The Benefits of Reputation Counseling
Everybody who has an online business should look into reputation counseling. Whether you know it or not, having good reputation management can be the difference between success and failure online. The wrong step could land your company in hot water that you have no idea how to get out of. Even if you do everything right, you still might find yourself on the other end of a concerted effort to ruin your company and make it difficult or impossible to conduct business. Having access to the right people can protect you so that you don’t have to worry about what might happen to your online image.
A Few Basic Tips
While you should get a professional to help you navigate through these problems, there are at least a few things you can do yourself to make sure that you don’t inadvertently make a bad situation worse.
The first thing to understand is that bad reviews and negative comments are going to happen. It is almost impossible to please every customer fully, and some people will be upset no matter what you do. Accept that this is the reality of doing business online and prepare to deal with it.
If you find a bad review, or even several bad reviews, of your product or service, make a point to contact the person in question and try to get a better understanding of the situation. What you absolutely shouldn’t do is try to fight, defend yourself, or even imply that you don’t believe the bad review. Any attempt to do anything other than attempt to learn more about the situation and encourage the writer to contact you directly will result in your company looking bad.
A perfect example of approaching this the wrong way is Amy’s Baking Company, a pizza restaurant in Arizona that has the distinction of having been abandoned by Gordon Ramsey on his show Kitchen Nightmares due to their being intractable. This company decided to respond to several poor reviews on their Yelp and Facebook profiles in an increasingly shrill and unhinged fashion. Sarcasm, defensiveness, or insults may amuse you temporarily, but they make you look like a bully who is insecure in your own product.
Never attempt to take advantage of a tragedy in order to better sell a product. After the Boston Marathon bombing, cooking site Epicurious tweeted their condolences and good feelings followed by a link to a whole-grain cranberry scones recipe. You don’t have to stop your business entirely, but keep any references to the event separate from a company pitch or a link back to something that you do. The only social media links that should accompany tragic events are to news and commentary sites.
If your business is large enough, consider that your top executives are going to need to manage their social media presence as well. Not only is this a good marketing technique if they have distinctive personalities and styles, but it also recognizes that the things that they say will reflect on the company. For an example of this, look at how sportscasters commenting on current events of all sorts end up having blowback onto ESPN or whatever network they work for. Trying to keep a low profile and protect your privacy is just not going to happen, so it’s better to be up front and open about yourself rather than try to hide and tempt those who would then seek you out looking for problems.
Finally, don’t wait for an emergency to worry about reputation counseling. If you don’t start thinking about it now, before anything has happened, then when a problem does arise it can take years to fix rather than months or days. Building your reputation starts the day you put your name on something online, and does not stop for anything. Being proactive and looking for ways to build the reputation you want, rather than protecting the one you ended up with, will make your life and your business a lot easier.
Getting on Board with Professional Reputation Counseling
A professional reputation management service can help you address all of these concerns and more. At RepManagement.com, we are experts at recognizing issues before they start to hurt your business, and finding ways to minimize or eliminate the blow that you feel should something happen. More than that, though, we can also help you develop the image that you want to portray to the public and take steps to protect that image from mistakes or catastrophes.
Don’t wait until something terrible happens and your business is in shambles before hiring somebody to fix the problem, not least because it can also make you look bad if you hire reputation management immediately after an accident. Instead, get regular reputation counseling and never have to worry about these issues.