When was the last time you ‘Googled yourself’ (or your business brand)? Yesterday? Last week? A few months ago? Never?? *Shudder* You can’t even wrap your head around how many different websites there are right now talking about you. And if you aren’t on top of it – you might be losing out on potential sales.
I’ve mentioned this in a previous article, but there was a comment made on a Yelp page made about my family’s farm and how they ‘really don’t make their own ice cream like they claim.’ The fact that Young’s makes its own ice cream is one of the major selling points of why people visit our farm – so if people were to read that comment and believe it – they may not visit. Lost business. Because I saw it on Yelp, we were able to dispel that myth and people were able to see that we were involved in that community enough to comment.
How can you keep track of what people are saying if you don’t take the time to search it out? We’ve all heard the old adage that only 10% of upset customers will let you know about the problem, but every one of them will tell 25 of their friends about the bad experience. With the average Facebook person having well over 100 friends, that number is probably outdated. Go ahead, take a break from reading this to log in to Facebook and search out your brand there – see what people are saying – you’ll be surprised at the amount you can learn from what people are saying behind your back.
Here are 5 tips to take charge of your online presence:
1) Google Yourself
You should search out your name or brand on (at least) a weekly basis. That way you can cull the information of what people are saying now about you. Put up a new steak special and think people are loving it? Think again. It is also worth setting up Google Alerts with pertinent keywords on a daily or weekly basis. I do that for all of my clients to keep track of things that may be going on outside of my normal searching around.
2) Get on Facebook & Twitter
One of the best things you can do is have a sounding wall for people to praise or complain. Better they do it out in the open for you to respond to than for them to do it in the depths of the internet where you’ll never find out what they said.
3) Get Involved on Yelp, Urbanspoon, etc (If you are a restaurant, etc)
Yelp, Urbanspoon and the like are getting a lot more attention from your customers than you’d think. With the smartphone market booming, people are looking to their phones to recommend a great place to eat or visit. If you manage your presence on these platforms, you can control what pictures, information and prices go up. While you can’t control the reviews, you can respond to the negative ones and make a bad situation better.
4) Put Your Head in a Hole and Hope Nothing Bad Happens
You could do that, but I’m not sure your results will be promising. Taking the route of ignoring the hoards of people talking about you or your brand online will only make things worse. All that does is show that you just don’t care about what people are saying. And once you get over that early teenage girl mentality of “I don’t care what they think about me” you’ll realize that ignoring the chatter is the worst thing you could possibly do.
5) Hire Someone Like Me (or just hire me, since you’re already here)
You may be like most of the business owners in the world that just don’t have the time to do all this (but still realize the value in it). Hiring someone to help manage your online presence may be the best marketing dollars you can spend these days.