Warren Buffett was once quoted as saying, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.”
Well, in today’s social-media-driven age where, more than ever, consumers go online to share and exchange opinions about businesses, it might take less than that to damage reputation. One bad review or one controversial tweet can undo what you have worked so hard to build.
Let us help you change that. While negative publicity can happen to any business, you can do things that will strengthen your reputation and protect it in situations that could otherwise drive customers away. Check out these terrific review management tips:
Take control of your digital properties.
Here at ReviewTrackers, we specialize in keeping an eye on your review site pages and local business listings. But by “digital properties” we don’t mean just that. It’s an omni-channel world we’re living in today. Plant your flags too on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.), online forums, community sites, etc. (A great service for securing your brand name across the Web is KnowEm.) Doing this enables you to gain greater control of what’s being said about you online by people who are and could be your customers.
Optimize using your company name.
Your most important keyword phrase is your company name. Why? Because you need to be the foremost authority when people look for information about your business on the Internet. You don’t want them to find a bad review or an unhappy customer’s blog entry. So optimize your website and other digital properties in a way that allows these to appear at the top of relevant search results.
Produce great content.
Looking to keep negative content about your company out of sight? Trying to remove bad reviews? The most effective way to minimize the negativity in content that you can’t control is by producing great, positive content that you can control.
We’re not just talking about writing text related to your business, brand, products, and services. Other forms of content – photos, videos, E-books, newsletters, even podcasts – that you post online can also serve as excellent digital assets that help establish your authority, improve your visibility, and enhance your online reputation.
When was the last time you wrote a post for your business blog? If it’s been such a long time you can’t even remember – well, it’s time to pick up the pen again. This is related to the previous tip: blogging helps you populate the Web with content you can control.
It also allows you to grow as an opinion leader in your chosen industry. Meanwhile, when it comes to how you perform in search engine results, blogging also helps you rank for your business name – while giving you a “home court” where you can respond directly to opinions, assertions, and allegations made about your business. It’s one of the secret tips to defend online reputation.
Be savvy on social.
Now that you’re cranking out content, it’s time to share across your social networks. Keep your community of fans and followers updated with news about your company, information on new products and services, and other developments worth knowing about.
You can also leverage social media as platforms for listening and responding to existing and potential customers. Lastly, being active on social media also helps diversify your Web presence, so that you’re not limited to just your website or blog.
(Check out: “Encouraging Online Reviews: 5 Tips to Make it Easy”)
Monitor online reviews and listen to your customers.
Many business owners automatically distrust whatever customers have to say in online reviews, especially when the reviews are bad and the ratings are low. Sometimes, though, you have to listen carefully and be objective about what people are trying to say about you.
After all, there could be weaknesses in your operations you previously may not have been aware of, and which reviews may be able to point out. So don’t be inflexible. Monitor reviews, identify these weaknesses, and work to address them.
Show you’re humble enough to say sorry.
There will be situations wherein online criticisms sting because they’re true. If you’re in one such situation, don’t hesitate to apologize or admit that you were in the wrong. Owning up to your mistakes helps you diffuse a situation that could otherwise permanently damage your reputation. It also allows you to show customers that your business values their feedback, and isn’t too proud to say sorry.
Don’t fake it until you make it.
Don’t be one of those business owners who resort to fake reviews just to improve their reputation. You already know the cons of review fraud. Trust us: no matter how tempting it is to game the system, taking the high road will ultimately pay off for you.
Build a great offline reputation.
How customers perceive or see your business in the physical, offline world will ultimately translate to the online world. In fact, we’ll go so far as to say that your online rep will fix itself if you focus on building a great reputation offline. That’s why it’s so critical to deliver great service, treat your customers well, and work towards creating positive experiences for them.