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Your Restaurant’s Online Reputation is Critical, and You Need to Own it

Did you know that four in five consumers use search engines and social media platforms from multiple devices to find a restaurant’s address, business hours, directions, and reviews? That simple fact leads to an important question for every restaurateur: are you managing your online reputation?

What is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management is the foundation of an overall digital marketing strategy that consists of review management, business listings management, and social media management. Together, these business initiatives can help your restaurant stay competitive and relevant online. Don’t know where to start? Keep reading! 

Review Management
What consumers see online matters.  In fact, approximately 75 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Now, managing reviews can be a bit tedious, and again, some restaurant owners just do not see the value of monitoring and responding to customer reviews. However, responding to as many reviews as you can – good and bad – is a best practice. 

When customers take the time to share a good review you need to acknowledge them for supporting your business. How do you deal with negative reviews – justified or not?  A simple response is best. First, apologize that they did not have an ideal experience. It’s also important to explain that their unsatisfactory dining experience is not a typical occurrence. The next person who comes across the review will see you responded, you care, and a negative dining experience is not typical.  

And as we say, the only way to deal with a bad review is to bury it in good ones!

Business Listings Management
Very simply, business listings management ensures your restaurant is listed in the right places online, and that the information is accurate. The most important being the name, address, phone number, and website link for your restaurant.  

Now that sounds straightforward, but if consumers can’t find a listing for you quickly, they will find your competitors. You have an obligation to look after your own information online and not leave it to others. Consumers depend on you for accurate information and so does Google, the biggest online search engine.

Google relies on trusting your restaurant’s online information before suggesting you to potential customers.  Google looks at all the other websites that might have your information listed and compares it to their information. Consistent information makes Google more confident and that betters your chance to land higher in their search results!  

Social Media Management
The third aspect of managing your restaurant’s online reputation is driven by social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Social media creates the opportunity for dialogue with customers, and 60 percent of followers expect a brand to interact with them through social media.  You will build brand loyalty and lasting customer relationships by providing engaging content, exclusive special offers, and genuine responses to feedback, reviews, or questions.

Ensuring your business and brand are present and active on multiple social channels will also create the opportunity for consumers from different demographics to find and follow you. Half of consumers follow brands to indicate their loyalty, so a business’s current customer base will also increase brand awareness and visibility. The more followers a business has, the more likely it is to be seen.

What Makes a Good Online Reputation?
The most important aspects of your online footprint include…

  • the number of accurate business listings you have online
  • overall sentiment of your reviews
  • frequency of new reviews
  • overall volume of reviews
  • social platform activity and engagement 

… and YOU have the responsibility to ensure it’s as positive as it can be! 

Many businesses find that cultivating a digital profile on their own is too time-consuming.  There are reputation monitoring tools like Neighbourhood Networks that make keeping up with customers easier. With a single dashboard, you can monitor and manage your restaurant’s online presence and reputation – and save time and money along the way. 

To learn more proven methods for managing your online reputation, click here.

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