Marketing and Social Media Tips: How to protect your business reputation online and whether to use hashtags on Facebook.  
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Social media and review sites are here to stay. In fact, 97% of consumers polled in a recent study said that customer reviews influenced their purchase decision.
So like it or not, your business profile is out there and you’ll get reviews. 

How do you protect your online reputation? 
First, try to avoid getting negative reviews by being proactive. Emphasize keeping in touch with customer needs and perspectives. Timing is important -- the key is to give consumers a chance to give feedback and comment to you first -- before they broadcast it on social media. 
Having an option for consumers to flag and address concerns will help improve their experience and reduce the chances of the consumer airing that issue online.
Customer satisfaction feedback can also be complimentary; helping highlight what you and your staff are doing well. There are many ways to obtain and measure it, preferably right after the visit or service.  
But even the best business can occasionally get negative feedback, so be prepared. How you handle the response affects your online reputation as well.

What are the keys to handling a negative review?  
Act Promptly.  Monitor reviews of your business. Although it might be tempting to ignore a bad review, it's not going to go away. If an unflattering review or complaint comes up, it needs to be addressed. But before you answer, take a step back and try to see the situation from the consumer’s perspective.
Acknowledge their viewpoint. If there was a misunderstanding or mistake, apologize. Show them what is being done (or has been done) to address the situation. Often, once you solve the problem with the consumer, they’ll take down their post.
Be courteous and professional. While it may be tempting to answer a rude post with the same tone, or hide, delete or even ban a reviewer, it’s much better to show the reviewer that you care about all consumer opinions. Always thank them for taking the time to share their opinions and let them know you value the feedback they provide.
If a review contains libelous statements or is 
from a person that has never visited your business, have it taken down immediately before it causes any damage. If you send them a clear explanation as to why the content is problematic and why it is important for the content to be removed, most review sites will take down libelous statements; legal action can be used as a last resort. 
In this world of social media and reviews, it’s important to keep your online reputation positive. Get regular feedback from your customers and encourage them to leave reviews. A variety of reviews can dilute any negatives. It will also give individuals researching a better perspective of whether your business will be a fit for their needs.

Social Media Tip:

 Should you be using #hashtags on Facebook?
Not always. If you are looking to push a brand or event that your target audience may search for, then it may be helpful. (For example, according to an internet survey, #picoftheday, #summer, #life, and #sun are popular this time of year on Facebook)  
But use them sparingly, as research has also shown that too many hashtags can damper engagement. A good guide is to only use one or two tags per post. You can also test out certain hashtags, and if
Facebook audience doesn’t respond well, stop using them. But if you find one that fits and your reach and engagement goes up - that's a win! 

Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed this issue.
Please let us know if there are topics you'd like to read about or events you'd like listed.

If you know anyone that needs help focusing their branding, marketing strategies or social media, please share this newsletter with them. 

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