Your business depends on your online presence. Learn how to improve your online reputation and increase business at your spa.
As a spa, salon, or wellness business, much depends on your online reputation. There are a lot of spas and similar businesses out there – all offering the same or similar services. So, how is a potential customer to choose one over the other?
What does Google say about you?
One of the first ways people are going to find you is through your online presence. They’re going to Google you and they will be looking at your website, your social channels and your reviews on websites like Trip Advisor and Facebook, as well as on customers’ own social channels. And they have to like what they see.
Research has found that a vast majority of people look online for businesses to patronize, while 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and half of consumers need to see at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business.
Does your image need a some freshening up? Here are eight steps you can take to improve your online reputation.
Do an audit of your online presence
Your first step should be to Google your business and see what comes up on the first three pages. What do you find? If your website and social accounts come up, are they up to date and well maintained? Or do you get a Twitter account you haven’t posted on since 2015, a pinned post from eight months ago, and a one-star Trip Advisor review from that terrible, angry customer from three years ago? Not good. You have to do something about that.
Monitor your presence
You can also sign up for Google alerts so you’ll know when you’re name appears in the news. This is more useful for bigger businesses with unique names. Less so if your spa shares a name with several other spas, which is sometimes the case. You should also be closely monitoring your reviews.
Clean up your blogs and social pages.
If you do have unused social channels or an idle blog page, you should either update these or think about shutting them down. Unused pages look lazy and outdated. Unfortunately, they’re all too common. This is usually simply because life is busy and it’s hard to keep up with posting to blogs and social, especially when all that other work seems to much more pressing. But it’s important to remember that your online presence, which is part of your marketing and in some cases all of your marketing, is vitally important. Without it, people can’t find you. Or when they can find you, they might not like what they see and decide to go elsewhere. You have to keep up. Delete the unused social pages or update them.
Bury the bad reviews with good ones.
You can almost never have bad reviews removed from websites, but you can bury them with good ones. This means encouraging customers to write reviews. Keep in mind that people don’t usually even think of writing reviews when we’re happy. We’re for more likely to jump online when we’re mad and want to vent. But we might write one when asked nicely. Don’t be shy about asking in person (doing so can dramatically increase your chances of getting one, according to Marketing Land) and then you can follow up and make the request in an email. When you have enough positive reviews, the negative ones will hopefully be pushed to the bottom of the pile. Note, of course, that getting those glowing reviews begins with offering an excellent guest experience. So, do that first.
Encourage clients to share on their own sites and social channels
Happy guests should be encouraged to share photos and posts to their social accounts and to tag your spa. Putting up a selfie station is one way to encourage people to post about their experiences. You can also ask if you can take photos and tag them.
Respond to reviews
Since you can’t get rid of the bad reviews, you should be responding and, when possible, trying to turn things around. Connect with the guest and ask if there is any way you can make their experience better. People will see you engaging and appreciate your involvement. I always look to see if someone responds to negative reviews when evaluating a business. If they’re truly just difficult and you are in no way at fault, you might consider telling your side of the story. This is risky and can backfire, but it can also work. Also respond to positive reviews, thanking people for taking the time to leave one. Research shows that businesses that respond to reviews get more of them and have higher average star ratings.
Get involved in the conversation
Many brands don’t understand that content and social marketing is a conversation and that means it must go both ways. Gone are the days of sending out your message in one direction. You should not only be responding to reviews, but also responding to commentary on your social pages. Keep the conversation going, and be sure to comment on and engage with other people’s posts on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Interact with others in a positive way and they will return the favour.
Do some keyword research
Look into what keywords you might use to increase your Google ranking, and incorporate them into your content. Do this as organically as possible, and resist the urge to overuse them or to “keyword stuff” as we call it.
Keep it going
Online reputation isn’t something you do once and then forget about. It is a constant process and you have to maintain it. Setting aside even one hour twice a week, or 20 minutes a day, to check in and see what needs responding to and to take care of some posting to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, will help keep you on track.
Maintaining your online reputation is work but it is necessary and will pay off in the long run.
Spa Executive magazine is published by Book4Time, the world’s most innovative spa, salon, wellness, and activity management software. Learn more at Book4Time.com.