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Inventive Ways to Use Vine For Your Business and Make Your Brand Go Viral

Just as you get to grips with Twitter and Facebook, along comes another social media platform for you to get used to.

If you have not already heard of Vine, you soon will as it has, as the name suggests, been spreading in popularity online like a weed.

VINE (2) Vine is a Twitter owned company that was launched early in 2013. It allows users to record short six-second clips that play continuously on an endless loop. This tiny six-second video is considered to be the equivalent to the 140-character limit on Twitter.

Think of Vine being like Instagram except with videos instead of pictures.

Users add these videos to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and it is incredibly quick and easy to do.

So you may be asking yourself, ‘who wants a six second video and why would it be useful to my business?”

Well the answer to the first question is simple: Millions of people. Vine has already attracted over 13 million users in less than 6 months after its launch. There are thousands of blogs and sites that are dedicated solely to finding the bet vine videos and sharing them for everybody to see.

In answer to your second question here are some reasons why Vine is an effective way to promote your business:

 

Present Your Raving Fans

If you have a customer who raves about your product or service, no doubt they will be very happy to agree to provide you with a testimonial. As the Internet is so visual, having video testimonials is the perfect way to showcase your testimonials. However, most customers, even if they love what you do won’t be too thrilled about the idea of appearing on camera for a long time to create a testimonial for you. Many of them will be camera shy and not comfortable in front of the camera.

But how about this for an idea: Instead of having then speak, why not have your happy smiling customer hold up cards with words that best describe your product or business. A six second video of your thrilled happy customer holding up cards such as “Saved Me Money”, “Easy to Use” and “Friendly Service” is the perfect way to get your message across and intrigue potential customers to look at what you are offering.

 

Display Your Work For A Client

Instead of just having a static portfolio of your work on your site create an animated one on social media instead. It is such a simple idea that even small businesses without a large advertising budget could do. It will help spread the word about your product or service far quicker than any ad in the local press could.

 

VINE (4)Whet Your Customer’s Appetite

Vine is perfect for creating suspense and intrigue, particularly if you are launching a new product or service or even adding an update.

You can start generating a buzz by giving your viewers a sneak peek. Simply link viewers to your website or information page where they can find more details.

 

Engage With Your Followers

The majority of your customers will be well clued up on social media and how it works. It is now part of everyday life. So use Vine to engage with your followers and starting a conversation by using a Vine video.

There are so many inventive ways that you could do this. For example one bookstore owner doesn’t ask what book his followers are reading. Instead, he gives visual clues as to what HE is reading and gets his followers to try and guess what it is. Genius!

 

Give A Tour

People are naturally curious so why not treat your followers to a sneaky behind the scenes glimpse of your business. You could do this from a variety of different angles such as showing off a cool piece of equipment in your workshop, or putting faces to the names of the staff in your business.  The list is endless and will thoroughly engage your clients.

 

Show Before and After

If you are in the home improvement business, a landscape gardener, a beautician, an interior designer or any other kind of business where clients expect to see results then Vine is ideal for showing impressive before and after results. If the effect is really good then it will quickly go viral and have people rushing to your site to find out more.

 

VINE (3)Celebrate the Holidays

You can show that your business is getting into the holiday spirit by creating fun videos and messages for your clients. This will help you to engage with your followers. You can also make them into marketing related videos by putting some promotions in the mix too showing your products relevant to the holidays.

Whatever you decide to do, it will go down well with your followers and they are bound to reward you with positive comments and spread the word about your video making sure it gets lots of exposure.

 

Send Out Video Invitations

Use Vine to build up interest around any event that you might be planning by sending out a personalized invite to people that you want to visit your store, enter a contest or attend a seminar.

This is a particularly effective promotional idea: If you are attending a trade show get people to visit by doing a vine based “Where’s Wally” type promotion. Get your followers to watch the video and see if they can spot your logo at the show then offer a prize for the correct answers when they visit your booth. It works a treat.

 

Public Relations

Social networking has done a lot to ‘humanize’ companies and Vine is no different.

An excellent way to gain a new audience and potential customers is to show off your company being charitable or even of your and your employers having fun. If your company is throwing a Christmas party for example, post a video of your employees singing a Christmas carol. It is a nice touch and a fun way to interact with your customers.

 

Getting Followers To Your Trade Show Or Conference

We mentioned a great idea above for getting people to visit your trade show but here is another effective way that businesses are using Vine to great effect:

Use a Vine video with your conference hashtag to let people know when the conference or trade show is starting. You could even show a video of the speaker or your booth in the video too. It is a perfect way to attract a targeted audience and get additional visitors to your event.

 

VINE (1)Bring People Inside Your Store Or Restaurant

The Internet is global but Vine is ideal for local businesses marketing to a local audience. Show your fans and followers how attractive your store or restaurant is and invite them to come and visit. You could even host a special event to bring extra footfall into your business.

Hopefully this article has provided you with inspiration and shown you how effective Vine can be for your business.

However, just before you dive in here are another 3 tips that will really help your videos to shine and encourage fans to spread the word and make them viral.

 

Think Before You Press Record

What makes Vine so different to many other video marketing strategies like YouTube for instance is this: you can’t upload something that you have already made. You cannot edit your video or go backwards once you get started. It really is a “one-take” process.

So with this in mind it’s important to know exactly what you want to record before you begin. Start by creating a simple storyboard or sketch out what kind of shots you want before you begin. Plan carefully what you want to film, the angle of the shots and how long you want each shot to appear for.

 

Consider lighting and Stillness

I know it sounds obvious but your vine video will work best if you have proper lighting and a series of steady shots. This is even more vital to remember if you are going to be using Vine to brand yourself online or wanting to show off your products and services.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just spend a few extra minutes planning your location and perhaps invest in an iPhone tripod to help keep your shots steady. It will make all of the difference to how well your videos will be received.

 

Sound Or No Sound

A lot of Vine videos don’t have any sound in them and that is fine if you don’t want sound in yours either. However, it may sound obvious but the Vine app will still record sound when it is being used. If you really don’t want sound in your video then you are going to have to find a very quiet location to film your video and try not to breathe too heavily when creating your video.

If on the other hand you WANT sound in your video you might want to consider buying a dedicated mic for your phone or experiment with the mic that comes with your iPhone headphones.

 

Using Vine To Reach A Global Audience and How We Can Help

 

If you have already experimented with Twitter you will know firsthand how effective a tool it is and why so many successful businesses use it as part of their marketing strategy.

With the addition of Vine it will help keep your audiences engaged and reach an even bigger and broader audience than ever before.

Businesses are experiencing great results because the short videos create memorable impressions on their target audience and promote the business or product very fast by encouraging their target audience to spread the word and make the video go viral.

Businesses need all of the help they can get to get their product and services out there in front of the general public. By using social platforms such as Vine it is one of the best opportunities to grow your business through self-promotion and advertising.

Like all effective marketing strategies it can take a while to get to grips with how the media works or how to use it to its fullest potential.

This is how we can help. We have the experience required to help your business reach a much broader audience and attract brand new customers.

If you need any advice or would like to ask more about the marketing services we provide please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be glad to help.

 

VINE (5)

A Two-minute Crash Course: Vine in 6 easy steps

 

Step one

Download and install the Vine app for your iPhone, iPod, iPad or Android phone.

 

Step two

Create a Vine account using your Twitter profile or email address.

 

Step three

Find people to follow by going to your profile and clicking the People icon at the top right of the screen. You can also go to your settings and use the Find People option under Friends.

 

Step four

Connect your Facebook account to share videos on Facebook as well.

 

Step five

Click the video camera icon to start recording videos. Tap your finger on the screen to record and release stop recording.

 

Step six

When you’re finished, click continue to share your video on vine, Twitter and Facebook.

It is that easy. Now you can get creative and make your brand go viral.

 

Why Being Mobile-Friendly Is Essential For Any Business Today

 

“It’s only a mobile phone!  What’s the point in making a website for that?  You can’t see much on them anyway?  If they’re interested they’ll look at it on their computer.”

MOBILE_FRIENDLY (1)What are we talking about?  We are talking about how a website looks when someone uses a mobile phone or tablet to view it.  Many, many small businesses have not chosen to make their website mobile-friendly, but does it really matter?  Do small businesses really need to spend time and money to make a more design-responsive website?

Before making any decision that could cost money, a business is wise to look at whether there is a demand for what they are considering doing, but most importantly, whether it will have a positive, beneficial effect on their business and hence on their profits.

When the first cellphones were introduced back in the mid 1990’s, it was hard to imagine that these heavy, clumsy, over sized ‘portable’ phones would dramatically evolve into a tiny device that fits into the hand and would be capable of letting people instantly communicate verbally and visually globally with one another.

What was once science fiction is very much now science fact.  All manner of daily activities are logged, recorded and shared on these devices.  And once people had the capability to access the internet on their phone, regardless of where they were, smartphone development really began to accelerate.  This portability has led to the rise of the mobile device but the decline in traditional desktop computers sales.

If you still need proof of how popular smartphones and mobile devices are, The Guardian newspaper reported in July 2013 that 90% of all phones sold were smartphones, with over 1.8 billion smartphones in existence at that time.  Leading social media site Facebook recognized the importance of being mobile-friendly to its users.  Because people were posting details of their lives as they lived them, it was crucial Facebook was able to offer a smooth and easy user experience, which could fit into the portable devices people carried with them.  Facebook’s designers claim it can be viewed and used smoothly on around 7,000 different portable devices.  The fact that there are so many different mobile devices is mind boggling.

There can be no doubt that if you want your business to prosper, you need to keep up with how people are shopping and where they are going to shop.  Gone are the days when most people took time out of their evening or weekend to sit browsing on their desktop computer.  People can access the web at anytime and anywhere they can get a mobile signal.  It’s no longer about how a site looks; it’s all about speed – how fast they can get the information they are looking for?

People are internet window-shopping whenever they have a spare 5 or 10 minutes waiting for a bus, sitting in their car, on the park bench in their lunch hour or in the coffee shop.  They don’t want to look at a pretty site design.  They want a responsive site that loads quickly (less than 5 seconds), is easy to navigate around on their small device and a site where it is quick and simple to find the information they want.

 

MOBILE_FRIENDLY (2)How Do I Know If My Site Is Mobile-Friendly?

That’s easy…just have a look!  You may have looked at your site on your computer when your designer first finished it, but that may have been a number of years ago now, before mobile technology really came to the fore.  You need to see if you have a responsive web design that will adapt itself seamlessly to the main percentage of mobile gadgets.

Take a look on your own phone, as well as on other mobile devices.  Type in your web address and see what comes up.  Notice:

  • How fast the site took to load up fully
  • How does your site header and logo appear?  Can you see them both in full or are parts of them missing?
  • How does the navigation bar appear?  Can you access all the different tabs or buttons easily?
  • Is your home page showing up with some of the content cut off?  Or is everything laid out in a simple, easy to access template?

If your site isn’t there in full and quickly, then you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, and that can be a big concern for your business.  Over 80% of all local searches done on the internet are now done on mobile devices.  Almost 50% of 18-25 year old website visitors consider their mobile phone as their primary computer, and that number will only go up, not down, as children grow up with more advanced technology.  So if your customer is looking for you, the response of your website to their mobile device will determine whether or not they even browse your site.

There is no need to panic just yet.  There is nothing here that can’t be changed or improved upon.  Here are some really useful tips to consider when looking to make your website more mobile-friendly:

 

1.  It’s Mobile

It might seem an obvious thing, but it is sometimes overlooked.  There is no point creating a mobile site if nobody goes to it.  When someone types in your web address on a mobile device, they don’t use a separate mobile URL.  It’s the same one as your main website.  So make sure your server is set up to recognise mobile devices and to automatically direct them through to the mobile version.

 

2.  Less Is More – Part 1

It’s pointless creating a mobile site if you cram it so full of content that the user has to wade through screen after screen of text to try and pick out what they want.  Because your information is being viewed on a much smaller screen, realistically you can’t add all the in depth information you would have on a site viewed on a computer.

Your visitor hasn’t come to your site to learn more about you.  They are there because they want something specific – your address, contact number or a product.  So don’t cram each small page with as much text as you can get on, but add less (but more relevant) information to your mobile site in a condensed form.  You want to make your visitor work less, not more, to find what they are looking for.  If there is something that needs further explanation, like a full product description, then don’t be afraid to add in a link back to your full site.

 

MOBILE_FRIENDLY (3)3.  Less Is More – Part 2

It’s not just the content on your site that needs to be trimmed down.  You need to look at simplifying how your visitor navigates around the mobile site.  No-one wants to have to click here, then there, swipe and scroll and click again just to find your telephone number.  Consider why visitors will use your mobile site and then put useful information within easy reach and the minimum of clicks.

The way your navigation looks is also important.  Users want to be able to scan the home screen and immediately see where they need to be to get what they want.  So keep your navigation clear and concise – don’t hide your navigation behind images.  It is too confusing especially when they don’t have the roll over or hover features.  It may look great on your main site, but it will annoy, frustrate and finally put off many visitors through the lack of friendly usability.

 

4.  Less Talk, More Action

The rule to remember is mobile users have less time to talk and want to use that time to get the information they want and go.  They certainly don’t want to have to fill out a 20 field opt-in form just to get a little information.  The more fields a user has to fill out, the more unhappy they become.

When you need information from your mobile visitor, make sure you only add fields that are ABSOLUTELY necessary, and not what type of movies they like or whether they drink a brand of cola.  You will engage your visitor more by giving them what they want quickly than by getting them to give you non-essential information.

 

5.  Don’t Forget – It’s Your Site

Just because your mobile site is going to be viewed on a small screen doesn’t mean you have to leave out the most important thing – Your Brand Identity!  When someone comes to your site, whether it’s the mobile site or your full website, they should be able to identify it immediately as yours.    So use your corporate colors and logo together with your brand style on both sites so your visitor is confident both sites belong to the same company – yours!

 

6.  Bigger Is Better

How many times have you tried to tap the screen on your phone and missed the tiny button you were aiming at?  Fingers come in all shapes and sizes.  You wouldn’t expect a 6 foot 3 inch wrestler to have delicate slender fingers.

You may not be able to give people the option to change the size of button, but you can increase the button size to ensure visitors have a much easier time selecting the button they want.

The other thing you need to make bigger is the font size.  It might seem logical that because you are using a smaller device, the text should be smaller too.  But, in fact, the opposite is true.  Because everything is being scaled down, you need to increase the size of font, otherwise your content will be unreadable.  But this can work to an advantage.  You can highlight features or areas of the screen by the selective use of color and larger, bolder fonts to pick out certain words and help the user understand the page more quickly.

 

MOBILE_FRIENDLY (4)7.  Communicate The Essentials

It is easy to assume that visitors to your mobile site come there for exactly the same reasons as visitors to your mobile site, and so you arrange your site information in the same way.  But is that actually the most likely explanation?

Visitors using a computer at home do not necessarily want the same thing as someone who visits your site on a mobile device.  If someone local to your business is visiting your mobile site, they are most likely away from home using their mobile device because they want to know something more physical about your company.  They could want to know your address or what hours you are open so they can make a personal visit.  Or they may wish to contact you to make a booking or ask a question.  They may even want to know what services you provide.

Whatever you eventually decide are the reasons someone would use your mobile site, make sure those pieces of information about your business are some of the first things that they can see and access.

 

8.  Make Sure It Works!

Once you have made all the adjustments and changes to your mobile site, don’t forget to check everything works.  Just because you can see your click-to-call function pops up, it doesn’t automatically follow that it will connect to your number.  So check every pop-up, link and interactive function to ensure not only that they work, but that they work the way you want them to.  Nothing is so frustrating to your potential customers as something that doesn’t work.

The whole aim of making your website more mobile-friendly is to increase the positive experience of your users.  If people can come to your site and get the information they need quickly and easily, they will return back the next time confident that you have what they want.

Very few mobile browsers return to a site that is slow to load, complicated or makes them spend ages hunting down what they need.  There are plenty of other businesses that do have mobile-friendly sites and they will move on to those sites without a backward glance.

By putting these guidelines into practice, you can make your user’s experience a positive one for them and a profitable one for you.

 

 

How Online Customer Reviews Can Impact Your Local Business

Owning a business is no easy feat; mainly due to the fact that you have to constantly cater to the needs of your customers. Customer loyalty is one of the most important aspects of making a business successful because, without customers, businesses simply wouldn’t exist.
Regardless of the type of local business you own, the most important thing you need is a positive reputation. There are a lot of businesses out there that gain and lose customers on a daily basis. The loss or the gain of customers largely depends upon the reputation a business has in many cases.
The internet has allowed people to become vocal with their opinions about just about everything – including how they feel about companies they do business with.
People leave online reviews for the whole world to see about businesses and the products and services they offer.  This is why it is crucial that you stay on top of what is being said about your company online.
When it comes to having a positive online presence, your company will reap the benefits no matter how large or small it is. In other words, every satisfied customer you have will bring you even more customers.
On the flip side, if your online presence contains some negativity, your business could be critically challenged.
Due to the internet, no business can dream of creating a positive image for itself unless most of their customers are happy. Local business owners are still adapting to the concept of “online reputation management.” However, it is becoming more and more apparent that in order to make a name for your company in your local area, you have to receive beneficial online feedback from your local customers.
People turn to the internet when it comes to finding local businesses that have products and services they need.  If your business has received positive customer reviews from your local customers, then other people will read those reviews and become interested in buying your services and products as well.
All feedback should be welcome as long as it is legit. Getting feedback from your unhappy customers is just as important. Receiving negative feedback will allow you to improve the operations of your business and correct the shortcomings it may have. Honest customer reviews will provide you with some real insight regarding your products and services, as well as your customer service.
When it comes to local business, valuable customer reviews play an important part in local online marketing. We all know that the internet has become an important source when people want information. When searching for a service or a product, people make use of search engines. These search engines display different links. Most people usually stop at the results near the top of the page.
By receiving online customer reviews on your site or in other directories, you will be able to rank higher in the search engine results. The more reviews you have, the more people can learn about your business through the internet.
Furthermore, a nice amount of customer reviews can also help put your potential customers at ease. It’s comforting to see that other people in your area have dealt with a business before you decide to give them a try.
As mentioned above, the advent of the internet and other social media technology has made it easy for consumers to share their thoughts about companies. Some local business owners might be afraid of this development because it gives consumers the power to say whatever they want about a business and it’s posted for the whole world to see.
However, if business owners take the initiative to monitor the top channels, then they can transform everything into positive advertising.
When people see advertisements on television, in newspapers or listen to them on the radio, they know that these advertisements are paid by the business itself; and that’s why they portray such a positive image.
However, most people today are more interested in knowing about personal opinions that aren’t biased, which is why they turn to online reviews first to find the information they seek.
Online reviews are written by real people that potential customers can relate to. This is why consumers are more influenced by online customer reviews than by advertisements they see all around them.
According to a study (http://www.searchinfluence.com/2012/02/importance-of-online-reviews/), the most trusted forms of advertising are the recommendations made by other people, followed by the customer reviews posted online. This study was conducted a few years ago, and the trend still hasn’t changed. People strongly take online reviews into account when they want to make a ‘buying’ decision. That’s why you need to receive customer reviews and fully manage your reputation online.
You can think of every customer as a brand ambassador who can express positive or negative opinions about your business. That’s why customer satisfaction should be among your top priorities.
However, if someone has a negative opinion about your business, then you need to reach out to him or her and resolve the issue they have. Feedback is very important to know how well your business is catering to the needs of your customers and what can be improved.
In the business world, reputation is everything. If you have a positive reputation, then you will be able to attract customers. But if there’s negativity surrounding your company, and you are unable or unwilling to do anything about it, then people won’t be interested in doing business with you.
According to the findings of the Local Consumer Review Survey 2012 (http://searchengineland.com/study-72-of-consumers-trust-online-reviews-as-much-as-personal-recommendations-114152), it was reported that there’s a positive shift in the number of people who trust and appreciate the reviews that are posted online for them to read.
In the survey, consumers were asked about the thing they trusted the most when making a decision to buy something. 72% of the consumers said that they trusted online customer reviews as much as they trusted personal recommendations. 52% of the consumers said that positive online customer reviews urges them to use local businesses.
According to the study, 15% of the consumers said that they didn’t use the internet to find a local business, while 16% said that they used the internet every week in order to search for a local business. 58% of the consumers trust businesses having a positive online presence and 52% of the consumers are likely to refer a local business based on the positive reviews posted online.

How to Encourage Your Customers to Leave Online Reviews

Due to the fact that most consumers say that online reviews help them make purchasing decisions, you may be wondering how to get your customers to write honest, positive reviews.
The amount of reviews your company has counts a lot. Many search engine results display business links in a descending order when it comes to reviews. This means that the businesses that have more reviews are displayed at the top, followed by the ones having fewer reviews.
That’s why the more reviews you have, the better. However, you have to be extremely careful in your approach.
Businesses who aggressively solicit their customers for reviews can turn their customers off and could result in receiving some negative reviews instead.
Also avoid posting fake reviews at all costs. There are a lot of companies out there that post fake reviews on their sites in order to fool their customers. Fake reviews won’t get you very far and many of your potential customers can spot fake reviews from a mile away.
They are more likely to respond to genuine, valid reviews – even if there are a few negative ones in there, which is to be expected. No one is perfect.
There are a lot of ways you can encourage your customers to write honest reviews of your services or products …
Here are some quick tips that will help you get more reviews from your customers:

Make it EASY for Your Customers to Write Reviews

If you really want your customers to leave reviews for your business, make it easy for them by taking steps to help them do so. For instance, you can provide links to your review pages on your website. This way, your customers can easily go directly from your website to your review pages and leave reviews.
You can even help your customers out by giving them some tips on how to write customer reviews and where they can post them. This is the perfect way to get them started.
You can also show the actual reviews and testimonials on your official website, which can also help to encourage others to leave a review. Not only that, but this will also lead to more conversions for your business.
If you choose to work with a professional Online Reputation Management company, they will help you market your reviews to their fullest potential.

Ask Customers Who Come Into Your Establishment for Reviews

When your customers come into your establishment, be sure to ask them for a review in some form or fashion. For instance, you could ask them on the back of receipts, on menus, or simply have your staff ask for them.
Leaving pamphlets or postcards with your customers asking for reviews is another approach that works well.
You can also have an “onsite review station” setup in your establishment where your customers can leave reviews for you right on the spot. There’s nothing better than getting a review from a satisfied customer who just purchased from you.

Show Your Customers HOW to Leave Reviews

Consumers today are extremely busy; so much so that many still do not take the time out to leave reviews for products and services they love. Not only that, some consumers don’t want to take the time out to figure out where to leave reviews and how to submit them.
Therefore, you can help them out by giving them something that will show them how to leave reviews for your business. Doing so could boost your credibility as well as profits.

Ask for Customer Reviews in Your Emails & Direct Mail

If you send out emails via an autoresponder to your customer list, you should ask them to leave reviews for your company from time to time. Many customers may intend to do so, but neglect to do it for some reason or another.
So a friendly reminder every now and then is just what you need to get your customers engaged with your business and tell the world how much they love you.
The same applies for your direct mail campaigns. Simply reminding consumers that you exist could be enough to urge them to leave a review for your company – especially if you ask them to do so.

Utilize the Power of Social Media

Since you’re already connecting with some of your customers via social media, it is the perfect place to ask for reviews and feedback. Customers who are involved in social media like to “socialize” with the businesses they follow.
On sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and others, it is fairly simple to shoot a message to your audience and many are likely to respond. Therefore, take advantage of this opportunity by asking them for reviews and feedback often.

Encourage Them to Put Their Reviews on Multiple Sites

Some of your customers probably leave reviews on one review site, whether it’s Google+ Local, Yahoo Local, Yelp or others. However, it always works in your business’s favor to have as many reviews across multiple review platforms as possible.
Not only will this increase your online visibility, but it should increase the number of customers coming through your doors. If consumers find that your business has a lot of great feedback on multiple review sites, it will boost your trust and credibility tremendously.

How Negative Reviews Play a Part in Your Struggle to Generate New Customers

As stated earlier, having some negative reviews is part of the game. In fact, consumers might begin to suspect something fishy if all they see are good or ‘five’ star reviews.
No matter how great your products and services are, there will always be at least one unhappy customer that will leave an online review.
The problem is that a lot of business owners ignore negative reviews, which can be harmful for your company’s reputation. Not responding could give the indication that you simply do not care about that unhappy customer’s concern. If you do, show the world that you care by responding to their online complaint in a positive manner.
If you receive a negative review, do not argue with the reviewer. Yes, a negative review can decrease your online reputation. However, you will only make it worse by picking a fight with the reviewer. Arguing with an unhappy customer may lead to them spreading even more negativity about y our company, which leads to even more chaos.
On the other hand, giving a positive response shows that you are open to criticism, willing to hear what the reviewer has to say, and willing to correct the problem. By responding in a positive manner, you will also encourage positivity from other customers.

How to Build and Maintain a Positive Online Reputation

Every local business owner wants to receive as many customers as possible. In order for you to attract potential clients, you need to make sure that your business has a positive reputation. We all know that the internet has allowed people to share their thoughts with almost everyone around the globe.
People make use of internet search engines when they want to decide about buying a product or service. A lot of businesses run advertisements in order to attract potential customers and attempt to create a positive reputation.
However, trends have shown that potential customers are more influenced by what other people have to say about a business and the recommendations they make.
The internet has become ‘social’ and that’s why everyone is interested in sharing their opinions. They might write an online review on a review site, or they might voice their opinions on various social-networking sites.
Just as your customers are utilizing the internet to voice their opinions, your business has to make use of the internet in order to build and maintain a great online reputation.
Simply put, the more positive your reputation, the more potential customers you will be able to attract.
Here are some tips about how you can build and maintain a positive online reputation:

1. Monitoring the Customer Review sites

You can think of customer review sites as “local directories” that enable people to express their opinions regarding various businesses present in the directories.
People utilize these directories to find businesses that are able to provide them with the products or services they want. They can browse through the various businesses and many make their decisions based on the customer reviews.
Some of the sites that are key players include: Yelp!, Google Local, City Search and Yahoo Local. There are also directories that only cater to specific business industries like local restaurants, dentists, lawyers, etc. Being an active part of these sites can help you build a positive reputation.

Some of the things you can do in order make use of these review sites are:
  • Register Your Business
First thing first, you need to create accounts on the most popular local review sites and directories so your business can be included in the listings.
If you find that your business is already present in the listings, you still have some work to do. Some directory listings post incorrect information about businesses, which could impact your visibility.
Therefore, you have to take control of your listings by completing them, claiming them, and verifying them.
Make sure your profiles are completely filled out with accurate information, add images to your profile, and add any additional beneficial links that can attract potential customers.
  • Respond to Reviews
As stated earlier, don’t start to panic if you happen to find a negative review regarding your business on these review sites. People have a right to their opinions and all we can do is respect them. The best thing to do is try to handle the situation in a proper, positive manner.
If the complaint is legit, be sure to post how you plan to correct it.
  • Form a Bond with Customers
Not only is it important to respond to negative reviews; it’s equally important to respond to positive reviews. Doing so creates somewhat of a “bond” with your happy customers and will keep them coming back.
Responding to positive reviews also shows consumers that you really do care about what your customers think and are grateful for their feedback.
  • Monitor and Keep Track of What is Being Said
In order to see when and where people mention your business, you need to monitor everything. There are many ways to monitor what is being said about your business. You can simply “Google” your business’s name or you can even set up alerts. With alerts, you will be able to monitor when someone writes a review on a site or mentions you online.
By knowing about the reviews that people write online, you will be able to reach out to those reviewers and interact with them immediately. If someone writes a negative review online, you will be able to resolve the issue quickly with them.

2. Blogging

Creating a blog can also help you build a positive online reputation. By creating a blog you can provide more information about your company to your customers. You can share images and other types of useful content and information with your customers.
Having a blog will also allow you to provide a place where your customers can ask questions, and you can provide them with the answers relating to your business.
You can provide links to positive reviews written by customers on other sites. Updating your blog consistently will also help your business to rank high in search engine results.

3. Creating Positive Content

The internet search engines are the key players you should know about when it comes to managing your online image. When consumers perform searches for local products and services, the results presented at the top of search engine results receive more traffic, and that’s why your business needs to rank high.
The more frequent, unique content, the higher you will rank. This is why it is critical that you create positive content about your business consistently and make it rank high in the search engine results.
Different sources like customer review sites, social-networking sites and blogs can help you build a positive reputation for your business. However, your work won’t end here.
Even if you use these sources in order to build a positive reputation for your business, you will need to work hard in order to maintain it. The biggest challenge which you will have to face is the negative online reviews you will receive. A negative review can come as a shock to most business owners.
However, it happens to a lot of businesses, so there’s no reason to become upset by it. By remaining calm you will be able to respond to negative reviews in a proper manner.
When it comes to maintaining a positive reputation, the manner you reply to your customer is very important. If you are able to show your customers that you value their opinions, and you are able to provide them with a sincere reply, it will be very beneficial for your business.
The most important thing you need to keep in mind is to always think of the future. Before you do something, stop for a second and access how such an action will help your business. Will it be beneficial for you in the long run?
Taking part in customer review sites, social-networking sites or creating a blog might not benefit you immediately. However, all of these things will help you in the time to come. You will be able to build a positive reputation for your business. By working hard and monitoring what customers say about your business and replying to them in an appropriate manner, you will be able to maintain a positive reputation online for your local business.

Conclusion

Though all of this might seem easy to do, making use of all the sources in a proper and effective manner is not easy. The internet is vast, and that’s why it needs to be used effectively in order to develop a positive presence of your local business.
By receiving positive online customer reviews, the reputation of your company can flourish. It will tell potential customers that other people prefer your business over your competition and this will lead to an increase in sales conversions.
Monitoring the top channels and keeping track of the customers who leave reviews requires practice and expertise. That’s why if you want to make sure that your business is being promoted in an effective manner on the internet; you need to make use of an effective online reputation management service.