Social Media Reputation Management: The Do or Die for Businesses?
Your business reputation is your lifeblood. One review can place a huge blemish on your business and it can take some serious time to recover.
We see examples all the time, from large corporations to local restaurants.
What can you do? Facebook? Yelp? Industry Review Sites?
FIRST! Don't EVER react quickly or by impulse. I know, it's hard, but bite your tongue. Your reaction represents your business and your business values.
Each business has worked hard to grow their unique following. Some businesses never have to deal with bad reviews or comments, some have to deal with it all the time. Is it the business or the industry? It's both.
As a matter of fact, most businesses are just fine. It takes very little time to manage your good reputation.
Big brands, hospitals, doctors, banks, restaurants, car dealers, hair salons, and all service industries, are, by far, in the most need of a solid reputation management plan. Customers will most often complain if they feel they didn't get value for their money or were treated poorly.
Once a business has a bad "word of mouth" reputation, it is hard to defend, if there aren't enough positives to counteract the negatives. For example, if a restaurant is known for bad service, that blemish is not going away until a lot of customers say how much the service has improved.
Believe it or not, the comments and reviews are very often submitted by former or disgruntled employees, your competitors, or a personal disagreement, mixed in with a dash of immaturity. I have always thought these types of public reviews are immature and self serving, while truly hurting someone's business. Of course, this isn't everyone. Most with a legitimate complaint will do the correct thing and call, email or private message directly to avoid public commentary.
Here is what you can do as a responsible business owner!
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+
Tip: An individual cannot post to your main page. You will be alerted if they tag, or highlight your business. They will go in to the "review" or the "comments" section.
NICE REMARKS OR SUGGESTIONS! Thank them!! You have a lot of fans supporting your business, show your appreciation! They are much more likely to refer or comment with positive reinforcement.
NEGATIVE REVIEWS OR REMARKS.
1. DO NOT REACT IMMEDIATELY! Take a deep breath. It happens. DO NOT RESPOND, yet. See #2 immediately! Because...
2. YOUR FANS WILL COME TO YOUR RESCUE. Every time. Let them. They will help you. A positive "testimonial" response from a current or former client holds a lot more credibility than anything you could write.
3. PRIVATE MESSAGE THE CUSTOMER. Ultimately, the customer or client wants/needs to be heard. Offer to make it right. Most social media sites will allow you to private message. Try to take this on before responding to anything in public. I have found that after a resolution has been offered, the customer will respond to their post or even delete it. Either one works, it just has to be fixed.
3. ACKNOWLEDGE AND MOVE ON. If they do not to resolve the issue, take the hit, thank them for their feedback, and MOVE ON. I've seen business owners get so riled up about a bad review or comment that they have made it so much worse. And wasted a lot of time.
Here are my Reputation Management Tips for Industry-Related Review sites:
This would include, Yelp, Trip Advisor, all private review and industry specific sites.
1. THESE HAVE TO BE ANSWERED. These review sites are privately owned and will not let you take down or remove anything. It's almost not worth the phone call, unless it is absolutely incorrect, and you can prove it.
2. Most are from former employees, or personal disagreements: Try to reach them and ask them to take it down, nicely. Much of it is because of hurt feelings.
3. YOU MAY HAVE TO CREATE A CONTRACT. Consult your attorney regarding the new laws about social media and employees.
4. IF YOU CAN, ASK HAPPY CUSTOMERS TO WRITE REVIEWS. Enough positive reviews can squash out the negative.
Overall, remember, it happens, there are unhappy customers everywhere. Take the high road, and show your fans you can rise above.
Monitor your sites, work it out and take the high road. Your business is worth it.