Gone are the days when word of mouth is literally just that, word of mouth. Nowadays, people can talk about you or your business in so many different ways than just speaking to someone else about what they love or hate about you. Everything is online. People on social media and review sites can be brutal. Who’s to say, when you’re not careful, that one day you’d wake up and find yourself starring in a viral video or a hate-laced Tweet about a bad service you had just provided? Online reputation is just as important as your offline rep and managing it well is key to having a successful business.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation is how people see you on the internet. Often, when people search about you or your business online, what comes up on the results are what forms your reputation. Got bad reviews? Your service or products are automatically seen as bad. “If people are talking about how bad it is, then it must be bad.” Sadly, this is true for most people. But if it’s just one bad review compared to a thousand good ones, you need to act fast and put out that fire before it spreads. This is online reputation management.
This pretty much answers why you should care about your online reputation. If you’re clueless as to where or how to begin, we’ve listed a few tips that can help you kickstart your online reputation management.
Monitor your social media and online brand mentions.
If you don’t have Google Alerts set up just yet, go and do it. It tells you when someone mentions your brand name anywhere on the internet. This way, you get to know right away when a new article about you has been published. Even though it’s not as foolproof, it’s a start. It’s free.
Aside from Google Alerts, you can try Social Media listening tools. It’s essentially like Google Alerts, but for social media. You can enter a keyword and the tool will tell you what other are saying about that particular keyword.
Reply to a commenter
Whether you receive a bad or good comment on your social media accounts or blog, always address it properly. Don’t let it hang. Don’t ignore it. This doesn’t mean though that you’ll react and comment with the first thing that comes to mind. Because we all know what’s the first thing to come to mind when we receive a bad review and it’s almost always not good. Take a deep breath and read the comment again. You need to read the comments without all your bias. Sometimes, you even need to read between the lines. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Why would you give a bad review? Why were you unhappy? If you are successful at drilling down to the very reason why a bad comment was written in the first place, replying to it won’t be as hard.
Report a false bad review
Some people are just actually out there to attack you, especially if you’re a competitor. Unfortunately, this happens quite a lot. If someone left a bad review, your first step should be to check the authenticity of it. Is this really for a customer? If you have the ability to check records of transactions, do it. Investigate what happened. If you don’t see any trace of this person ever being one of your customers, the review is fake and an attack to your reputation. In most cases, you can request that the review be reviewed by the site. If not, you may add a comment to the review to address the concerns.
Apply the magic of SEO
If a bad review about you appears on the first page of Google, the only sensible thing is to push it down the search engine results. Devise a marketing strategy to have more of your positive content show up on the search results.
Have you had to deal with a bad online reputation? What did you do to resolve it? Tell us in the comments!