Social media sites, like Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google+, and blogging sites with ‘endless’ agendas have become the platform for magnifying the voices of your clients and potential prospects for your business.
No matter who you are or what business is, when you start getting attention, it is only a matter of time before someone will post something negative about you online resulting in lost opportunities and damage to your reputation or brand. Your customers are online, and it’s critical to manage your online reputation in order to protect your brand as it may be the first impression the public gets about you.
Here are the 6 steps to consider when managing your online reputation:
1) Treat Your Online Reputation Like You Would Your Personal Reputation.
Handle online attacks the same way you would a personal attack. Don’t take it lightly. Nothing is more important than your name and reputation.
2) Handle ALL negative posts as Opportunities.
All complaints, bashing, and customer dissatisfaction should be treated as opportunities not problems (until proven to be something else). A dissatisfied customer or post can be turned into a fan when handled correctly.
3) Take Care of Things Immediately.
The sooner you handle the complaint the easier they handle. Respond immediately and reasonable people will appreciate you making them a priority. Most people, when handled correctly, will then retract the post or better yet post how great you are.
4) Direct Contact
Do not respond publicly online to something negative as you only bring more attention to it. Communication it is best done when handled directly either by phone, a direct message, or even in person if possible. Communicate that you want to see what you can do to handle their issues.
5) Be Pro-active.
The best solution to manage your reputation is to be on the offense not defense. Create initiatives to simply collect positive reactions about you or your company. Encourage and make it easy for the people that love and do business with you to spread the good word about you.
6) Know Your Limitations.
While I believe that every complaint is an opportunity, you have to know which battles to fight and which ones to walk away from. There are some that are only interested in making noise, negativity and spewing hate. Disregard and don’t engage them once they prove they are only interested in consuming you, your focus, or your energy.
The most important thing to remember is to treat your online reputation in the same manner you would your personal and public reputation. It’s a fact of life that to the degree you get attention, you will at some point get criticism; how you manage your online reputation is the issue!