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6 Strategies for Improving Your Online Reputation as an Interior Designer

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How Interior Designers Can Improve Online Reputation Behind the Design by Jacqueline Green

Negative reviews are inevitable in most businesses. Unfortunately, there is always one client out there that no matter what you do, you can't make them happy. I learned this lesson with our 5-star mountain cabin that we rent on a short-term basis through Airbnb.


Last November, a guest gave the cabin a 4 out of 5 because one of the six televisions wasn't connecting to the internet. Apparently, she wanted to lay in bed and drink coffee, and she had to have that bedroom and wasn't willing to move to another bedroom. I wish I were kidding, but I am not. 


It is inevitable most businesses will get at least one unhappy review. The question is, how do you manage your online reputation? This article discusses how to manage your online reputation along with steps to improve your that reputation. 


What is Online Reputation Management


Online Reputation Management (ORM) is the process of managing a company or person's online reputation. It looks at everything online related to that business or person. Large companies pay other companies a lot of money to manage their online reputation. However, for an interior design business, you don't need to hire someone specifically for ORM. Offen ORM can be managed through a marketing or public relations consultant. 


ORM starts with reviewing all aspects online. Start by Googling yourself and your company name. When I google Jacqueline Green, I am disheartened to find that I don't show up on page 1 on Google. Not only am I not on page 1, but an obituary for Jacqueline Green in New Jersey actually appears higher than me. So sad, but if I add my maiden name, Jacqueline Reed Green, then I show up. This is a problem. 


I share a very common name with a professional ballet dancer, a songwriter, and even a dead woman from Jersey. 


I have better luck when I Google my business, GA Interior Solutions, as it shows at the top of the search results. Yet, this website, Behind the Design, doesn't show up until halfway down the first page because there are several businesses across multiple industries with that name. I obviously have a lot of work to do, so if you have similar results, where do you start?


How to Monitor Your Online Reputation


First, start with taking stock of your reputation. As painful as this might be, you will want to track where you show up and what is said about you. Not only are you looking for what is written, but also images. So, if you appear in a drunken stupor in pictures from college, you will want to delete those immediately.


Second, take note of how your business is presented. Is your brand apparent, or do you even have a brand? Maybe your images are inconsistent with what you want to convey. It is important to step away from the emotional side and look at your visibility as if it's not you.


Check out: "What is Branding and Why is it Essential for Your Interior Design Business


Finally, you want to identify areas that you can improve. This will help you with developing your strategies. Look for easy fixes that will take much more time and effort. 


For instance, you may find your design images appear in Google, but maybe they don't include a logo watermark. This is where your logo appears on the image. Photographers are excellent at adding their watermark as it protects the image from being stolen. You should add a logo watermark in the corner of every image you publish. This is really easy to do by using Canva. 


Strategies to Improve Your Online Reputation


Now that you have determined how you appear online, it is time to implement a few strategies to help you increase your visibility. 

  1. Clean Up Your Mess
  2. Create a Process for Monitoring
  3. Improve Your SEO
  4. Increase Your Social Media Presence
  5. Commit to blogging and video blogging
  6. Encourage customer reviews


1. Clean Up Your Mess

Unfortunately, once something is online, it can never be completely deleted, but it is important to deal with it. Go through all social channels and delete anything that isn't positive. You may find that you have been tagged in a friend's post. Politely ask your friends to untag you. Although that party in 2019 was a blast, what you remember, it probably doesn't need to be shared when you are building a career or business. 


If you identify something negative, such as a bad review, it is time to deal with it. Responding to negative reviews immediately is necessary to protect your online brand. The best way to do this is by apologizing for the client's negative experience and then explaining how the problem was resolved. Although you will want to attack with words, write your response with straight facts, leaving out the emotions. If you were wrong, you need to admit it and apologize. We all make mistakes, but the more you show that you are a real person who cares, the more people will forgive those mistakes. 


2. Create a Process for Monitoring

Within Google, you can set up alerts that will let you know when something is written about you. You can also do this in Bing. 


  1. Go to Google Alerts
  2. Add the term in the search box
  3. Click "Create Alert"
  4. Under "Show Options," you can set up several items specific to your needs, such as how often you want to receive the alert, the region you want to monitor, and where you want the alert delivered. 


I am a proponent of processes. To ensure you are managing your reputation, determine your process. 


  • Who is responsible for monitoring the business' reputation within your organization?
  • What information should be reported to management?
  • How often should the information be reported?
  • What are standard responses to positive and negative reviews? Who is responsible for responding?


Once you develop this process, monitoring will not seem so time-consuming, as it should only take a few minutes each week. 


3. Improving Your SEO

Search engine optimization is probably the most confusing thing to do in marketing. I will not lie to you; it frustrates me because it is always a moving target. The biggest thing you can do to improve your SEO is develop content, which is covered below. 


Check out: "How to Use SEO Strategies to Build Website Traffic


You need to identify those words if you don't already have a list of keywords your audience would use to search for your services. I have an article detailing exactly how to conduct keyword research. These words are essential for you to be found online. 


Every image should have an image name and image alt attribution that includes one or more of your keywords and your name and/or business name. Your alt attribution isn't a complete sentence. It is words that describe the image. For instance, this blog post's alt attribution reads: 

"Improving Online Reputation Strategies Interior Designer Behind the Design Jacqueline Green"


The alternative text gives search engines more details on what the content of this page is about, which helps people to find what they are looking for when searching. 


Unfortunately, maximizing how you appear in search engine results is more than just beautiful images. It is a very logical strategy which may be why it feels so difficult for right-brain creatives. 


4. Increase Your Social Presence


I often hear interior designers talk about managing their social media efforts. Their biggest challenge is what to post, followed by the time it takes. If you feel this way, you aren't alone. Here is the thing, even if you don't "get" social media, it is imperative to your design business to post consistently. 


Check Out: "Which Social Platform Is Right for Promoting Your Design Services"


Start with planning your month ahead. Look at your calendar and determine opportunities to post about projects you are working on. Make a list of those items by day on a calendar. Then fill in any new content you are publishing this month. This would include blog posts, videos, new services or products, and so forth. 


Now, look at the calendar; what days do you not have content? What can you do on those days that can either show your personality or re-hash previous content from previous months. Don't think one and done. You can slightly adjust the content or images from previous months to extend the life of a promotion or campaign. 


When I write a blog article, I look for at least 3 ways to promote that article through social media. The first social post is the name of the article and the essence of how it helps my audience, which is scheduled for the day the article goes live. 


Then I break out either sub-headlines or key information from the article. This might be a list, a quote, or an image that summarizes a section of that article. I adjusted the artwork, changed the caption, and scheduled the other social posts for the following weeks. This allows me to extend my reach by using the same content but maximizing the opportunity for exposure. My article needs at least 5 additional content sources that can be spread out over two months. This will help you fill out your calendar. 


As you plan for the social posts, identify your image, write the caption, and add a CTA (call-to-action) and the link. I put this information into an Excel spreadsheet that I track per month. Then, I use a website called to schedule my posts across multiple sites. By planning ahead, I can batch my time and knock out an entire week or month of posts within an hour or two. 


5. Commit to Blogging and Video Blogging


The best way to control your messaging is by creating content that helps your audience. Increasing your media output through your website and other platforms will help you improve your online reputation quicker than anything else. 


First, post new content on your website at least once a week. If you struggle with writing blog articles, then you have alternative options. 


  1. Hire a marketing freelancer to do it for you 
  2. Use AI platform like ChatGPT to help you create written
  3. Check out BIGVU video teleprompter service, which has an AI component that allows you to write scripts in minutes


You may be surprised that I learn something new in every post I write. 


Second, share your new content across multiple social platforms. Don't limit yourself to just one social platform. You want to extend your content across multiple platforms to reach your audience and show search engines your impact through different sources. 


Next, find external platforms to post your content, including guest blog posting and podcast interviews. This will help you exponentially because it is someone else promoting your message. 


Finally, stick to your schedule. It is easy to get sidetracked, especially when business is good. It is important that you keep moving forward, especially when you are busy, as this will help you during slow times. 


6. Encourage Customer Reviews


I am the first to tell you that it is hard for me to ask for reviews. It is uncomfortable, especially if I am struggling with what went wrong and what I should have done differently. However, your client isn't in that mindset. They are excited by their new space. They are also very happy construction is over, and they can use the space again because no one goes through construction hoping it will continue for months. 


As the project winds down, I encourage you to ask for a review. Here are four ideas on how to do that…

  • Send a follow-up email thanking your client and asking for a review. Please explain why the review is important to your business, where they can review you, and thank them for helping you. It is important to tell them exactly how to leave the review. 
  • Send branded images from their project to them, so they can share them on their social platforms. Each image should include your logo watermark. The name of the image should also include your business name. 
  • Write your own social media post and tag your client. Talk about the beautiful space and what you enjoyed most about the project. I guarantee your client will leave a comment about working with you. 
  • Create a post-project survey asking your client to help you improve your services by completing the survey. 


How to Handle a Negative Review


It would be a disservice not to give you tips on handling negative reviews. You want to do everything possible to offset a negative review by posting positive content. However, if you do get a negative review, it is important that you handle it and not try to brush it under the rug. 


7 Steps to Handle a Negative Review. 


  1. Answer quickly and thoughtfully – when people leave negative reviews, they want to be heard. You will want to respond quickly by acknowledging their frustration, then explain how you will ratify the problem. 
  2. Customize each response – creating a standard response is a starting point. Adjust the standard response and customize it to the specifics of this customer. 
  3. Take responsibility and use empathy when responding. Whether it is your fault or not, you are responsible for your client's experience. Don't blame the manufacturer or the contractor. Ultimately, if you suggested that manufacturer or contractor, you are responsible for their impact on your client.
  4. Please don't get personal, and don't take it personally. I know this is so hard to do. As designers, we have a certain level of emotion that goes into every design, so when someone attaches your design, it feels like an attack on you. However, you can't let that show. Stay away from name-calling or blaming someone else. 
  5. Don't be negative or blame the client – Some clients are a pain in the you-know-what. And as much as you want to respond, telling them they are a pain in you-know-what, you just can't. You are a professional, and this is your career. Keep all responses positive, and don't blame someone else. Also, don't be passive-aggressive in your response. 
  6. Take it offline as soon as possible – If your client wrote a negative review, pick up the phone and politely talk with your client. Don't yell at the client. Please don't go to their house and take a sledgehammer to their new space. If you have spoken with them and there isn't a resolution, then it is okay to respond online with the steps taken to resolve the problem. In your response, stick to the facts and don't elaborate too much detail. 
  7. Request fake or misleading reviews be removed. Below board competitors will use negative reviews to discount their competitors. It is a horrible technique and completely unethical, but it does happen. If you come across a negative review that is, in fact, fake or misleading, contact the site where the review was posted and explain the situation, asking for it to be removed. If the site doesn't remove it, be sure to write a brief response on the review's validity, clearly stating that you have not worked with this person and this is a fake review. 


Keep in mind that there are just some people who will not be happy. It is unfortunate, but some people like staying in their miserable state, and no matter how much you try, you won't change that fact. Keep your head up and move forward as quickly as possible. 

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