“Online reputation management” is a popular buzz term you hear a lot today. It’s all about maintaining a good reputation online and through any social media channels where people are talking about your business, products or services. There are some things you can control, such as the messages that you put out as a company. There are other things where you don’t have much control, including what customers (or competitors posing as customers) say about you.
Control Your Messaging
Putting out positive content shouldn’t be that much of a challenge, other than devoting the necessary time and resources to stay active with your blog, website content, social media posts, email campaigns and responses to online reviews and comments. You can proactively put a lot of messages out there that grow your brand, engage customers and generate leads.
Really, one of the keys to online reputation management is making sure there is more good content out there about you than bad. When there is bad content, how you respond can make a huge difference. We’ll circle back to that strategy in just a bit.
Focus on the Positive
First and foremost is the good content. This is the stuff you are posting and writing about, which should generally promote a positive image for your business. It should be engaging, interesting, informative and sometimes fun. You want to find the right balance of quantity and frequency in your posts, and track what content gets the best response.
Managing Customer Reviews
Beyond the material that you are posting as a company, there is what consumers are saying about your business. The truth is that most people who take the time to write reviews or provide feedback will either be positive or negative. You don’t see that many middle-of-the-road reviews because those people don’t have a strong enough opinion to share. Otherwise, it’s human nature. Some people just like to look for things to complain about. The Internet and social media are great outlets for them to speak out with a certain level of anonymity.
Fortunately, most reviewers lean toward the positive side. This means you want to encourage people to share their feedback on any platform they wish. Offer incentives (monthly drawings, discounts for future purchases, etc.). Get your fans and supporters working for you with authentic reviews, and they will help drown out the smaller percentage of negative comments. By the way, if you do this and the feedback is overwhelmingly negative, you need to rethink the way you treat your customers!
That said, you will encounter a negative review from time to time, whether it’s a customer with a legitimate gripe, it’s someone who may be exaggerating the situation or it’s a non-authentic reviewer (possibly a competitor) purposely trying to bring you down.
How you respond to these comments and reviews is crucial. Never get defensive or attack a negative reviewer, but do make sure and respond. Do it tactfully to show others that you are actively trying to resolve the issue. When done right, a negative review can be turned into a positive impression with a proper customer service response. If the reviewer in question is obviously fake, find a way to subtly call them out.
“We’re sorry to hear you had a negative experience. Unfortunately, we do not see your name in our customer database, so we want to make sure your concerns are resolved accordingly. What products/services did you come in for and when did you purchase?”
Odds are, a fake reviewer won’t respond to this and most savvy consumers will be able to recognize it’s a fraud. They’ll still value your resolution attempt, though, and that’s how you potentially turn a negative comment into a positive impression.
The Right Social Strategy
Online reputation management is an important strategy in today’s social marketplace. Be positive, be proactive and be responsive. These are the keys to success.
For more information about online reputation management or how to more effectively manage your blog and social media content, contact NextGear Marketing today.