How to Identify and Handle Risks to Your Online Reputation
Reputation is one of the most valuable assets for any company; a positive one can make a company’s brand recognizable and a customer favorite; a negative one can destroy a business even if it is not based on facts. Because of how quickly and easily negative news can spread online, reputation marketing experts caution businesses to stay alert about all company-related online postings. Even with a good reputation, there are always risks to negativity that could be potentially damaging to a brand if not properly addressed and managed.
Know About Online Postings
Any business with an online presence must be alert to any pertinent online postings in order to identify any threats to a company’s respectability so that any potential problems can be effectively and rapidly handled. This can be accomplished by setting Google alerts for notification of any online mention of the company as well as to frequently Google the business name to see what listings are shown. In most cases, search results will show good reviews and opinions; if not, knowing how to handle such risks is the first step of a damage control process.
Evaluate Negative Remarks
A common thread with human nature that is clearly demonstrated in online postings is that someone is always going to be unhappy about something and ready to tell others about any bad experience, often voicing an online opinion to anyone who will listen. Many times, opinions posted on blogs or websites that are of a more personal type get little traffic, are not very influential, and are better left alone. Poor reviews on popular consumer sites, comments on influential and widely read blogs and websites, and any internet places where a company’s targeted audience might read such negative reviews are a different story. The best way to approach any potential problems is to concentrate on any comments about issues important to a business and any comments that may be potentially more damaging than any others; these are the ones most likely to be seen by other internet viewers.
Respond Professionally and Positively
Being aware of what is being said and then determining which negative comments require a response allows a company to turn any negative comments around with positive, helpful replies. Any incorrect information should be politely corrected through either reply comments or contact with the complainant to explain the situation. On public forums, timely replies to complaints that offer some sort of positive resolution to the complaint or problem are recommended. Even if there is not a complete resolution possible for the complainant, being seen publicly as willing to listen to complaints and consider solutions to please customers can turn negativity into a more positive outlook to other potential customers. In cases of extremely difficult or sensitive issues that have the potential for great damage, it may be necessary to hire a company specializing in reputation management for help.
For any company doing business on the internet, maintaining the best web presence and brand recognition with diligent control of reputation and handling any necessary damage control is an ongoing concern. The best way to do this is by providing good services and products to customers – and responding to their concerns immediately before any negative publicity is spread across the internet!