By Mike Cutlip
There are two ways to look at marketing on the Internet. One is the marketing you do for yourself; the banner ads, Google Adwords, search engine optimization, and more. The other comes from people who’ve worked with you; a post on a forum praising your service, a recommendation, or a comment about you on Facebook.
The power of recommendations from clients is that they are written by, usually, an unbiased consumer. There are numerous sites, like Angie’s List, offering this exchange between consumers, but knowing where to look and how to respond is key.
LinkedIn offers recommendation functions, but did you know you can also get features like these in a Facebook page for your business? Users can review your services and, through viral marketing, those reviews are spread to everyone that user is connected to on Facebook. The review comes from a friend and is more believable than the anonymous testimonials on many REALTOR® websites and much more valuable.
Yelp is a social networking site built around reviews of products and services, including real estate agents and brokerages. There are currently thousands of reviews on Yelp and there is no cost to view or write a review. Some of the social features of the site allow users to post their reviews directly to their Facebook account as well as “follow” other reviewers.
Even Google allows users to write reviews of products and services that appear in search results. If you run a search in Google you will notice a small icon (looking like a speech bubble) next to the URL of a webpage. This icon allows you to leave a comment that can be read by anyone else with a Google account.
Managing Your Reputation
Monitoring what’s being said about you online is critical. To do so, sign up for Google Alerts and Yahoo Alerts for your name and your business name. These free services send you e-mail updates whenever they find a webpage
matching your keywords. You can also use the search features of search.twitter.com to keep tabs on your reputation.
The most important part of managing your reputation is how you respond online. If a negative review is valid you should address the concerns, ideally on the same site as the original post.
Highlight the steps you are taking to remedy the complaint. If you are unable to respond on the same site as the original post, respond on your blog and link to the original comment. You may think this helps locate the negative article but it would likely be found anyway.
The main point is to listen to what others say about you online, respond to it, let them know how you’re improving yourself based on their comments, good or bad, and you will have customers for life.
Facebook Pages for Business: http://www.facebook.com/advertising/?pages
Google Alerts: http://www.google.com/alerts
Yahoo Alerts: http://help.yahoo.com/help/alerts/