone’s mind once it is set.
However, advanced technology has moved this obstacle over to the land of the algorithm and removed it, at least partly, from the area of perception. Now, small business reputation comes down to a science, not an art.
Online reviews collectively summarize the reputation of a small business. It is that simple.
Studies have shown that 97 percent of consumers search for local businesses online. During this process, they stumble upon reviews. These comments and ratings help consumer’s form an opinion on a company.
Business and product reviews are not only very visible; consumers trust what they read. Trust and reputation go together like peanut butter and jelly. Online reviews are trusted sources, just as much as a recommendation by a close friend. Up to 67 percent of consumers make purchase decisions based on reviews.
When a consumer types in a query and views the search engine results page (SERP) it shapes their opinion about the company. If the viewer spots a negative review in the SERP, that business can expect to lose just under 22 percent of its customers. Additional negative reviews can have a devastating impact:
The foundation of local business reputation is online reviews. When a potential customer uses Google to do a search with a local business name, everything they see on the resulting pagecontributes to that business’s reputation.
All local businesses get reviewed, this includes restaurants, banks, bars, dental practices, insurance agencies, realtors, plumbers — everyone.
The most important site is Google My Business, this is the hot spot for boosting your local business reputation. Google is the leading site for reviews because it is the most visible.
You need high visibility in a search engine when building your business reputation. When a customer does a search, what pops up first is the biggest influencer. Our minds rely on the first piece of data that gets put forth; we think what we see first.
In addition, Google rules because for 70 percent of iPhone users it is the map app of choice. Countless consumers go to Google Maps and Google search to learn more about a business.