Local Businesses Need Reputation Management Too

    July 19, 2007

If you think it’s only large businesses that need to worry about their online reputation, the Wall Street Journal wants to remind you otherwise.

They take a look at the effects of negative reviews on small businesses and give an example of a spa owner who discovered she had a 2 1/2 star rating on Yelp.com.

Using Yelp’s email system, she typed out messages to each downbeat reviewer to find out more about what went wrong — and to try to make it right. And she sent a thank you to the happy customer. Then she added to her email newsletter a note encouraging regular clients to get online and share their good experiences. Several stressful months later, the spa’s rating had climbed to an acceptable four stars.

There, that wasn’t too difficult, was it?

The WSJ goes on to provide some basic suggestions for monitoring and managing the reputation of a local business, including a reminder that even small sites can impact your Google reputation.

…the search engine’s Maps service — which is automatically triggered when a location is included in a query — collates reviews from sites across the Web. For Ms. Borgman’s spa, for instance, Google currently assigns an aggregate 4-star rating based on 30 reviews culled from Yelp, InsiderPages and Citysearch. Google Maps also often provides links to blogs and other Web pages where the business has been mentioned.

You don’t need to shell out big bucks to monitor and manage your online reputation, we’ve created a free guide to online reputation monitoring.