Own your online rep

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Monday, April 1, 2019

If you’re still in the dark when it comes to what’s being said about your business online, it’s time to shine a light on it, says Christina Throndson, vice president at VGM Forbin.

“Whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, make sure you own your presence and it’s up to date,” she said. “That’s low hanging fruit.”

Throndson spoke with HME News recently to offer a few basic pointers for managing your online presence.

Google it

If you Google your business and you see “Do you own this business?” “claim” it, says Throndson.

“This allows you to have your hours on there, parking information and reviews,” she said. “It also pairs up up with your Google map (to show your location).”

The listing can be set up with a Google account so you can receive notifications and leave responses when a review is left.

“We often just think, ‘Oh, I have positive reviews, I don’t need to reply to those,’ but you absolutely do,” she said. “If I come to your business and thank you in person or on the phone, are you going to walk away or hang up? No. It’s the same thing online. That’s a huge missed opportunity to connect with your customers.”

It’s also important to have a plan to manage those reviews and in a timely manner, says Throndson.

“I am not suggesting that someone is manning it at 2 a.m.,” she said. “But, people do expect you to respond within 24 to 48 hours.

Like it

Facebook is another platform where it’s simple to manage business reviews, and if you aren’t, you should make sure no one else is, either, says Throndson.

“If you have never created a Facebook page but have customers that have ‘checked in,’ that gives users the ability to create one,” she said. “That can be a problem if you can’t control them.”

Once again, claim the business. You will be asked to verify your phone number—there’s usually an option to receive a mailed postcard with a verification code sent to your physical address.

“That proves that it’s legit and you, as the business owner, can have access to the reviews that come in and the calls that come in via that number,” she said. “It’s incredibly helpful and it’s free.”