It’s a known fact that 70% of people consult reviews and ratings before purchasing*. And this profound truth has created a massive paradigm shift that’s completely rocked the worlds of many businesses. Additionally, it’s spurred a growing, uncomfortable itch to repair a bad online reputation right away.

In many instances, a one-star review or a round of bad press can make a business owner want to bang their head against the wall seeking a way to quickly fix the problem. However, there’s a right way to alleviate the defaming attacks on an online reputation, and there’s a wrong way. Here are a few tips on what to do (and what to avoid) when managing or repairing your online reputation.

Forget About Fake Reviews

Just don’t do it. This isn’t the way to go about managing of even improving your online reputation management by writing forged artificial reviews or having someone write them for you (known as astroturfing). With Google, Yelp, and even consumer advocacy groups such as Ripoffreport.com now out to punish businesses with bad search rankings, hefty fines, and massive public disclosure, it may make your situation even worse.

  • In September, NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman slammed 19 companies with fines totaling $350,000 for writing fake reviews and committing false advertising practices.
  • In October, Google’s Matt Cutts addressed online reputation management (ORM) head on explaining that sneaking link building tactics to improve your online reputation just won’t work.
  • Review sites such as Yelp are getting increasingly more sophisticated with algorithms and software filters that detect fake reviews or multiple reviews made from a single IP address (technology is crazy!)

Instead, we recommend resolving a bad review or rating right away and head on. The trick is to confront and resolve the issue immediately. 95% of unhappy customers will return to your business if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently (PeopleClaim.com). Just be sure to contact the author of the review directly, looking into the validity of the review, and being as courteous as possible when addressing the problem mentioned.

Use Google Alerts to receive email alerts of when your company is mentioned on the web or consider a sophisticated online reputation management software that lets you know when a negative review is being posted.

 

Be Wary of ORM Extortion

Yes, when a business receives a very bad online review or discovers themselves in a really sticky and threatening situation, the feeling in the air could turn desperate fast. There are hundreds of ORM services out there, and many of them are legitimate, but be aware that not a lot are.

If an ORM company contacts you directly offering to delete or eliminate a bad review or demote the review for $X dollars, don’t take them up on the offer. Victims, like this one mentioned in this Forbes article, often find themselves hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the hole just by agreeing to pay these companies to obliterate bad reviews from the web forever.

The truth is, it’s extremely difficult, maybe even impossible, to delete reviews online. That’s what makes online reputation so popular and important to the public. There’s an underlying truth that’s associated with reading a review online from a fellow consumer, something that can’t be matched with pitchy old-school advertising.

What companies can do to help improve their reputation and visibility is to share the positive to combat and remedy the negative. Google recommends in their official blog that businesses can reduce the visibility of negative content by “proactively publishing useful, positive information”.

This can be done through sharing truthful, relevant, and useful content through the web and on social sites. Build a website, update a blog frequently, and be active on your Facebook page. Update it with fresh, new, engaging content. In addition, reach out to your most loyal customers, both online and offline, to ask for real feedback. You won’t be sorry.

 

The Takeaway

Online branding and reputation is extremely important right now.

DO make it a priority to be alert, monitor, and manage your online reputation. Sales and revenue are now affected by how your brand looks online.

DO actively update your online and social properties with fresh, useful, relevant content. Be proactive with monitoring online activity and mentions with real-time alerts.

DON’T argue with the author of a negative review. Address and resolve the issue directly and offline if possible. Take an objective look, respond with tact, and own up and apologize if the situation calls for it.

DON’T use deceptive, fake, or unethical promotional ways to help combat uncomfortable instances. These have severe consequences and can make situations worse.

Business owners, PR managers and digital marketers should stay active, take the high road, and create a comprehensive internet reputation management strategy. Customers will understand that no business is perfect. As long as a business is listening and developing ways to acknowledge and provide helpful information and services to the customer, the company is on its way to creating a clean, considerate, and successful brand image.

If you’re looking for an online reputation management service, click below to learn more about our Internet Reputation Protector program. It’s built to help you claim listings, nurture your reputation (the right way), and monitor review sites and social media in real-time. 

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About Small Screen Producer

Small Screen Producer is a full service, marketing firm located in Houston, Texas that specializes in online digital media marketing through a 4-step process. Step 1: WE PLAN a custom web presence strategy for your business through website design and development, mobile development, social media account creation and branding. STEP 2: We then POSITION your brand through Pay-Per-Click advertising and search engine optimize tactics that include on-page and off-page SEO that are Google and Bing approved. STEP 3: We then PROMOTE your brand using an Inbound marketing strategy or a content marketing strategy to help you accomplish your marketing goals. We do this through blogging, video production, infographics, call-to-actions, landing pages, and free educational offers. We help you build trust and rapport with your customer base. STEP 4: We then PROTECT your brand’s web presence with a reputation management program that monitors social media and on line reviews. Get started today with a free online marketing assessment of your company’s web presence. Your company deserves it.

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