It’s good to share; unfortunately it’s also rather easy to share these days, which for businesses facing the sharp end of a bad review is not good news. It can be hard to quantify the cost of a single bad review but it’s clear that the higher the profile of the review the more likely it’s going to affect your sales. One is bad enough but a series of them can be devastating, so how do you find these troublesome tweets and how do you combat their effects?
Reputation Management and Strategies
Firstly it’s important to have a plan. This should include some social media reputation management tools; Google, as ever, provides a simple to use tool in the form of Google Alerts. You can set alerts to monitor mentions across the web and locate the good and bad reviews. In addition it’s worth having a close look at Social Mention, which basically operates in the same way but is designed to monitor social media channels. Apart from monitoring what’s going on in the great virtual world and what people are saying about you, it’s also worth encouraging positive reviews. Some companies think that this means paying for positive reviews, which is certainly an option, but spending money on reviews is not necessary.
Simply asking customers if they would be willing to write or tweet a short review is the free alternative. Focus your efforts on repeat customers and those that you know have had a positive experience. Another excellent source is companies that you work with – this can be a mutual task and further help to promote a positive image online.
Different Types of Bad
Not all bad reviews are bad. Those that don’t appear with high rankings in the search engine results will probably not do much damage. It’s rare for internet users to get beyond page one of the results, so any lurking on the “may as well not exist pages” shouldn’t be a huge concern. In terms of Twitter, one negative tweet from a user with two followers is not necessarily the end of the world, those with numerous followers and a tweet that just keeps on giving, should be the ones to focus on. Bad reviews come in two main types; the first is constructive criticism and it’s seriously worth responding to these.
If a product or service has not fulfilled the customer’s expectations, offer to replace it, refund and try to get the conversation off-line onto email, to limit the damage, making clear that you are willing to help in the process. This type of feedback can often turn into positive feedback, if you deal successfully with the problem. The more difficult feedback to deal with is that from customers who you just know you cannot satisfy. This type of feedback needs to be considered on a case by case basis and it may be safer not to respond, simply because this can make a bad situation much worse.
Stopping the Rot
Damage limitation is essential; bad reviews on sites like Trip Advisor, or Yelp, will be the most likely to find a place high on search engine’s lists. These sites are trusted by the search engines and mentions of your company on them will most likely rank highly. This is great for positive reviews but not so good for the less favourable variety. Unless the review is fraudulent and you can prove it the chances are you’ll not be able to remove it; in addition the time and effort to do so could be better spent. Content is King, as they say, and by producing large amounts of good quality content in a short space of time, you should be able to start to push the bad review off the top of the results page. This is hard work, time consuming but it’s completely essential.
Get your blogging head on, and your press release head, then let your social media fingers do the walking. Get as much content out there as you can, as quickly as possible. Providing fresher search engine fodder quickly helps to push the bad review out of sight back onto page two or three of the results where it belongs.
About the Author:
Carlo is a marketing and business bloggers and produces video guides on QuickBooks accounting software. He is attending a course on social media management and is particular interested in online reputation. While there may be no such thing as “bad press”, it’s not the kind any business really likes. Finding ways to manage your reputation online is simple and should involve an effective monitoring programme combined with fast responses to deal with problems and lower the visibility of bad reviews.