What do you do if someone online is running your business’s good name through the mud? It can be pretty distressing when you Google your name and come up with a negative comment or listing – right there on the first page of the search results! That comment is there for people to see 24/7 all over the world.
But there’s no reason to despair. There are some concrete steps you can take to patch up your online reputation and get on with your life.
Removing Bad Listings
If at all possible, the first thing you should try is to remove the bad listing. If it’s posted on a regular website or blog, you can try contacting the webmaster and simply asking them to take it down.
If you need to make a case for it, tell them it’s hurting your business. Most will cooperate unless they have a vested interest in damaging your reputation (for example, they’re your competitor).
You should be aware that if the remark is false, inaccurate or slanderous, you have a legal right to have it removed. In the case where a webmaster is unresponsive, take it to their hosting company and tell them you don’t want to take legal action.
Responding to Haters on Social Media
Most hurtful listings appear on social media websites. These sites, like Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp, have content that’s user created. This means that anybody can say what they want about your company and the site itself isn’t liable, and you can’t simply get it removed.
Sometimes, negative listings should just be ignored. If someone gets onto a social media site and leaves a comment like this: ‘Yo, u suk!’ you can probably just ignore it. No one’s going to take it seriously and the poster just looks like an idiot (they probably are).
If the comment is legitimate – whether they’re offering constructive criticism or bashing you over what they see as your lousy service – you need to respond. Other people will read the review and take it into consideration. If you’ve got a bad review and your competitors have none, you’ll lose business to them.
The best way to respond is to thank them for the comment, and ask for clarification and/or tell them that you’ll consider their suggestion and make the necessary improvements.
The whole point is that it shows others who see the listing that you’re a company that listens and cares. No company is perfect and you’re trying your best to please your customers.
What if there’s an all-out assault against your company on several fronts? If you’re getting attacked consistently in lots of different places, this may mean someone is trying to deliberately hurt your company.
Lots of people have beefs and hold grudges. It could be a customer who feels you did them wrong, or even a competitor disguising themselves as a customer.
When this happens, you might consider hiring a reputation management company. These are SEO companies that specialize in removing and burying bad listings, and providing positive listings to balance out the bad.
It’s really important to make sure that you’re doing some form of online reputation management for your company. Spend some time searching to find out what people are saying about you, and look especially on social media sites.
If you’re not proactive about it, negative comments can do lots of damage to your business quickly.
Here’s your Tweet (be sure to include the link to your content or article!):
Repairing your online reputation requires that you remain calm and levelheaded when responding to the inevitable negative review.