Managing Your Online Reputation

monitoring your online reputationOne of our clients received a complaint about service on Facebook this week. We monitor this client’s social media and responded immediately to help them solve the problem. The situation may actually improve the customer’s loyalty to the company.

Like our client, there is no doubt that all businesses need to be monitoring their social media mentions to be able to mediate negative comments. Responding quickly in a caring way is critical to maintaining and managing your online reputation.

As a business, you should keep track of the places you have been mentioned on social media. Be sure to look for references to you on Yelp, Angie’s List, Twitter, Foursquare, and Facebook. Service providers like dentists, apartment communities, and plumbers can also find ratings and reviews on specialized sites dedicated to those industries. These days most consumers check out reviews before they make a purchase.

Unfortunately it is inevitable that you will get some negative reviews. You will make mistakes occasionally and the customer may want to share with other people online. But there are also people who will get angry at things you can’t control and they will choose to vent. And, there are a few people who try to game the system for their own needs.

Assuming that you will get criticism now and then, you do not want to let those undermine your reputation. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Use the complaint as an opportunity to correct mistakes. Make the situation better and refine processes for the future.
  2. Don’t overreact. Respond quickly and sensitively but do not anticipate disaster when the situation is not that critical in the big picture.
  3. Encourage all of your customers to use review sites. By telling them how and reminding them to share their good experiences, your happy customers will balance the negative reviews. (Most consumers expect some negative reviews. Positive ones will counter them.)

You may choose to use one of the expanding number of online reputation management services to help you monitor mentions of your company on social media. Be sure to select one that is well regarded. If their promises seem too good to be true, they probably are.

As “The Wall Street Journal” explained this week,  it is probably not possible to get bad reviews removed from reputable rating sites like Yelp or Angie’s List (unless they are fraudulent).  But it is important to manage social media sites by tracking them and responding to complaints. A monitoring or reputation management service can be a big help. The worst thing you can do is nothing.

Managing Your Online Reputation is important.