What you will learn about Holistic Reputation:
- Why it is important
- What you need to take control of
- How to use the web to build your holistic reputation
- Where to learn more
Much of the time when a restaurant’s reputation is discussed, it is in the context of online reviews. How many stars you have, how many good reviews or bad reviews.
If you know me at all, or are familiar with my courses or work that I do, you will know that I believe online reviews are only a portion of what makes up a holistic online reputation. A reputation that is managed and marketed from a holistic perspective will be much more effective long term.
Holistic reputation does of course address online reviews, but it also looks at social media, search engines and how your restaurant is perceived in your community. This holistic state is only achieved when you take control. It is intentional.
A holistic reputation is like a partner and a salesperson wrapped up in one. But what does holistic restaurant reputation take control of? I’m glad you asked!
Holistic reputation is about Controlling the Assets
Your guests use accounts, or profiles, on different systems to leave reviews, comments or images about your restaurant on the web. Although there is a relatively small handful of these accounts that should really matter to you, it’s vital that you mirror your guests and have accounts on these systems too.
For example, your restaurant should be on the main social media accounts like Facebook™, Twitter™, Instagram™ and Pinterest™. These are all what I refer to as ‘gateways’, where your patrons will leave feedback. If your restaurant doesn’t have an account on these ‘gateways’, and a guest leaves feedback, you will miss out on a fantastic opportunity to build your community and reputation. Even a negative review is an opportunity to both grow as a team, and build your reputation.
Similarly, your restaurant should set up accounts on the main review sites and search engines. You want to create accounts on only the most important systems, like Yelp™, Google™, and TripAdvisor™. Most of your guest are on the small handful of systems, so you would just be wasting your time on the smaller sites.
Holistic reputation is about Controlling the “Airwaves”
A successful holistic reputation will incorporate a powerful listening system. A ‘Listening system’ is automation you set up to ‘listen’ to the internet to see who is talking about your restaurant, your food, your staff, or even your competition. You can set up your listening system to report on feedback and implied conversation, such as: “that deli on the corner of Main and Turner sucks…”. It’s pretty clear it’s about your deli, but you would never know it was out there unless you are ‘listening’ for it.
Why is this important? By controlling the airwaves, you are able to know instantly or daily, when a guest or competitor discusses your restaurant. When you know you can control it, which in turn helps you minimize the risk. The last then you want is to have a bunch of people say: “yeah this happened to me too” (I call them bandwagon-jumpers). When you know how to respond to feedback quickly and correctly, you minimize the risk. That is a holistic, proactive approach to reputation. Speed of response builds restaurant reputations.
Holistic reputation is about Controlling the Search Engines through Content
When you have control over the assets and control over what is said about you online, you can then take control the content you publish and associate with. By controlling the content, you take control of the Search Engines (Google™, Bing™, Yahoo™, and others). That might sound a lot more complex then it really is. Let’s look at different components of this separately:
Content you publish to the web: When someone searches for your restaurant name on the internet, or “chicken restaurant” or other keyword searches, you want to be the dominant result that is displayed. Your Google™ profile should be the number one result, your website, your social media accounts should show up, your review site profiles and other items should show up as well. I call this ‘The Stack’. Each of these items stacks on top of each other and essentially takes up the whole first page (and hopefully second page) of the search results. The more you dominate, the more you contribute to a holistic reputation.
Content in your Profile: Nearly all accounts that you will want to set up (refer to “controlling the Assets”), are free and have the same basic structure. They have a place for your restaurant Name, Address and Phone number (also known as ‘NAP‘), some photos, videos, keywords and description. Besides the ‘NAP’, the most important part of each profile are the keywords and description.
Keywords can be your categories, like BBQ, Mexican, French. They can also be descriptive keywords like: ‘Best Chicken in Memphis‘, or ‘Best Chef’. All of these keywords can play to your advantage because they are picked up by Search engines and presented to potential guests searching the web. When someone types in ‘Best Chicken in Memphis‘, Google™ and other search engines will do their best to find an appropriate match. If you have done the groundwork, namely, setting up your accounts, ensuring your information is complete and consistent, being a chicken restaurant, AND having ‘Best Chicken in Memphis’ in some of your profiles keywords or description, is like handing the search engines your restaurant on a silver platter.
Having a Holistic reputation mindset helps think past your online reviews, and focus on everything together. With a strong holistic reputation, a negative review here and there will lose it’s sting and if done correctly, can mean almost nothing to your restaurant.
If you would like to learn more about holistic reputation, how to build it, and how to take control, then I recommend you check out my master course that steps restaurant owners, chefs and restaurant staff through the entire process from learning about it to implementing it, even how to grow holistically online. Don’t worry if the subject seems to complex, I show you how to do it in small bite-sized videos that you can easily follow.
Good luck with your restaurant reputation!