reputation management for business success

How Industry Influencers Protect their Online Reputation

4 Simple Steps to Protecting Your Reputation Online

 

Unfortunately, the Internet is full of misleading information and untruths. When these untruths involve your brand, your reputation can suffer. Sites like Rip-Off Report do not spend time vetting the information they are fed. This makes it incredibly easy for competitors and others to leave false information that can ruin your brand’s reputation.

What’s worse than a ruined rep? The fact that many of these sites will charge you money to defend yourself. That’s right! It’s free to leave a negative review, but it can cost money to reply. This makes it very easy for a disgruntled ex-employee or unscrupulous competitor to ruin your reputation in just a few minutes.

What Research Shows

Research conducted by Bright Local has shown that up to 79% of consumers report that they trust online reviews. This means that having no reviews online, or having only negative reviews, can drive your potential customers straight into the waiting arms of your competitors. So how do you ensure that your brand is a positive one among the online community?

Four Steps to Protecting Your Name

There are four easy steps that you can take to not only building a positive reputation online, but to protecting the rep you build.

  1. Set Up Profiles on Social Media
  2. Build Links
  3. Online Reviews
  4. Google My Business

Social Media

Create profiles on all of the major social media sites and maintain your profiles. Build pages on sites like Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. After you have taken the time to build a profile, be sure to update it regularly. Having a stagnant presence on social media can be as damaging as having no presence. A dynamic presence on social media will position you to stay top-of-mind but also in the lead of others in the marketplace.

Update your pages at least once each week. Respond to questions that you receive about your brand, daily. And, if you receive negative comments, don’t delete them. Instead, use negative comments as an opportunity to provide exceptional customer service. Show other viewers that you don’t hide from negative feedback, but rather you address it, try to fix and offer excellence in exchange.

Link Building

Guest post on other sites and include a link to one or more of your social media profiles. Link building costs you nothing but a small amount of time, making it the perfect solution for brands without liquid capital. If you don’t have the time to guest post on other sites, assign the task to one of your employees. This method not only combats negative reviews, but it can help your profiles get more hits. It’s a win-win.

ACI Online Reputation AuditsOnline Reviews

Studies have shown that people are more likely to leave a negative review when they have had a bad experience than to leave a positive review for a good experience. In fact, it probably doesn’t occur to most people to take the time to say something positive online when they are pleased – it’s what they expect, so they don’t usually celebrate the obvious. So, give your customers incentives to leave positive reviews and make it easy for them to do so. This will encourage them to take a moment to praise your diligence in serving them with excellence. Another, a win-win.

Many brands find when they ask for feedback, they receive it. You may also choose to offer discounts as an encouragement for customers to leave positive reviews or you could reward them for sharing their experience.

Do one or the other, or do both, but do not let negative reviews be the only thing people see when they search for your company online. Be proactive in your approach to combating negative reviews. This is the only way that you can ensure your company has a positive reputation in the virtual world.

Google My Business

Google My Business,  allows you total control of your small business listing across all of Google’s features from a single platform. This completely streamlines the process of controlling your brand and your reputation. One of the best uses that you have of Google My Business is the posting of images, videos and virtual tours. Let your potential customers see exactly what you have to offer without the need to step foot in your store.

Google My Business also allows the small business owner to engage your audience. In other words, you can both monitor and respond to reviews that your customers (or people posing as customers) leave on the Web. Before you sit down to respond to any negative reviews, determine how you will do so. Have a game plan before touching your keyboard to respond. Don’t respond haphazardly, this could make matters worse. Do not combat negative comments with negative responses, do not present defensive and never reply with hostility or anger. You can’t win the battle if you get down in the dirty trenches of negativity.

Any comments that you make in response to any type of review should be nothing less than positive. Keep in mind that you can’t please all of the people all of the time. It’s cliché, but it’s true. Negative reviews are to be expected; how you handle those reviews will speak volumes about your brand to others.

A Few Facts About Online Reviews

  • On average a consumer consults 11 online reviews before they make a purchasing decision, I generally do.
  • Negative reviews can help your business. 68% of consumers are more trusting of reviews that are a mixture of positive and negative than those that are all positive.
  • Bad reviews that are based in fact provide a learning opportunity for you and your team.
  • Responding to reviews shows potential customers that you care about exceptional customer service – excellent brand attribute.

Handling Negative Reviews and Protecting Your Reputation – Doing It Right

You know that your reputation is gold. As a brand, your reputation means everything. When your reputation is stellar, you not only beat out your direct competition, but you don’t have to work as hard to build brand awareness. It also eliminates barriers to closing the deal as well as acquiring new buyers. Further, your existing customers will feel good about their decision to buy from you. When others celebrate your brand, they will boast about their preexisting loyalty to you!

You understand that you need to handle reviews properly. But what is properly?

Here are four tips for handling negative reviews in a way that will leave your brand shining in the minds of your potential customers.

  1. Be professional – always! Do show that you care and do show that you are both willing and prepared to solve the problem.
  2. Actions Speak! Show your customer that you are ready and willing to find solutions. Phone calls, emails or even a certified letter in response to the review speaks volumes. Your responses should aim to please the viewer.
  3. Handle it yourself! When appropriate, a response from the leader of the brand has extraordinary consequences. Imagine the reaction your customers will have when you, the Industry Influencer- personally responds! Do not delegate the task of handling negative reviews to an employee, unless they are well verse in your brand, voice and culture.
  4. Document it! When you are responding to a negative review, be sure to not only tell your side of the story in a professional way, but detail the steps you took to try to remedy the problem. Share with the onlookers that you are true to providing service with excellence and when you don’t, you are committed to setting things right – after a sincere apology of course.

The brand’s primary goal online must be to build a strong reputation. A 5-star reputation is the flip side of a dynamic brand. When you follow the advice outlined in this article, you are sure to not only build your reputation, but further, you are going to protect it. After all, your reputation is the lifeblood of your brand.

ACI offers reputation management audits for brandsI would like to receive a complimentary preliminary online reputation audit, our team would be happy to see what others are saying about you. Click here to see, What Others Are Saying About You?

If you have a moment, stop by and visit ACI Google Business Page. Feel free to leave a great review! 🙂

 

 

In passion, purpose and building a 5-star reputation,

Andrea Callahan teaching Industry Influencers to brand their WHY

 

 

 

 

About The Author

Callahan

Andrea Callahan is a brand designer. She helps passion & purpose-driven entrepreneurs maximize their strengths to craft and implement an image that represents their WHY and to use that why to position themselves as an Industry Influencer. She a speaker, seminar leader and the author of, "It's Your Brand ~ Make Your Identity Clear" available on Amazon.com Callahan launched the Industry Influencer Academy at academy.andreacallahan.com

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