Why You Need to be Concerned About More than Google Reviews

Back in July, I wrote about Google dropping the reviews from other review sites. In reaction to that change, we’ve seen a number of dealers focusing solely on the development of positive reviews in Google, but that is a mistake. Dealers need to focus their attention beyond just Google Places to effectively manage their online reputations.

In order to have the ability to manage your reputation, you need to cover the four W’s: What are they saying? Who is saying it? Where are they saying it? When is it being said?

Consumers voice their opinions about businesses, quite literally, everywhere online. These conversations take place on Facebook, Twitter, Google Places, Yelp, discussion forums, blogs, YouTube, review sites such as Judy's Book, InsiderPages, CitySearch, etc. While Google controls a lot of traffic, Google Places is just one venue where this discourse takes place.

What happens when a consumer makes a negative statement on Facebook and it goes out to their many friends? This is a powerful message to those who feel the individual’s opinion is valuable and insightful. It is much more damaging than a negative review from an unknown individual on a review site. The friends affected by these types of “reviews” won’t even bother looking for your search listing on Google because they’ve already been tainted with an opinion, “Oh, that’s the dealer Judy had trouble with.” Never mind that Judy was all wrong with her facts. We’re out of the game with her friends, and don’t even know it.

Other sites such as Yelp (60+ million users) and CitySearch, which is visited by more than 10 million people a month, have dedicated and loyal followers who look to them regularly for business reviews. You certainly don’t want to make a bad impression with their many loyal users. In addition, the business listings on these sites show up in Google search results, so you risk exposure of negative reviews from these sites in Google, Bing, and Yahoo search results.

Negative commentary on YouTube can reach a whole new level. Just take a look at this United Breaks Guitars video, which has over 10 million views. This video will continue to cause United Airlines public relations and image problems for years.

The Internet is a massive communication and conversation mechanism, and your reputation is exposed all over it. Finding negative commentary quickly, then reacting to it immediately and decisively, is the best approach to resolving the issue. It's also the best opportunity to have the individual remove the negative comment. To ensure you have your conversation covered, you need to monitor the entire spectrum of discussions, not just one piece of it. Monitor and manage the entire online conversation about you dealership in order to fully protect your reputation.

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