With the wealth of information available on the Internet and the number of people accessing it, it’s vital that businesses and individuals take care of their online reputation. When maintained properly, your online reputation can be one of your biggest assets, but a bad reputation can make it difficult to get customers if you’re a business. And the same goes for a job if you’re an individual.
It takes time to maintain a good reputation. If you’re proactive and follow these tips I outline, you’ll quickly begin reaping the benefits of online reputation management (ORM).
The following list of dos and don’ts will help you proactively manage your online image no matter what people are saying.
Do Be Professional
When responding to comments and reviews, regardless of whether they are positive or negative, always be polite, professional and honest. It’s easy to become upset by a bad comment or review but think of them as a way of hearing what your customers think of your business and use it to improve your service.
Don’t Encourage the Trolls
It’s inevitable that you’ll have to deal with some negativity and if it’s legitimate, take the time to fix the issue. But some people just like to cause trouble. They may be someone having a bad day, a competitor or just one of those people who are only happy when others are miserable. Don’t feed into illegitimate negativity. Haters will keep coming back while they have your attention. Deal with it swiftly and politely and then leave it alone.
Do Acknowledge and Emphasize Positive Comments and Reviews
Encourage happy customers to post reviews and comments on your social media pages and websites such as Yelp. You should also ask for permission to use some as testimonials.
Don’t Ask for or Post Fake Reviews
It may seem like a good idea to post some fake reviews or even pay someone to write a review when they’ve not tried your products. But doing so is unethical. It deceives your customers and can cause serious problems in the long run.
Do Watch What People are Saying
The best way to manage your online reputation is to know what people are saying as quickly as possible. Spend a little time every day monitoring your social media accounts, blog, and website for reviews and comments. Consider using a service like Google Alerts to monitor the internet for any new content related to your brand or name.
Don’t Say Anything Bad About Your Competition or Your Customers
Instead of bashing the competition, focus on highlighting your achievements and strengths instead. People will be able to see the shortfalls of others without you pointing them out. Additionally, never trash your customers, even the bad ones – it will cause hurt feelings and awkwardness and may cause the customer to retaliate.
Do Say Thank You
Take a minute to thank people for mentioning your name or sharing your content. People appreciate knowing that you’re interested in what they have to say and will encourage future sharing.
Josh Nass is a public relations executive and sought after crisis communications specialist. He regularly appears on Fox News, MSNBC and other leading media outlets to offer his expert commentary.