In business, just like in high school, your reputation matters. And your online reputation is beginning to matter even more. A few negative online reviews or social media posts can do more to harm your reputation (and your sales) than you would think possible.
Online reputation management (ORM) has become a booming industry as companies, big and small, strive to present the best public face possible. While large corporations can afford to hire a staff of lawyers and PR people, it is the small and medium-sized businesses that are most susceptible to negative comments online. Because they can not afford to hire full-time online reputation management department, many businesses try to do it themselves.
Unfortunately, many of them do more harm to their reputation than good. Here are three online reputation management strategies to avoid.
- Planting Fake Reviews
This is a very tempting practice, but one you should avoid. Many consumers are skeptical of reviews that seem too good to be true. When they see positive reviews that are vague and general they will discount them right off the bat.
As a result of these fake positive reviews, they will put more weight on the negative reviews that appear on your Yelp! page or other online review sites. Get real reviews from real customers. It will take some time but the effort will be worth it.
- Ignoring Bad Reviews
This may seem like a good strategy on the surface, but it is not. If you fail to address the negative things people are saying about your business online, then customers will begin to think they are true.
No business will ever have a 100% satisfied customer base. But there are many reasons that one or two will be unhappy. Is is your job to figure out why they are unhappy and try to fix the situation. Communicate with the customer who left the bad review and see if there is anything you can do to rectify the situation.
- Arguing With Reviewers
There are a number of people on the Internet that take great pleasure in stirring up controversy and getting people angry. Some of them may leave negative reviews about your company just to see how you will respond. Don’t fall for their trap.