Word of mouth marketing is the secret ingredient to the success of many local brands. Naturally, customers are the lifeblood of any organization, so reputation can either promote or poison a company’s overall success. These days, customers rely on Google and reviews to form opinions about small businesses. So, the question then becomes: Is your businesses’ online identity helping or hurting your bottom line?

To help provide better understanding on how review sites can work for small businesses, I talked with Mike Remer, CEO of Locally Liked, an expert in search for dentists and other small business owners, and a member of the Likeable Partner program. Here’s my interview with Mike:

1. What should small business owners do online that would be pivotal for their businesses?
Own their profiles/identities. Most online review sites allow you as the business owner to "claim" your listing on their site and many will even allow you to add your own content to your listing on their site.

2. Where is the best place for small business owners to begin social listening?
Where their potential customers will go, Google. When you search your business name and town you should see your name at the top, but what other sites do you also see on the first or second page? When a potential patient or customer learns of your business through a referral or any advertising media you have invested in, they are very likely to put your business name into Google and see what comes up.

3. Are there any basic steps to becoming a better social listener?

  1. Find your page on directory review sites
  2. Claim and update your listings
  3. Regularly ask for feedback and reviews
  4. Respond to all reviews


4. What essentials should businesses include in review site listing?
Go to each site and claim your listing there, add at least a description of your business, hours, payment types accepted, etc. You probably have all this info on your website now, just move it to each review directory site.

5. Why would a patient or customer want to write reviews for a business?
Because they really like the doctor/owner or business and want to help others experience the same results... It's human nature to want to help others, here they can help you and help future patients experience similar results... want proof? Go take a look at the thousands of product reviews posted on Amazon every day, people are happier when they have done something nice to help someone else.

Try it yourself, do something nice for 5 strangers tomorrow and ask yourself if you are happier at the end of the day.

6. When is the best time for business owners to ask customers for reviews?
Customers are essential in improving your company's ranking on review sites. You should encourage them to provide reviews is right after you have delivered on your promise of a great patient or customer experience.

7. How can small business owners improve social listening starting today?
Make it your goal to have you or a staff member claim and update at least one online review directory site each week until all the sites listed with your business and found on Google are updated for your practice or business.


Thanks, Mike! Now it's your turn. How have you taken control of your online brand image? Have you tried these methods before? Tell me in the comments section below. Tell me in the comments section below.