If you’re struggling to deal with the demands of your job now, you might be tempted to let your online reputation work slide. And that’s not a great idea, as a 2014 Nielsen study suggests that reputation is a key metric companies can use to close deals.
In this survey, 54 percent of American consumers decided not to do business with a company because of something they learned about the way the company handled products, services, employees or customer service.
Consumers are actively looking for information about your company. And when they find it, they make decisions that can make or break your business.
So handling a reputation is vital. And if you’re pressed for time, you can do a daily reputation check and touch-up in about an hour. Here’s the plan.
Step 1: Run a Google Check (Estimated Time: 15 Minutes)
Sure, there are plenty of search engines out there, but I think we can all agree that Google is the big kahuna. After all, in May of this year, comScore reported that Google held about 64 percent of market share for desktop search, and that’s virtually unchanged from the month prior.
So when time is of the essence, you’ll want to focus on the site with the biggest pull. And that means Google.
Your quick search will involve two steps:
- Start typing your company name, and see what Google decides to append to that search. Words like “fraud” and “nasty” are red flags.
- Finish a search for your company name, and scan the first page for nastiness.
Any problems you find can’t be solved in 15 minutes. That much is obvious. But you can write down the issues you see, and the keywords involved, and add those things to your content marketing plan. Publish blogs, press releases, and news articles with those same keywords, and you could clear the Google problem in time. That’s something you just can’t do unless you know about the problem first.
Step 2: Read New Company Reviews (Estimated Time: 10 Minutes)
Chances are, your customers are taking to sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor to discuss their experiences with your company. Why? Consider a testimonial published by Yelp in February of this year. This reviewer, who has written up notes on 12 companies and who plans to write more, does so out of a sense of fairness. She’s benefitted from the things others have written, so she seems to think it’s best if she helps others. She thinks of it as a community service.
But her “service” may not always be of service to you.
Passing through each site and reading every review will help you catch problems before they snowball. And this is an issue you can (in most cases) handle in that same hour you’ve set aside each day. Read on…
Step 3: Address Company Reviews, as Needed (Estimated Time: 20 Minutes)
And here we are! Most reviews you see on review sites require a quick, comprehensive, polite response of some sort. Earlier this year, I shared some tips on responding to negative reviews, and those can work as an action plan for anything bad that you might see.
Alternately, you can reach out to your reviewers on private channels, and deal with the complaint via email or phone. Some people really advocate this method, as it keeps an argument out of the public’s eye. But, I will always maintain that addressing an issue, even briefly, in a public channel has merit. After all, your response to that issue is public and it shows that you both notice and care about customer complaints. Leave your reviewers hanging, and you could seem uncaring. It’s a definite risk.
Step 4: Scan Facebook/Twitter (Estimated Time: 15 Minutes)
Your social media accounts are far from set-it-and-forget-it. You’ll need to be an active content curator, reading through responses to your content and addressing attacks as needed. You can do this throughout the day, of course, but a quick check and issue address could also be something you handle once per day.
You can use those same tips I published about Yelp reviews to handle a negative social media attack. Or, you can simply delete negative comments altogether and block those writers that are repeat reputation offenders. Either approach is beneficial. Just be sure you check and address often.
Go Ahead, Get Started on Your Online Reputation!
When it comes to reputation management, delays aren’t beneficial. The sooner you start searching, responding and amending, the better off your company will be. And with this plan, you should be well on your way to a recovery fairly quickly.
Did I miss anything? I’d love to hear your thoughts if you think that one of these steps is better replaced by something else. There’s a lot to clean up, so there are a lot of places to look. Hit me up with comments!