In the good old days when Google and Facebook were not invented, your reputation was based on what people thought of your business and who they told. Who they told was based on who their friends or colleagues were. If they were popular, they might have a bigger circle but in the whole scheme of things, unless their were the BBC or the Prime Minister, the circle tended to be rather small. So if John Bucket the roofer took $5,000 from your Aunty Beth and never fixed the roof, there was not really much you could do about it.
But that's all changed. Although instant information is great, it could seriously damage your business and you may not even be aware of it. I will explain.
For the last couple of weeks I have been looking for a car to buy. I know the model I want and found what I thought was a good one. It was listed at a reasonable price and the pictures looked good. The write up was just what I was after. I jumped onto Google and did a search. What I found was a bit disturbing.
The one that caught my eye was that someone had set up a Facebook page specifically against the business. It was enough for me to say "I will look elsewhere."
The thing is I actually do not know if the dealer was any worse than any other dealer. Was the person who set up the group a crazy ex-spouse having a go because maintenance was 2 days late or maybe the neighbour was upset because the dealer had a late night noisy party?
And that’s the thing. Anyone nowadays has the ability to trash you even if it is untrue. Which is why you need to do a Google search on your business every week. I do this habitually just to see if there is anything out there that could affect me and my business. If there are any comments not to your liking, you need to address it quickly and have a strategy to attack it.
A few months ago we had a client who had a few bad Google reviews which were posted in 2013. Our client agreed with the comments at the time but now the business was different. The problem was, those looking at the reviews did not know that and we knew we were missing out on business. The solution? We asked a number of customers who were happy to post positive reviews in exchange for $20 gift voucher. This simple trick worked and my client can see the level of online enquiries increasing.
So ask yourself "Does Google really represent the way we want to be represented?" And if it does not – What are you going to do about it?