If you get all this right, you should develop a reputation for your business so that every time someone sees your logo, they will be moved to place an order.
But this doesn’t always go to plan, and sometimes you’ll find that your customers are making life difficult for you, or you’re having a bad day and dropping the ball. You can find yourself accumulating bad reviews and gaining a bad reputation when this happens. That’s a brand’s drawback and quite the opposite of what we’re looking for.
When this happens, you can try to fix your rep and get things back on track using a technique called ‘ reputation management.
This is something that you can do in person through interviews and statements but these days it often refers to a form of ‘SEO’ – Search Engine Optimization. The simple question is: when someone searches for your brand, what do they find? And is it good?
There are three outcomes here:
• Your business doesn’t show up at all (bad)
• Your business shows up but mainly with bad reviews (worse)
• Your business shows up and looks great (good!)
It’s a technique that involves getting any given web page or website to the top of the search rankings. This then means that when someone looks for your brand online, you can define what comes up first.
Of the ideal scenario here is that it’s your website that comes up first. This way, you can completely control the first impression that people get about your business and determine exactly what they first read about you. You’ll do this by filling your site with lots of relevant content, by finding keywords and inserting them into your content and by building lots of links. You should also be certain to list your business with online directories such as Google My Business and Foursquare (if relevant).
At the same time though, you also want to ensure that positive reviews negative ones. To do this, you might have to perform some SEO for the positive reviews – but at the same, you also need to try and ensure that you have more positive reviews than negative.
How do you do that?
There are a number of strategies. One is to provide the best service or business possible so that the experience people have with your business will be positive. On top of that though, it’s also a good idea to request that they leave a positive review. Simply asking “if you enjoyed our service, please leave a positive review on TripAdvisor” is a great way to nudge someone to write about you if they otherwise wouldn’t. And this is particularly important when you consider that people are generally much more likely to write about negative experiences than positive ones when left to their own devices!
Another important tip is to respond to reviews on these sites.
Some sites give you the option to do this and so you can do it for their benefit and maybe offer compensation / say how you’re going to improve in the future. Don’t be defensive or territorial – just demonstrate that you’ve been listening. This may negate a bad review’s damaging effect, and if you’re really lucky, the reviewer may even improve your score!