If you’re an older business, even a year or two, there’s the potential that your business has a negative reputation. This could be no fault of your own. It’s an unfortunate truth that people are more willing to share a negative opinion than a positive one. On the other hand, maybe your business messed up, and that currently narrates the online story of your business. That’s okay as well. A business shouldn’t be defined by its worst experience but by its current efforts. That’s why we need to fix your online reputation.
What can you do? How can you change popular opinion online and redeem the popularity of your business? Before we get into the details, let’s stress how important this is. Your business is only as good as people say it is. And people make decisions online based on what the see. Sound reason would suggest that if you want to affect customer decision making, you need to change the information they consume.
The roadmap to a better reputation is simple. You can’t remove negative information from the internet; there’s no such thing as deleting reviews. However, through three steps, you can fix your online reputation and achieve growth. The steps are as follows: First, respond to the negativity. Second, re-establish your brand. Third, gather new testimonials that demonstrate your improved reputation. Let’s dig in.
Respond to Negativity
If you know where the negative reviews or sentiments are housed, begin tracking them down. For Sonic Local users, we’ll store every review associated with your business on our software so you don’t have to go looking. Otherwise, check Google, Yelp, Facebook, Bing, Yahoo, and any review sites specific to your industry or, if you operate out of a physical location, listings specific to your local area.
If you still can’t find where the negative reputation stems from online, check other sources. Perhaps you’ve upset a blogger. Maybe there’s some negative information in the paper about you. Talk to friends and associates in the community. The point is to find wherever the negative reputation stems from and then address it.Use others to fix your online reputation
The easiest way to begin affecting change is by responding to the negative reviews you find. We’ve already gone into detail about this in an earlier post, but to reiterate the point, be professional in your response to negative reviews. Regardless of how accurate the review is, treat it seriously and seek to understand the customer. One of the best responses is an invitation to call you, the owner, and figure things out. You don’t want to spark more emotion on the review site. Move the conversation to a private location.
If the negativity comes from other sources like bloggers or press or anything else, resolve the issue in a similar way. Seek to rectify the situation and make up for any wrongdoing, real or exaggerated.
Re-Establish Your Brand
It should go without saying, but if your business really is frustrating customers, be it through customer service, a poor product, or inflexibility, take the steps to fix it before the reputation turns any worse. A strategy to fix your online reputation is only worthwhile if coupled with an equal instore effort.
There are two great resources at your disposal to fix your online reputation: social media and your website. Both give you complete control over the visuals and messaging. This lets you highlight the components and values of your business that are most important.
Social media is great because of the two-way interaction. You share a message, visual, or branding and customers can respond immediately and directly to the post. If you’re trying to re-establish your brand, pay attention to the comments. If done correctly, you’ll be able to start important conversations about your business, and, like reviews, correct negative impressions.
Social media can also counteract a negative reputation and re-establish your brand thanks to the quantity of media you can create. Most consumers are completely fine seeing a branded message once a day on a social platform. You could post on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn every day, and upwards of 3x’s a day on Twitter.
Our software can help you in these endeavors as well. Scheduled posts from the software streamline your strategy and help your business stay consistent on social platforms. You can interact with customers through comments and likes right from the platform.
Gather New Testimonials
By this third step, you should have already changed the opinion of the current negative reviews across the web. Then, through your website and social media, you should have started to share an updated version of your brand built on the lessons you learned from listening to customer feedback.
Now it’s time to spread the stories associated with your new brand. New customers will feel the difference in your business. Your job, after satisfying them, is to turn those customers into advocates. In other words, you need to generate a review from those customers! The whole problem started with bad reviews, right? It makes sense that 5-star reviews will fix your online reputation.
Customers only consider the most recent reviews as actually relevant. A year-old review complaining about bad customer service is much less persuasive than a review from the last 2 weeks praising your business. Customers will also read less than 10 reviews to understand the business. If your most recent reviews are all positive, customers will consider this as an accurate representation of your business – which, of course, it is, thanks to your effort to rebuild your business reputation.
Again, Sonic Local users have a slight advantage – through the Springboard, you can send personalized review requests via text or email. Send out a few every week and you’ll begin seeing positive reviews flooding in. These can completely change your reputation online and grow your business.
To fix your online reputation you’ll need time, but it isn’t complicated. Remember that these steps are only effective if you actually fix the issues that hurt customer satisfaction. It might be easier if you could just delete reviews, but in the long run, a strong reputation strategy that considers both online and in-store practices will keep your business open for years.