Reputation Management is not what it use to be. Not that long ago, you would have to contact the Better Business Bureau to find out if anyone had complained about your product or services. For better or worse those days are gone. Fortunately, with a little knowledge it’s not too difficult to develop a strategy that works in your favor, even with negative reviews!
Can I remove a dubious review from the Internet?
The internet does not work like a credit bureau. You don’t have the option of CHALLENGING negative comments or unfavorable reviews and they won’t disappear after 7 years. Therefore, it is imperative that you meet the challenge of reputation management head on!
It is very difficult to remove anything from the internet and IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to guarantee that it won’t pop up again somewhere else. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing merely collect information from other sources. If you want something removed from search engine results, it has to be removed from it’s primary source. This can sometimes require a legal judgement, which is expensive and difficult to achieve. In a public forum or review site, that usually means getting the individual to retract their statement… again a complicated, sometimes expensive scenario.
So what do Reputation Management Companies do then?
To put it simply, a reputation management firm’s objective is to bury negative search results with positive content, including comments and reviews. The goal is to have so much positive content out there about you and your practice, that anything negative seems trivial. This really is the only feasible strategy.
How detrimental is negative content?
Let’s be honest, there will always be those individuals that you’d rather not even work with. Even under the best circumstances, it is possible that they will find some reason to complain. While those criticisms may have gone unnoticed in the past, Social Media is today’s Word of Mouth, and criticism on Facebook by your rudest customer just happened in front of a huge audience.
Here’s the good news. Nobody expects you to be perfect. 4 out of 5 stars is completely acceptable. In fact, negative reviews can end up being more valuable than positive reviews if handled correctly. These days, I do most of my shopping online, and expect to find several less than perfect reviews. If i don’t, I become suspicious that the reviews are fabricated. I always go to the negative reviews first and then decide how reasonable that reviewer was. However, it is critically important that positive reviews far outweigh negative reviews.
The do’s and dont’s of online reputation management:
- Be listening. Know that you are being talked about. Somewhere in someway it’s happening. You cannot respond to something if you are unaware of it. There are several reputation management services, here are a few that I have used and would recommend:
- Radian6.com or soon to be Salesforce.com/marketing-cloud. This is a great tool that will help you set up dashboards and then set up alerts that can notify you accordingly.
- RivalIQ.com. Rival IQ is a bit different in that it helps you monitor what you competitors are doing, something I find very beneficial.
- Google Alerts are very easy. Just go to google.com/alerts and fill your brand name search query. You can select which type of content you are looking for, your preferred update frequency and quantity. Google Alert will update you and keep you informed about new mentions on the web.
- Tweet Alarm – This useful “Google Alert for Twitter” will send you email alerts whenever someone tweets about your brand, products or anything that interests you. Registration is required.
- Hyper Alerts – With Hyper Alerts, you can get unlimited updates and you don’t need to be a page administrator. This means you can also use it to monitor competitor pages via email alerts.
- Social Mention – With Social Mention, you can see whether your brand sparked conversations on social media, the author/mention ratio, your influence score and the sentiment coming from people.
- Address criticism quickly but politely. Sometimes you may need some time to think about your response or even seek out legal council. A prompt and simple “We are aware of the problem. We are working on it and will get back to you as soon as possible.” is better than a late reply with more information.
- Understand your critics. Criticism can be the chance to learn more about your patients. Sometimes asking follow-up questions will help you identify problems within your practice that you were unaware of.
- Learn from your mistakes. If you’ve made a mistake, come out and say it, apologize for it, and move on. Here is an example from Boston News. “CORRECTION: @xxxxxxx is not the account of Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Our apologies. — Boston.com News (@BostonDotCom) March 13, 2013
- Ask for help. If your online reputation management efforts are not enough to protect or restore your brand image, give us a call. We’d love to help!