Six Ways to Protect Your Online Small Business Reputation
September 23, 2014
Bad business reviews on Yelp.
Angry customer comments on Facebook.
Bitter hashtag responses on Twitter.
Any one of those, and certainly the combination of them, can damage your small business's reputation. That negative outcome comes from your followers and fans seeing the contentious words (true or not) and believing them.
Then, if they believe those comments (unanswered by you), they may never do business with you again, after telling all their friends and colleagues. Yourreputation is damaged, perhaps beyond repair. Bad online reputations take on a life of their own and have closed businesses. The power of destructive social media is not to be doubted or challenged. You ignore bad reviews and comments at great peril to your business.
Protecting your businesses' online reputation can be accomplished by thinking strategically and with proper time management. Here are Six Ways to Protect Your Online Small Business Reputation:
Google and Bing Your Company Name.: These are the two most popular search engines where your company will be found. Once you have searched, do you see bad reviews at the top? Are comments from your social media pages negative? If so, you have to respond to those reviews and comments (even if they're old ones) right away. Unfortunately, your customer prospects may see these negative comments, believe them and never contact you for business. Just make time to respond and do it quickly.
Develop a social media strategy to respond to angry comments or Tweets.: You can't make everyone happy. It's impossible and sometimes embarrassing as that same angry customer may make it known how "bad" your service or products really were, When this happens, have a "social media response policy" in affect. You will be ready to respond quickly and correctly. Get the facts, apologize and then offer a resolution that benefits the complainant. Make sure that response is posted and watch for comments from the disgruntled customer or others following it.
Publish positive reviews and comments from happy customers.: Create a testimonials page for your website. Copy and paste the great reviews and the link from the review site and paste them on the testimonials page. Add a comment and link to your Facebook and Twitter postings. These positive reviews will be seen and help you on your search engine optimization.
Update your company blog regularly.: Do a blog on the testimonials you have received using good customer service as a topic platform. Keep your blog page updated by using the topic addressed in the complaint and educate your audience on the topic (without mentioning the person or complaint.)
Keep your website search engine optimization (SEO) updated.: As we addressed in an earlier blog, audit your website and make sure your pages have relevant and well-written content. You may have outdated or inaccurate products/services pages that need to be rewritten or deleted, altogether. Make sure your website content does not contradict your social media postings or other online content.
Email your happy and loyal customers and solicit reviews.: Send your happy clients an email requesting that they review your business on one of the popular Internet review sites and get their permission to publish it on your website and social media channels. The more positive reviews, the less chance the negative reviews will be at the top of the search results. Plus, people are less inclined to use only the one or two bad reviews and not believe the ten or fifteen good reviews that your company receives. There is "safety" in numbers.
Your reputation is how you do business and keep business. Even when it's damaged, there is a recourse. Just do it sooner, rather than later.