5 Basic Dos and Don’ts of Online Reputation Management

Online reputation management is vital for your organization. As any user of the web will tell you, what’s being said about a brand or organization online directly affects the business.

We have all heard enough success stories of a startup to know that sometimes shout outs can boost brand awareness and skyrocket sales overnight. On the other hand, there are also cautionary tales of one poorly executed tweet or response to online criticism or rant that took down years of hard work in one fell swoop.

In addition, a 2018 Local Consumer Reports Survey showed “86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34).” Moreover, the same study showed, over half of those reading reviews will not consider using a business averaging less than 4 stars.

All of this points to one fact, online reputation management is too important to ignore or execute poorly. Here are our basic dos and don’ts to help you maintain your business’ good online standing:

1. Capitalize on criticism and negative reviews.
A negative review or comment is a free marketing opportunity. You’re getting valuable feedback that is catching the eyes and attention of other readers. Turn it into a brand-building and product-promoting opportunity. Reply with a sympathetic apology and then share information about other related products or services. While you may or may not reclaim this reviewer, others will see your positive reply and take note of your other products/services.

2. Don’t take too much time to respond.
Get a negative post or tweet? If it is a legitimate complaint, acknowledge it, be polite, and let them know your team is working on it. It’s better to act fast with a short reply than a late reply with too much information. Many people just want to know that their feedback is heard.
Sometimes, it is a complaint without merit or someone who is working out a grudge for any number of reasons. We have even seen negative reviews mistakenly given to the wrong company. When this happens, always be professional and don’t respond right away if your upset. This is simply another opportunity to highlight the positive aspects and value of your products and service.

3. Look up what is being said about you.
Yes, Google your business. This helps you know if there’s anything out there you need to address or concern yourself with. It can also help you gauge the public’s perception.
While we do hope that you do not find anything negative, this exercise also helps you find good reviews, endorsements, and positive experiences. Use these positive reviews in your marketing and share them with your sales team. Nothing builds credibility like the endorsement of satisfied customers.

4. Do what it takes to be transparent.
Google, Yelp, and Social Media have made authenticity and transparency a must. There is nothing the public loves more these days than honesty and authenticity and there is no bigger turn off than a company who tries to hide or avoid the truth. Don’t be afraid of the critics. If addressed respectfully, a seemingly negative response might not be detrimental and a well-crafted response can create a positive opportunity for your business.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews.
When you have satisfied customers, let them know you value their online feedback. Make it easy for them to review your company by providing the link in a follow-up email or on your invoice. When you know you knocked it out of the park with customer service, giving them the opportunity to brag on you actually builds the relationship and customer buy-in. It also lets your customer know you value their

Companies who effectively and consistently execute these strategies will reap the benefit of free marketing from their customers and eventually overwhelm any harm a negative review might bring.

Ask for help when you need it. Your business will be spared time, money and possibly embarrassment by leaving it to a professional. We’d be happy to discuss your reputation and how we can help. Give us a call at 682-231-8554.