Social media platforms, online reviews and blog articles have made it ever so easy for members of the public, or for other companies, to leave online comments or negative reviews that mar your business' reputation.
Of course, there is nothing any business can do to stop people doing this; however there are many things that businesses can do to prevent this from happening.
This is where an online reputation management strategy comes in.
What Is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management, or ORM as it is most commonly known, is, in extremely simple terms, managing your business' online reputation.
There is no longer anything you can do to prevent people from talking about your business online, it is inevitably going to happen, whether it be positive or negative. Therefore, it is crucial that you are aware of what is being said about your business online and the steps that you can take in order to prevent these comments from having a negative impact on your business.
The being aware of and adequately responding to online mentions is what ORM entails.
How Do You Control Your Online Reputation?
Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do to control your online reputation.
But there are things you can do in order to prevent any negative comments from having a negative impact on your business.
Don't Delete Negative Comments
This may sound like a strange tip, but it is something that many businesses do.
Deleting comments won't make the problem go away. Instead, it makes your business appear to your audience as if you cannot deal with their comments. It can also have a damaging effect on your business.
You can make negative comments less easy to find by ensuring you are constantly posting great, original content.
Respond To As Many Comments As Possible - Even The Negative Comments
Many businesses receive negative comments online and immediately adopt the 'bury the head in the sand' approach. But this does not need to be the option.
Negative comments can often provide your business with vital information with regards to where your business is going wrong. It is also a great opportunity to speak to those consumers who have posted negative feedback and ask them why.
Engage with them rather than ignore them. Ask for their email address and engage in a conversation, diffusing the situation and offering them some form of compensation can really ensure they change their mind about your business.
Emulate A Positive Reputation All Of The Time
Online reputation management is something that your business needs to be aware of at all times, not just when operating online.
Ensure your business operates in a professional manner at all times, treating customers with respect offline will encourage positivity online.
Be Prepared To Respond Quickly To A Reputation Crisis
Have in place listening posts throughout the internet to make sure you are aware of what is being said about your business and where. As soon as you are aware of a crisis occurring, make sure to address and diffusion the situation as quickly as possible. However, if you feel the situation has been taken too far do not be afraid to report the online profile to ensure that person does not put your business at risk again.
- Start monitoring your online brand mentions. Here's a study into the most mentioned brand monitoring tools in search
- Set up and follow a plan on how to get, montior, and respond to online reviews
- Prepare how to deal with negative reviews
- Outline and follow online reputation management issue resolution flowchart
To get an idea how bad things can get out of hand, check 7 Hashtags Turned Bashtags: Lessons Learned
* Leader image by mslgroup1