What's Your Online Curb Appeal?
There is information you have control over, such as your website, personal and business social media postings, which are big contributors to a buyer’s overall impression of your business.
Then, there is the information you don’t have control over, such as news articles, court proceedings, bankruptcies, police reports, customer complaints, and other online content and posts that reference you, your business, or your employees. All of these are waiting to be viewed by potential buyers.
Consider your online business presence as being a “buyers dating website.” You want to look attractive, be appealing, and have buyers want to learn more about you. The sooner you begin to monitor and massage your online presence, the more attractive you and your business can appear to potential buyers.
Find out what others are saying about your business.
- Start by typing your business name into your favorite search engine and viewing the first three pages. Take notes on what you discover. Repeat this using at least one or two other search engines.
- Next, type in your business name, followed by the word “reviews.” Job posting websites like Glassdoor and Indeed carry employee reviews, and your customers will likely post reviews of your business on the social media sites they use.
- Better Business Bureau is a go-to resource for leaving good reviews, or lodging complaints about a business.
Get clear on what your business is putting online for others to see.
Put on the “Buyer’s Glasses” and view your website from the buyer’s perspective to ensure every element is current and complete. Click on every page of your website, and on each page, click on every embedded link to ensure it works, and is taking the user where you want them to go. Is it clear that you have a well-managed online presence? Or, does your website contain outdated information or pages that are “under construction?” Ensure photos of your business are attractive, including those on your company’s websites and on social media sites.
When buyers view your business’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other social media accounts will they see you have an active presence – that you respond promptly to customer comments and post several times per week? Or, will they find an “old” account that never gets used? If social media is relevant to your business, this is the time to clean up all social media “clutter” by closing dormant accounts and committing to post regularly on active accounts.
Take action to bolster your online business presence:
Monitor what is posted online about your business. Have a system to regularly monitor online reviews of your business, and respond to negative reviews where appropriate. Consider setting up a Google Word Alert to stay in touch with what is being posted about your business, and respond accordingly. Be prepared to address both negative and positive reviews in a productive way.
Claim your local business listings. If your business hasn’t focused on its online presence, at the very least you need to make sure you’ve claimed your online business presence. For Google, check by going to https://www.google.com/business/ and typing in your business name. For more information on claiming local business listings online read this article by MOZ.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews. Talk to your customers to learn what social media sites they are using. When a customer has a great experience with your business, actively encourage them to post online reviews, and once they do, respond with a comment and thank you!
Don’t wait too late to ensure your business has a healthy and vibrant online presence! By examining your website and social media sites now, you can be certain your business is presented to future buyers in a favorable light.
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