Do you know what Google is saying about you?

Consumers in 2020 are much more prone to doing research before making decisions about what to buy and who to trust. Even when someone is a contact of yours, they still won’t know that they can turn to you when they’re thinking about using the kind of services you provide if you haven’t highlighted your strengths, your value as an expertise, and your industry resources with your marketing efforts (email marketing, social media, print marketing, etc.). Now is a great time to perform your own ‘Online Presence Audit’ so you can see what your prospects see when they are searching for you on Google. In this post you’ll learn the 6 steps you can take to easily improve your online presence plus how to coach your clients for a top-notch testimonial.

When your prospects or contacts are researching you online, what can they tell about you? What are they learning about you?

Consumers are spending time looking at review sites like Yelp, Google Places, Zillow, Facebook Business Pages, Realtor.com, your websites, and so on. They’re also asking friends for recommendations as part of their review and research process.

It’s time to put on your strategic hat and look at your online presence through the eyes of your prospects. It’s super helpful to do your own ‘Online Presence Audit’ to see what people may find and look at.

Think about it this way: If someone didn’t know that you had a website or weren’t seeing your social media posts, what could they tell about you from a Google Search?

Your website might not come up on Google in connection to your name, but other web pages and review sites may come up instead. It’s important to maximize what prospects are reading and seeing by searching for you on Google.

Now we are going to share the steps you can take to perform your own ‘Online Presence Audit’. Plus we’ll share How to Coach Your Clients for a Top-Notch Testimonial to boost your online presence.

Steps for Performing Your Own Online Presence Audit

Action Step 1: Type your name in Google.com and see what information comes up about you. If you don’t have a very unique name, you may share names with someone else that isn’t even in your city. In that case, you may need to Google “Your Name” + “Your City” to narrow it down.

In a notebook or in a Google Doc make a list of the websites that show up on page 1 of your search.

There are a range of sites that may come up from your online searching. These sites may include these and others…

  • LinkedIn Profile
  • Yelp
  • Google Places
  • YouTube
  • Facebook Profile
  • Facebook Business Page
  • Instagram Profile
  • Realtor.com, Zillow.com (for real estate agents)
  • Your website
  • Your bio
  • Your testimonials
  • Your latest listings

Action Step 2: Ask yourself, have you maximized the information on these sites to best represent you?

Follow this checklist for each of the top sites listed in step 1 above.

  1. Is the contact information complete and accurate in Google Places? This is the first piece of information Google highlights on the right hand side of a search.
  2. For each of these major directory sites, is your contact information complete and accurate? Is your profile picture a photo of you or is it a generic placeholder icon image?
  3. The same goes for your social profiles. Is your contact information available, complete and accurate? And do you have a welcoming photo of yourself as your profile picture?
  4. If you have a website, is your website included on each of these sites?
  5. Have you added your social profiles as well? Some directories and sites, like Realtor.com for example, add this option and pull in your latest posts to your profile.

Time for An Example with Realtor.com

In a Realtor.com profile the following information CAN be included in a profile:

  • Bio
  • Profile Photo
  • Years of Experience
  • Specializations
  • Areas Served
  • Brokerage
  • Listing Activity
  • Ratings and Reviews
  • Slogan
  • Designations & Certifications
  • Recent Blog & Facebook Posts
  • Recommendations

Are you making it super easy for people to get in touch with you or find you from these other sites?

If that’s where their journey is starting, are you sharing enough information for them to feel comfortable to learn more about you and then reach out. Make it as easy as possible for them to learn as much about you when they’re doing their online research about you.

Action Step 3: Even if industry specific sites don’t come up on your first page of search results, take the time to update and maximize your profiles on each so you aren’t missing out on prospects learning more about you online.

Action Step 4: Find out if you have testimonials or reviews online that you didn’t know existed.

A Word About Reviews: In an ideal world, all reviews that are out there are positive and benefit you and your credibility. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. We have known clients who have had negative reviews online that are bringing their ratings down and they didn’t even know about them.

It might be hard, but it’s better to be part of the conversation with those who have written reviews about you than to not be. Some brands do an incredible job of monitoring their reviews and if something comes up that isn’t positive, they take the conversation offline and try to make it right.

You may or may not be able to change someone’s mind about their interactions with you. This serves as a good reminder to do everything in your power to benefit your contacts and to make their experience as positive and easy as possible. Treat each person you meet as a prospective client. Even when it’s tough to deal with some people, remember that they are crucial to your business and your livelihood and that translates to your online reputation as well.

Why don’t some professionals choose take advantage of online reviews?

There are a few reasons why someone may choose not to take advantage of online reviews. Here are just a few:

  1. Reviews are essentially owned by their creator. They can’t be deleted by the business owner so these reviews become permanent whether they are positive or negative.
  1. You might be able to work with someone who has given a bad review to ask them to improve your rating, but this may not work out.
  1. Your contact or client needs to take multiple steps to be able to post to these different sites. Usually they need to sign up and create their own profile in order to write a review. With Yelp, for example, one-off review writers don’t carry the same weight as a Yelper that is constantly writing reviews. Yelp will even hide those one-off reviews because they suspect them to be false reviews. Google Places is one of the easiest places to collect reviews because they don’t require an account or profile to post.
  2. Once you have a negative review, you have to make a huge effort to collect many more positive reviews in order to balance out your skewed average from that negative review.

If you are hesitant about sending past clients to write online reviews on certain sites, that’s totally fine.

Pro Tip: Be sure to keep reviewing your online presence so that if someone does write a review, you are on top of it. If it is positive, awesome! Thank them for their contribution.

If it is negative, you may need to take a proactive approach and ask past clients to help you by writing a review on that particular site.

Action Step 5: Whether you are asking past clients to write reviews online or not, you definitely want to ask them for testimonials.

The nice thing about testimonials and reviews is that you can pull them into your overall marketing strategy – emails, website, social media posts and so on. Some clients may be proactive and ask you if you want them to share it on a review site, so be ready to answer that question. Otherwise, do your best to guide them toward the place you want them to write their feedback. Also, make sure you get their permission to quote them in your marketing efforts.

It’s great to have more current reviews so there isn’t a perception that you haven’t been in business recently. This is another reason why having a social media presence can show off your big wins and what you’ve been working on even if you haven’t gotten a review in the last 6 months or a year.

How to Coach Your Clients for a Top-Notch Testimonial

When it comes to testimonials, it’s totally fine to coach your clients by prompting them with specific questions. Which testimonial sounds more helpful to someone’s reputation?

“Juan was great!”

OR

“Juan was so knowledgeable and resourceful about where I wanted to buy in [neighborhood]. He helped me feel comfortable throughout the selling process.”

By email, you can send your clients a few prompting questions that they can answer and send back to you. You could also create a Google Form to create a testimonial questionnaire that collects the answers from your clients so you can keep your testimonials in one “hub”. Each business owner has their own preferences so do whatever is right for you.

Just remember to incorporate asking for a testimonial into your regular end of service process so you aren’t missing out of client feedback and highlights.

Give your raving fans some cues so they can help you highlight your strengths to future prospects.

Some companies are even getting creative with how they collect testimonials. Some do testimonial interviews and record their client’s responses to their questions. If you decide to do this, your client will probably need to be someone that is comfortable being on camera for you.

Send them some questions ahead of time so that they can prepare their answers and don’t have to feel like they’re caught off guard.

If your client doesn’t want to be on camera, there are also companies that are doing audio testimonial interviews.

You can even ask your client to help you with your social presence by becoming their Facebook friend and then tagging them in a photo after a successful close. This is another way to increase your exposure around the deals you are part of.

We are finally down to the final step in your online presence audit.

Action Step 6: Build in a sprinkling of testimonials into your social media postings. You can use one line from a testimonial at a time and then spread 2-3 posts like this across the month. Testimonial snippet posts on social media have performed really well for our Clients.