Your customers are talking about you, and the whole world is listening.
More and more people are taking their comments, complaints and reviews of businesses to the Web. Dozens of sites are dedicated to local business reviews and ratings, and Twitter and Facebook are ready avenues for airing comments good and bad about how you’ve served your customers today.
Do you know what’s being said about you online? What are you doing to protect and manage your reputation?
For small businesses in Orangeville, Ontario today, it is harder than ever to keep up with all the local online city guides and service review sites on the web.
Each one of them provides a unique opportunity to promote your local business, and many of them provide opportunity for both satisfied and dissatisfied customers to praise or critique your products and services.
If you want to enhance your visibility on the Web, and protect your reputation online, you will need to keep an eye on your listings at the ever-growing list of local review sites, and track what your customers are saying about you at all of them.
Here’s just a short list of a few of the places you should be checking:
Yahoo! Local (http://ca.local.yahoo.com)
While there doesn’t seem to be a way to update your site information, the listings come from the YellowPages and are quite comprehensive.
Because this is Yahoo!, the local search receives lots of traffic, and your business quite probably has been reviewed or rated already. Be sure to check in often and respond to any reviews, both positive and negative.
Google Local Search (http://www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter)
Completing a registration at Google’s Local Search page will ensure that your business is listed under relevant keyword phrases in general web searches at Google, as well as show your business at the correct location in Google Maps.
Once you complete registration and Google confirms you represent your business, you can edit your address, phone number, hours of operation, as well as create coupons and display photos and videos, all for free.
Customers can rate and review businesses as well, making it a place you absolutely need to monitor for good and bad customer reviews.
Make sure you’re listed at this local directory. Since it doesn’t pull information from a source like the YellowPages or Gold Book, you’ll likely need to add your own information.
Listings are free, and customers can rate and review listings and the reviews left by others.
Another community directory that offers free listings for businesses in the Dufferin area, though they do charge a monthly fee to add a web link to your listing. It also allows customers to rate and review businesses.
Take the free listing, and monitor your page for bad reviews.
As a business owner, you should update your business information on Yelp and add photos. You can track the views to your Yelp business page, post your news and events, send private messages to customers and add photos of your business to make your listing more attractive.
Customers can rate your business from one to five stars, post reviews of your business to Yelp, add their own photos to your listing, and communicate with other reviewers.
Trip Advisor (http://www.tripadvisor.ca)
While this site will primarily interest restaurants and accommodation providers, other unique boutiques in the area will be able to promote their businesses as local attractions.
This is a very popular site and, if you are a tourist-oriented business, it is likely you will find yourself reviewed either on the site, on their Facebook app, or in the forums. Reviews from Trip Adviser are licensed to other travel sites as well, so a review here will appear on more than one Web site.
Business owners can update their listings with photos, video and descriptions. Customers can rate and review the business, as well as send messages to other reviewers.
Here business owners can add their contact information, including an active web link to their site, as well as add upcoming events.
Customers can add a review of any business listed, and upload up to five photos.
Virtual Tourist (http://www.virtualtourist.com)
While the main focus of this site is again on food and lodging, there are also sections on night life, transportation, things to do, shopping, and things off the beaten track in Orangeville that will accomodate nearly every type of business listing.
Customers can submit video, photos, and tips, and members of the site can create their own town information page and/or travelogue.
Those are the major sites, but there are others as well, like:
If it seems like keeping up with all these sites could be a full time job, you’re right. That’s not even considering tracking who’s talking about you on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs and on message boards.
If you’d like help updating your online listings and daily scanning of social media and local directory sites to help you protect your reputation online, contact The Ian Scott Group in Orangeville at 519-940-3504. We’d be glad to help you design a reputation management package to suit your needs.