When you start your new franchise, it is important to keep a close watch on your online reputation. Many of your customers will take the precaution of carrying out a quick Google search for reviews and for information about your franchise before deciding whether to deal with you. You can also be sure that a significant number will comment about their experience on social media.
It is absolutely essential to remain aware about what a Google search reveals about your business and you. Remember that poor reviews and negative comments can do a great deal of harm to your new franchise. Fortunately, there are several ways by which you can control the situation.
In fact, there are many ways to build and enhance your online reputation. This will ensure that the first impression that a prospective customer gets about you is positive.
Here are some of the steps that you should consider taking:
Check your social media feeds
What turns up when your name or your business name is Googled? The images and the information that you see will fall into two broad categories. The first is the material that you have put up yourself on Facebook or on other social media. If there is anything that you would rather that others don’t see, you should remove that immediately.
A picture of you and your friends may look good on your Facebook page but you may not want your prospective customers to see it. Similarly, comments that you have made on Twitter may reflect your personal views, but they could alienate some of your clients.
You should do a quick review and delete whatever you think may impact you negatively.
But what about the material that others have put up?
Contact the website that contains inaccurate material about you
If any website contains information that you consider to be inaccurate or defamatory, you can approach the website owner and ask for it to be removed. Approaching Google directly is not really an option. They are only obligated to delete material that breaks the law. This is restricted to details like your bank account number, your social security number, or your medical records.
In most instances, the website will not accept your request unless what has been mentioned is blatantly untrue. Even then, you may have a difficult time convincing the Webmaster. The next option is to contact the reviewer directly.
Dealing with online complaints
As your franchise grows, you cannot avoid getting some unfavorable online reviews. It is simply not possible to satisfy every customer that buys from you. What you must remember is that the manner in which you tackle a negative comment can have a great impact on your business.
When a customer criticizes you on social media or on a review site, make sure that you respond. Ignoring the complaint is possibly the worst step that you can take. Open up a channel of communication and hear the customer out. Apologize if you are at fault and quickly take remedial action.
If you manage to successfully resolve the complaint, ask the customer to post a message indicating that the issue has been sorted out.
Establish your presence on the web
Your franchise must have an individual website. It is not enough to be listed on the corporate site. Your website is the first place that a potential customer will look for information about your business and the facilities that are on offer. An individual website will also ensure that you are found more often and it will allow you to communicate in a better manner with the customers in your area.
Make it a point to update your site at regular intervals. You can do this by including a news section and a blog. Posting relevant and useful information on your site on a regular basis is a good way to keep your clients engaged.
One way to capture the attention of a visitor to your website is to include customer testimonials. A client’s positive feedback about your franchise can play a role in boosting your business. The testimonial should point out the manner in which your business helped the writer.
Keeping track of your online reputation
Monitoring information about your franchise or yourself is an ongoing task. You should carry out this activity on a regular basis or, if your business is large enough, you can delegate this work.
It is quite a task to keep up with multiple social media platforms and review sites and to track them for information about your business. You can simplify your work by using Google Alerts. All that you need to do is to type in your search term, which could be your company name or your own name, and enter how often you want the information to be emailed to you.
Every time that your name comes up on the internet, you will receive an alert. You can set up as many alerts as you like and try out different search terms. This is one of the most effective ways of keeping a tab on what others are saying about you on the internet.