Did you know that a small improvement in your online reputation can grow your revenue by at least 5%? Well, now you’ve got research from the Harvard Business Review to prove it. There’s a flip side, too. If you have a less-than-stellar reputation online, more popular companies will suck your customers away. If you’re under 4 stars on Yelp or Google, you’ve probably felt this vortex effect.
So we’ve established that you should prioritize your online reputation. It truly affects your bottom line. But how do you max it out? How do you get 5 star reviews over and over and over again? Here’s a proven method, courtesy of the Nimble Bar Co.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
Before we jump in, remember that a great online reputations take years to build and seconds to destroy. We’re gonna focus on the ‘build’ part of that. Our methods will speed up the process, but it’ll still take months before you see those Yelp stars begin to flow, Google+ likes increase, or positive Facebook mentions explode. The key here is perseverance and daily consistency.
6 daily proactive steps
Note the word ‘Proactive’ in the title of this section. If you’re reactive in your reputation management, you’re at the whims of the public. Proactively set goals and plan your own course. Next stop, sterling reputation!
Analyze your guest interactions with Zenreach
Guests love free WiFi, and you can leverage that love to collect important information. Zenreach uses guest wifi logins to analyze spending habits. It also collects guest contact info so you can send your patrons special offers and customized marketing material.
Most importantly, Zenreach measures your customer return rate and your new customers per day. These two metrics identify customer satisfaction. And what gets measured gets managed.
You know your regulars by site. But with Zenreach, you can interact with them via email and social media. You can give them special offers, or reward them for bringing in new customers.
The software also acts as a canary in the coal mine. You’ll know if your regulars show up less, and when your new customer visits dry up; you’ll have the numbers, not just a gut feeling. You’ll know if you need to change something. Likewise, you’ll know if you’re on the right track.
Quarantine reviews using Mytestimonialengine.com
If you’re serious about your business’ online reputation, then you need to implement a system that streamlines the process of getting reviews, addressing them, and deploying them across various review sites.
My Testimonial Engine is a software as a service product that does just that. It collects all your reviews in one place, quarantines new reviews so that you can manage them and productively address them before they go ‘live’ on various platforms, and then it enables you to deploy those reviews anywhere you want.
The beauty of this is that instead of being ‘reactive’ when you see a negative review pop up on one your channels, you can instead face the issue in a much more grounded way because your vision is not clouded by “how does this look?!” When we’re worried about looking good, we often aren’t thinking clearly.
Test new initiatives
Thanks to Zenreach, you’re now measuring your reputation every day using real numbers: spending habits, return visits, and new customer visits. Not to mention, you’re notified when anyone leaves you a review. So now you can try out reputation-building initiatives. Keep the ones that work, and change the ones that don’t. Here’s what to test:
Make social deposits
Make deposits into your bank account of social capital. Social capital is the goodwill people in your community have for you. You increase that goodwill by giving, and you don’t always have to give money. Here are some ‘gifts’ you can give to your online social friends that will build social capital:
Create likeable online interactions
Be likeable online. This is easier than it sounds. The main way to be likeable is to engage others. That’s right; the primary reason many businesses aren’t likeable online is their lack of engagement. They simply post stuff. But they don’t respond to customer comments or say thank you for mentions. Social media contains the word ‘social’ for a reason.
If you’re a bar or restaurant, people mention you online whether you realize it or not. You can use tools like Hootsuite to read all your mentions.. Make a point to check for mentions, like them, and respond to them every single time. Take it a step further and delight those who leave a comment by entertaining, informing, or demonstrating something for them.
A word of caution: when responding to negative reviews, take some time. The last thing you want to do is respond when you’re emotionally charged. We naturally want to ‘one-up’ the jerk who left us an unfair negative review. While it’s important to stand your ground, it’s very easy to come off as an asshole even to the people who are just skimming the reviews.
I’ve read cringe-worthy responses from managers and owners that serve no other purpose than make the commenter wrong and look stupid. You may want to write a long-winded explanation of what the situation was, but unless you’re an extremely entertaining writer, nobody cares.
The formula is simple: offer an apology for their experience, invite them to have a conversation about said experience, and lend them an olive-branch to come back. This communicates that your doors are always open and that your establishment is managed by an adult who can take a bit of criticism.
Ask for reviews
When a guest has an amazing experience at your establishment, ask them to leave a review. 9 times out of 10 people don’t leave positive reviews simply because they never think to or can’t be bothered.
We’ve seen bars and restaurants add up to five 5-star Yelp reviews a day by simply asking. I know restaurants that go days without ANY reviews. Imagine the impact of even just one 5-star review every day over the span of a few months. Higher overall rating, and more revenue.
Maintain a blog/vlog
Your establishment isn’t the only medium through which you can provide a valuable service. Using your own online platform is a powerful way to scale the value that patrons experience in your establishment.
If you’re like most people, when you think about starting a blog, you groan and think, “So much work!!!” Blogging doesn’t have to be hard. You can start by publishing something. Anything.
First, choose your platform. Next, start a live video on your phone and write a summary of the video. The more frequently you do this, the more you’ll engage your community rather than simply exist within it.
We recommend Facebook Live because of the user-friendly interface, and you can easily download the video and repurpose it on other platforms. Let’s put this into perspective. Imagine you run a live campaign everyday for three months. Then run the exact same campaign on a different platform one year later. The second time, though, you don’t have to create anything new. It’s the modern-day equivalent of publishing a book.
The main difference is that in the digital world, you can get WAY more granular in terms of data, so you know exactly what worked and what didn’t.
Most importantly, don’t get discouraged. Traction takes time, and we’re in the online reputation-building game for the long haul. Commit to going live every single day for 3 months, and then ask people you trust for feedback. Review some of your posts that receive the most and the least engagement once the 3 months are up.
Imagine all of the amazing things you could talk about every single day! Maybe one day you talk about the special your chef put together. The next, you showcase your bartender. What’s more, because the video is live, you are opening up a real conversation.
The bottom line
If you can engage with your community and show them you care, you’ll build a bulletproof online reputation. Not only will you grow your positive reviews, but you’ll also deter negative reviewers who notice your glowing fan base.