The Importance of Online Reputation Management
The storage industry has come a long way in the past few years in terms of how it views the internet as a marketing tool.
We went from seeing the internet as a small percentage of our marketing efforts to a major shift - moving marketing dollars from the more shall we say antiquated Yellow Page advertising to online avenues such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yelp.
With the emergence of 3rd party review sites such as Yelp, CitySearch, and some recently implemented technologies like hcards we’re seeing the search landscape change.
More searches like what you see above are cropping up in the search results. These new results are reviews people have made on sites such as Yelp, CitySearch, InsiderPages, etc. that Google and other search engines have picked up and are showing in the search results.
The trend as we’re seeing it makes it vital for you to maintain a positive profile on these 3rd party websites. These reviews aren’t going away, in fact quite the opposite. More and more review sites are taking over the organic results and will continue to grow.
The web has morphed into this place where everything positive and negative people are saying about your storage facility is being recorded. The bad news is, studies have shown on average people are 8 times more likely to leave a review if they are upset with a service or product. This is especially true on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
So what are your options? You can hire an online reputation management firm to monitor what and where people are talking about your facility but that can get extremely costly averaging anywhere from $250 per month on upwards.
You also have the option to do it yourself on a smaller scale armed with a very simple tool. It’s called Google Alerts, one of the most underused Google tool available.
What you do is, you setup an alert for your storage facility and every mention your facility gets that Google finds will result in an email to you. Granted, it’s far from the most thorough tool available but it’s free and can be fairly effective.
Unfortunately like most free options, you do get what you pay for. So you are limited to one search engine (Google) not to mention it’s far from 100% accurate at picking these items up. Don’t forget about social either, Google alert will not pick up what is being said on social platforms such as Twitter where much of the discussions take place.
With all of that said, Google alerts are better then nothing.
Mike, I found a negative review, what do I do?
Currently we are running an online reputation management ‘add-on’ for our search marketing clients and it is in beta so you have to be invited to sign up. However, for these cases where we’ve found a negative review it’s usually within 24 hours of it being posted.
We recommend responding directly to the review as the owner/managment company. If it’s a problem with a manager let people know you’re working on correcting the problem. Let’s be honest, if you ticked off the individual enough that they wrote a scathing review you are not going to sway that person to the other side. You’re not going to convince them one way or the other so don’t try. Use this negative review to put a positive spin on your brand. Someone had a problem with your facility, and in a very timely manner you are responding letting others know that you value their business, that you are saddened by their experience but that you’re working towards fixing the issue and it’s become your top priority.
What was a negative review has now been spun around to a positive - you come off as the caring facility who actually pays attention to it’s customers and that puts you in the one-in-a-million category.
What not to do with a negative review
Don't try to change history. Many online reputation firms are more interested in burying negative reviews or threatening reviewers with attorney letters.
I’m not going to get into an ethics debate here, it’s your company. However I will say being reactive to a negative review in a timely fashion is great but if there is a problem you need to fix it. If there is a pattern of legitimate negative reviews no amount of company responses will help - you need to eliminate the problem.
Whether you own a storage facility or a cake shop, offer a great product at a great price and people will talk positively about it. If you have cheap labor in at the manager position don’t be surprised if you begin to see a pattern of negativity when people talk about your facility.
If someone writes a negative review about your storage facility more often then not you deserved it. So address the issue, ensure it wont happen again, and then let the online community know you take these complaints seriously.
Interested in what M4S can do for you? Feel out our free no-obligation proposal. Not good enough? We're currently offering a free 30 minute consultation with the head of our search marketing team.
Fill out the request for proposal form and select 'free 30 min. consult.'
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