Tag Archives: online reputation

What to Do When Your Online Reputation Takes a Hit

First and foremost when you are struck by negativity online:

keep-calm

The worst thing you can do right now is overreact and say something you may regret. Count to ten, shut down your computer, and make a strategyYou’ll want to have a plan before you do anything publicly.

First, how bad was it? Is it something that you can just let pass you by without comment at all? Will it blow over in a day? Would a quick apology mitigate any outrage?

Especially when the problem is a bad review (say, on Yelp), a brief but heartfelt apology to the writer can help to quell the disappointment of your customer, as well as the concern of onlookers who are trying to decide whether to give you their business or not.

Any apology or address of a grievance should be without fuss or qualification. If you supplement your apology with excuses and shirk blame, it will undo any good will you may have garnered. If you can’t make a straightforward apology, don’t do it at all.

Answer the most common questions. A crisis, especially one on the Internet, will come with a slew of misinformation. Find a place to provide answers to your audience’s questions so they are getting the actual facts right from the source – you. Be honest in your answers. If you can’t answer every question right away, acknowledge that your company is working on a solution.

Continue to be responsive on social media throughout the crisis. Consider this: if people are going to vent, wouldn’t it be better if it’s on your Facebook wall where you can respond and monitor the outrage? Your inclination might be to recede and stay away from public outlets, but giving the public a place to complain on your turf will ensure you retain a degree of control.

Make sure your employees are filled in on the plan. Hopefully your employees have the best interests of your company at heart, but they can’t act accordingly unless you let them know what you expect of them. When a social media crisis hits, you want to deliver a consistent message, so make sure everyone knows what’s up.

Avoid one-on-one arguments. Is one guy on Facebook giving you a lot of trouble? Respond to any one person a maximum of twice. Three times makes it an argument, and you’ve probably got other customers to focus on anyway. You can’t convince everyone, so don’t bring your situation down further by hashing it out with one headstrong guy.

Last and most importantly:

Remain calm, collected, and polite. You’re on damage control and the point is to redeem your business’s reputation, not ridicule or fight your customers. If they are angry, the best thing you can do is respond graciously. You’ll show them that your business’s character is strong, steady, and respectful.

5 Ways to Boost Your Online Reputation

marketingOnline marketing is all about building a virtual identity that people can recognize, connect with, and even promote to their friends. Certainly any business wants their online identity to be regarded positively, but a marketing strategy that is too aggressive or not skillfully designed can come off as pushy or inept, resulting in less customer trust.

Obviously, you don’t want that to be you. Here are a few strategies to help your online reputation not only grow in terms of recognition, but in terms of trust and good will!

Be consistent on your selected social media platforms.
You don’t have to be on every social media site that exists, so don’t stretch yourself thin trying! Stick to the platforms you feel comfortable on, build a following, and then (and this is the important part) don’t abandon your fans/followers. It’s so frustrating for loyal consumers to commit to following your brand only to have you quit updating. Consistency on social media (whether you update once a week or once a day) will promote the idea that you’re not only communicating with your customers regularly, but that you’re generally reliable.

Respond to your fans and followers.
Social media is meant to promote conversation, not monologues, so don’t let your interactions be one-sided! Thank fans and followers for connecting with you online, respond to their comments, and even encourage conversation by sending out questions and requests for feedback. Your customer-base will appreciate that they’ve been given a chance to air complaints or (and you’ll find this is WAY more common) express their gratitude for your service.

Reach out to experts or connect with them online.
Engaging with a well-known authority in your business’s field can let people know that you are involved in your field’s development. Try following experts on Twitter and occasionally retweeting their best content. See if you can get one of them to do a guest post on your blog, or (even better) if you can write one for theirs. Even just connecting with experts on Facebook or LinkedIn can help promote consumer trust!

Use testimonials.
Yelp is so popular because people want to know what kind of experience previous customers had with your business. But you don’t need to limit testimonials to just review platforms! You can collect testimonials through your website, social media, or even just on a piece of paper at your store. Make sure that you have permission to reproduce the content, then spread the word through your social platforms or with a page on your website. And be sure to thank your reviewers for their kind words!

Edit, re-edit, and then edit one more time.
There’s nothing that will undermine your fantastic content and stellar customer service like typos and bad grammar, so proofread everything you put out! Editing isn’t just about spelling and punctuation, though. When possible, get a second opinion on your outgoing content to be sure it’s delivering the message you want. Never be snarky or sarcastic; it rarely reads well on social media. Your customers deserve your best effort, so give it to them!