Do's and Don'ts of Online Reputation Management
Social media marketing has become a necessity for any company that is marketing their services and products correctly. Along with the positive customer engagement and authority gathering that comes from using social networks, microblogs, and other social media actively, being so active will eventually result in some fashion of negative press.
Whether it is in the form of a customer blowing up your Twitter feed with complaints or an ex-employee sounding off his negative opinions about your company on Facebook, understanding how to keep your brand's reputation from becoming negative is essential to the health of your business. By understanding how to manage your company's reputation, you could very-well save your brand from becoming an afterthought.
Tips for Handling Any Situation
Keep in mind, perfection is simply not possible, and because of this, there are are few 'Dos' and 'Don'ts' of handling a less-than-stellar review that you receive on the internet. Consider these next few tips whenever you're trying to defuse a potential P.R. disaster.
Do: Genuinely Address the Issue – The first thing that you should do is look into the complaint. Since, the popular idiom, "All news is good news" is no longer relevant in the digital age, take complaints seriously. There are always those clients and customers who are a pain in the... side... and will always find a hole in your offering or product. They pay you, and that alone is reason enough for them to complain if something isn't right. Just because their complaint is erroneous or superfluous, doesn't mean it can't do damage to your reputation.
Don't: Just Give Up – Under no circumstances should you ignore any complaint or issue that someone has with your company. If you care about the reputation of your company, keeping your clients' opinions in mind can be the difference between mending the fence or burning it to the ground. Even if you found out about an issue long after the infraction took place, a little goodwill goes a long way!
Do: Ask for Forgiveness – If there has been an issue that has been taken care of, there is no shame in mentioning that their statement on social media was detrimental. Even ask if they would mind mentioning that you fixed the issue. Be humble and sincere and people will respond.
Dealing with Unhappy Clients in Social Media
It's going to happen from time to time: A client or prospect will voice their disapproval of your business on a social network, microblog, or other form of electronic communication. Trying to manage this situation is tricky as taking criticism isn't always easy. Urgency is the best practice in these situations. You only have one chance to turn this situation into a positive experience for everyone involved.
Do: Try to Resolve It ASAP – It doesn't take a marketing professional to know that the faster you turn a negative situation into something resembling a positive one, the better it is for your company's reputation. Having a customer or client continuously render negative comments on how their initial complaint was handled damages the perception you are trying to establish: That you run a professional organization. By not handling the situation with urgency will frequently result in additional negative feedback. Conversely, a customer that has their issue resolved quickly and competently will more often than not update their status with praise about how your organization handled the situation. Once they are happy campers again, and have said so, it will result in your organization saving face. This result makes a tough and difficult situation a lot better.
Don't: Just Delete It – When someone writes something negative, especially if it is untrue or unfair, you might have that instinct to just delete it and pretend it never happened. Don't. The internet is forever. Never run from an issue a serious client has, because if they have find it negative, other clients might as well. Of course, some situations don't warrant this kind of care. If you are dealing with blatantly libelous comments or spam, don't waste your time. Ditch them.
An Ex-employee gives Your Company a Bad Reputation
Most job-board sites allow employees to rate your business. This means, when you are looking to advertise a job opening in your organization, the people that have initial interest, or anyone who accesses that page can read the comments posted by current or former members of your organization. Almost any business owner can tell you, you will not always part ways with an employee on good circumstances. There are a few things that you can do to help rebuild your street cred.
Do: Accentuate the Positive – Make a short video to put on social media (and your website) about why your company is a good place to work. Feature everything that makes your company stand out. This alone will go a long way to refute sparse criticisms.
Don't: Directly Respond to the Issue – As tempting as it may be to do this – it's never a good idea to reply in your own defense to a former employee. People tend to liken defensiveness to guilt or pettiness, especially when it comes to former employees. Rise above the temptation to defend your company's honor. Instead, prove the nay-sayer wrong.
The internet can be an intimidating place for a business owner. The anger and consternation that bad press makes you feel won't just go away if you ignore the problems causing those feelings. Regardless of the circumstances, it's extremely important to maintain your integrity and professionalism. If you do your best to run the sort of business you'd like to work for, you will suffer less headaches and maintain a sterling reputation, despite the factors working against you.