There’s hardly a business out there that hasn’t had an occasional run-in with a customer. Sometimes, despite your hard work and best efforts, a customer will take to the internet to share their complaints.
In a perfect world, you could resolve a disgruntled client’s problems before the situation escalated to the point where they believe a post in a public forum is necessary to warn people about your business. But with the ease-of-use and low barrier to entry, the Internet has increasingly become the place to complain about an unpleasant consumer experience. Word-of-mouth now travels through social media and the Internet at the speed of light – or at least at the speed of your Wifi connection!
The first step in repairing your business’s search results requires a thorough brand analysis. We’ll ask a lot of questions to determine where, what, and how you feel your brand is perceived. This comprehensive discovery session is a critical component in helping us understand your current brand position and the context surrounding it.
The questions may not be easy to answer. The process may reveal a strong and vibrant brand – or it may illuminate holes, lack of focus, and opportunities for improvement. Regardless of you the outcome, the we open the door for a thoughtful discussion that will help us gain a complete vision of what your brand represents and how to proceed with our strategy.
After the completion of the brand analysis, we’ll scour the search engines for brand mentions to determine the greatest challenges and where we can make the quickest impact. After our assessment is complete, we’ll create a custom strategy for your project.
The key to handling online criticism of your company is easy with a little bit of planning and preparation. The magnitude of a few isolated complaints can be greatly decreased when you’re ready to respond effectively, quickly, and efficiently to help reduce any potential financial impact.
Reputation management is no longer an optional marketing strategy. People are going to talk about your business online, whether you like it or not – so you might as well be proactive and join the conversation before a small complaint becomes a full-blown issue. The less information people can find about your business online, the more likely they are to take stock of the negative comments. Local businesses are especially at risk, as residents turn to search engines to pull up the most relevant results they’re looking for. Having negative search results for our brand can certainly impact your bottom line.
Online reputation management has increasingly become an important segment of online marketing, and it’s obvious that if a business doesn’t aggressively invest in creating their online presence, it will have a significant cost in the long run – including lost revenues, emergency damage control, and repairing and building the presence they neglected originally.
For brands whose identity is closely linked to those of their executives and founders, reputation management can become even more difficult. While avoiding public profiles on social media may make sense on the surface for a corporate executive, the damage can be great and swift both for the brand and for the individual if someone decides to launch a vicious attack.
We rely heavily on our brand audit to create a comprehensive strategy to protect and maintain the online reputation of your business. Our strategy may include any of the following tactics:
You don’t need to be on every channel, but you do need to be on the channels your customers use. At the very minimum, your company should have profiles on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Depending on your industry, other channels like Pinterest and Instagram might make sense, too. We’ll do a competitive analysis and make recommendations regarding other platforms you might need to engage.
Simply having a profile is insufficient. It’s critical to build your social media channels with relevant and engaging content. Consistent, ongoing posts will help develop an engaged and loyal community that in turn helps increase your influence and engagement across the Internet. No time to post on Facebook? No problem, we’ve got you covered.
A brand is only as strong as it’s weakest link. If your team doesn’t have a strong social media presence, it’s that much easier for an unhappy customer to orchestrate a corporate take-down. Lawyers, doctors, and health care providers in a shared practice are especially susceptible to these issues. We’ll create – and even manage – the social media platforms for those in your business who could be the most affected by negative online chatter.
Content is still king. But not every kind of content will do. Search engines give preference to original, unique, expert content – and blogs are a perfect means of delivering that content. Blogs can be a secret weapon for local SEO because they not only help improve a site’s rankings, but they also provide fresh content for social media accounts. We’ll research, write, and publish blog articles on your behalf, keeping your site fresh and relevant.
Consider negative feedback a huge opportunity to improve your product and processes. We’ll put yourselves in the customer’s shoes and respond thoughtfully and kindly after doing our homework to understand the situation. And while the customer is “always right” we’ll tactfully share your side of the story and generate creative solutions to accommodate customer requests.
The best way to work your way back in to a client’s heart is to apologize when things go sideways. Most people can sympathize when things don’t go quite as planned. All they really want is for their frustrations to be heard and appreciated. If you or your company makes a mistake, our team of experts can help craft a genuine apology to help rectify the situation.
Proving you’re right is not always the best thing to do. Avoid coming across as condescending, harsh, or unprofessional, by engaging in an online conversation that can only make things worse. Our team is skilled in redirecting frustrated customers away from their online rant and into a more private means of conflict resolution.
Developing your online reputation requires an investment of financial resources and time. As a local small business, it’s easy to prioritize other marketing efforts ahead of reputation management. While proactive efforts may cost some money to implement, they’re sure to save you much more than they cost in the long run. Think of reputation management as your online insurance policy. Every business is certain to be caught in the cross-hairs of an angry client at one time or another. Having a solid foundation and proactive strategy in place can turn a potential debacle into a blip on the radar.
In many ways, local businesses are far more susceptible to online defamation and attacks than big brands. In these cases, a little bit of work goes a long way. We’re ready to help you get started and protect and promote your brand’s online identity. Give us a call for your free consultation today!