Reputation Management - Before It's Too Late

mug-shotA common question I run into with small businesses is what do I do about a bad online review. Here are some things you can do to address bad reviews:

Monitor: First you need to be aware they are out there. Set up a program every so often to check the social media platforms to look for bad reviews. You can also use a tool like Social Mention, trackur or others to watch the web for conversation across the web media platforms and web sites.
Engage: If possible engage the negative reviewer publicly or privately in a manner that let’s the reviewer know that measures are being taken to address the concern. If the review is authentic, it needs to be addressed in a polite, sincere fashion. You can go as far as to solicit suggestions from the reviewer on how to address any issues in the review. If a review is from a nut job, is obviously a hatchet job or is not based in reality try to ask the social media platform where it is written to remove it.
Be Proactive: Do not wait for the storm to come to build your foundation. If a bad review comes and there are no good reviews, that review has some credibility. Encourage happy clients to write reviews, so when the bad review comes, it becomes buried in the good ones. Remember, people expect to see some bad reviews. You just want to have many more good ones.
No Gaming: Gaming the system by forging reviews, buying reviews or just getting a group of people that are not customers to write reviews will get you into trouble. The reviews need to be authentic. It is ok to grease the skids a little to encourage real customers to write the reviews…just do not counterfeit or game them. Also, do not have the customers write them on your local business computer or from the same location. Reviews coming from the same IP address can be seen as bogus even if the are real.
Participation is Critical: Lot’s of time I hear business folks say, “we do not want to participate in social media, because we cannot control what people are saying”. Well, heres a tip: they are going to say it anyway, whether you participate in the discussion or not. In other words, your absence does not stop the discussion, just your side from speaking.
The town hall has always been going on, just now it is amplified on the World Wide Web. Make sure that you are part of the discussion.

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