Reputation Management is Not Just About Covering up Mistakes
A truer statement has never been proclaimed. Your business’ reputation will go through a lot over the years. You probably have already been through a lot, come to think of it. Not everyone will love you. Heck, some may hate you. You may become painfully aware of that when those fickle customers post something negative about an experience they had with you that was inferior to them in some way.
But by the time you see those negative reviews start to pop up and your position on the SERPS start to slip, it’s already too late. What we mean by that is this: reputation management doesn’t kick in just when someone’s unhappy. It’s not about putting out fires all the time, although that’s part of it. It’s more about stopping the fires before they start. This isn’t to say that there’s nothing you can do to save your reputation. Of course you can. But it takes diligence.
You have to nip dissatisfaction in the bud before it starts to bloom. Get to the customer fast, make amends and move on before they can start to hold a grudge and infect the minds of other potential customers with their own personal experience. Inaction on your part will lead to increased frustration and anger on their part. And those two things don’t go well together when let loose on the Internet.
An Evolving Landscape
It used to be that the average consumer would trust and engage with a company based off the word-of-mouth recommendations of friends and family or within the local community. Today, that trust is being redistributed to the information they find online; specifically what pops up in search engine results.
In today’s digital world, having a positive online reputation plays an important role in business’ success because it allows owners to control part of what customers see when they Google a company.
Many business owners assume that the whole of their reputation management efforts can involve covering up mistakes. Not so. It’s best to face them head on and own them. Here are some common mistakes that many business owners make when trying to boost their online image.
1. Assuming your company’s online reputation will take care of itself
This is mistake #1. Your business’s reviews and search results may be largely positive at this moment, but this doesn’t mean they will be in the next. If your company has a sparse website or social media connection, you’re even more vulnerable. Remember this: your online reputation can change in a second, and those changes may be entirely unrelated to the quality of your products. That’s pretty scary.
The more effort you put into your company’s online reputation, the more control you exhibit over what people find when they search for you. Negative press and bad reviews get a lot of attention online, not just from readers but also from increasingly brilliant search engine algorithms.
2. Failing to realize the importance of consistency
Consistency is vital to your online reputation management strategy. You’ll have to keep up with similar visual and voice branding across all of your platforms, as well as generate quality content on a consistent schedule.
Failure to be consistent on social media channels and online review sites can put you out of touch with the people who need you most, blocking the message your brand is attempting to convey.
The second point: failure to be consistent in content generation can lead to decreased credibility among your consumers.
3. Mixing the personal and professional
Business owners who want to establish a positive online reputation for their companies would be wise to keep their personal beliefs and their business offerings totally separate – at least online. Research from Harvard Business Review shows that 64 percent of consumers feel that sharing values with a company is vital when it comes to how much they trust a brand.
Those who use their business’s online channels as a platform to voice their political, social, and religious agendas can alienate their existing client base and deter new clients from patronizing their establishment.
4. Ignoring or responding aggressively to negative feedback
It’s important to separate your professional responses to negative reviews from your personal feelings about that bad feedback. When you send angry emails to the writer or post abusive rants, you’re doing irreparable harm to your online reputation.
First of all, you’re giving the author more ammunition to continue with a smear campaign against your company. Second of all, the more you engage with that negative content, the more it establishes itself in your search results. That’s because Google ranks websites based on how often they’re visited and how often new content appears. By continuing to comment on the feedback, you’re essentially helping others find misleading information about your company. So, the takeaways are:
- Don’t ignore negative reviews.
- Respond to them quickly.
- Move on.
- Contact Boost Reviews!