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Develop Your Online Reputation

Online reputations can be driven by customer reviews or by the business owner. It could be best for the owner to take charge of this process.

Online Reviews Impact Consumer Choices

Some consumers will search for the product or services they are shopping for, and allow what they learn online to drive their decision. For some businesses, reviews are critical information. Restaurants are one example of a type of business that largely relies on reviews.

This has long been the case, but reviews that appeared in newspapers or magazines had limited availability, and many potential customers would never be aware of the contents of the review.

Now, reviews can be accessed by any potential customer and they are permanent in many ways, since online archives preserve almost all content that is posted on the Internet for years. While old information is available, new information will generally be ranked higher by search engines.

The fact that newer information will be easier for consumers to find than older and possibly dated information creates an opportunity for businesses to at least partly define what consumers encounter.

Consider Creating News About Your Business

Almost any business should be able to create a positive image and develop a reputation for expertise or community involvement, for example. Demonstrating expertise can be accomplished when a business is mentioned in news stories. Business owners can serve as a contact for local reporters, and provide quotes for news articles. A restaurant owner, for example, could provide comments on stories regarding inflation or employment, in addition to food or entertainment.

Community involvement could also create a positive impression among consumers. Restaurants could be involved in food banks or other local activities. SCORE, a nonprofit organization that partners with the Small Business Administration to help small businesses succeed, offers information about the importance of community involvement for small businesses, and provides information about what has worked for other companies.

Author:

Michael Carr is a small business expert who has been involved in the successful development of three small businesses.