How to fight back against ‘rant’ sites

January 12th, 2016

While ‘rant’ sites are not new, for many small and medium-sized business owners, the words found here from unsatisfied customer can sting. Of course the hurt from words pales in comparison to the damage done to your organization’s online reputation. For businesses with a limited online presence, these ‘rant’ sites can even turn up on the first page of your search results which means it will be highly visible when people Google your company. Of course, you are not helpless in these situations and here is how you can fight back.

You’ve probably seen websites like Ripoff Report and Complaints Board give upset clients a sounding board to voice their frustrations. These unverified reviews are almost always negative and can damage a company’s online reputation. This is especially true if these reviews show up on the first page of an organization’s search results where it will appear to anyone who uses a search engine to look for information on a company.

Businesses are not powerless when it comes to dealing with these ‘rant’ sites and the negative content they contain. While you won’t be able to have this content completely removed from the internet, if you are smart with your online reputation management (ORM), you can push it further down the search results rankings where most people will never come across it. We compiled some useful advice to help you fight back against ‘rant’ sites that may be hurting your company’s online reputation.

Don’t engage site or users directly

When many business owners read one of these negative reviews, their first instinct is to start sending out strongly-worded emails that demand to have the content removed. A few will also try to engage with the person who posted the content in an attempt to resolve the issue. We would recommend against both when it comes to a ‘rant’ site where both users and content posted are not verified.

That’s because there have been reports of users posting fake reviews in an attempt to solicit money from businesses who they criticize. A few of these websites also claim to offer paid programs to mediate negative posts but business owners should be extremely wary of any website offering to remove or edit a review in exchange for cash.

Get on social media

If one of these negative reviews makes its way onto the first page of search results for your business, you will want to start up social media accounts to help bury it. Not only do social media accounts hold greater weight in search result rankings, they also provide your past, present and future clients with better information. Even if you already have a Facebook and Twitter, don’t be afraid to expand beyond that with an Instagram or LinkedIn account. It’s also a good idea to get on Foursquare, Google+ and any other sites where reviews are verified by real users and not nameless people who don’t have to be accountable for what they say. Just remember to update these regularly to ensure they stay at or near the top of the search result rankings.

Encourage positive reviews

While people are quick to post negative reviews, sometimes you need to cajole customers to post positive reviews on verified websites. Depending on what your business does, sites like TripAdvisor, Foursquare, Angie’s List or even Facebook can be great places to have satisfied customers leave reviews. Of course getting them to do that can be difficult.

That’s why you should consider offering a discount to customers who post a review of your business on any of these sites. It truly is a win-win situation as you get to build a positive online reputation, have more reputable sites gain traction when it comes to search result rankings and build brand loyalty with customers who will be more likely to return because of the discount offered on their next visit.

Don’t let a negative review on one of the ‘rant’ sites get you down. There are plenty of ways to get a positive message to people through online and social media channels. Let our team of experts show you how it's possible.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

November 18th, 2015

164_A_Int RepThe majority of the population uses the Internet everyday. And when a customer feels they’ve been wronged, it is incredibly easy for him or her to go online and vent their frustrations. So when this happens, how do you handle it? Here are some tips as to how to react to negative brand criticism, so that you can paint a positive image of your business online.

Online reputation management mistakes

As long as you have a successful business or brand, people will always have something to say about it. And when it comes to online reputation management, the goal is to create positive engagement with your customers for the life of your business. So if the discussion about your brand swings negative, here are a few online reputation blunders to avoid.
  1. Ignore negative commentary - when you ignore negative comments or accusations about your brand, anger towards your business can fester, especially when there are a lot people rallying against you. Years ago, Nestle’s brand image was severely damaged by Greenpeace’s campaign against them. If they hadn’t ignored the problem at first, much of this likely would have been avoided. When it comes to your brand, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should respond to every negative comment. If someone is trolling your public discussion boards, then you can give their remarks a pass. However, if the negative post appears credible, you need to address it.
  2. Reacting emotionally - if your reaction to negative comments is to fire back with negative comments, it’s certain to make you look bad. Customers want to do business with a brand that is professional. If you react emotionally or negatively to a customer online, who’s to say you wouldn’t do the same in real life to the person reading it?

How to resolve negative commentary

While you may feel upset by a negative comment about your brand, don’t let your emotions get the better of you by posting something you’ll later regret. Instead, calm down, compose yourself, and follow these guidelines.
  • Figure out what the customer really wants - every customer wants their problem to be resolved, but how they want their issue fixed will vary. Some customers want an apology, others want a refund, and some may simply want the product they ordered but did not receive. Read the negative comment carefully to figure out what would make your customer happy, then proceed in the following manner.
  • Imagine you’re responding to your grandmother - you would never say something rude or hurtful to your grandmother, and you shouldn’t to your customers either. When a customer comes to you with a problem, rephrase it back to them to ensure you understand it correctly, and then explain how you’ll solve it. And just like you would if your grandmother came to you with a problem, be sensitive and do your best to help.
  • Stick to the facts - when engaging with a customer online, the initial comment can quickly turn into a back-and-forth discussion. If this happens, don’t get off-topic when addressing the problem. The customer may try to engage you in a he-said she-said battle, but avoid taking the bait. Respond with facts, stick to the matter at hand, and don’t get caught up in personal accusations.
  • Turn the negative into a positive - negative feedback is an opportunity to improve your business. So be honest with yourself and, if there’s truth in the comment, take a good hard look at your company. Did the commentator point out a glaring problem you can improve upon? Remember, a business is nothing without its customers, so it makes sense to do your best to please them.
To learn more about how to best manage your online reputation, or for assistance with any of your IT needs, get in touch with our experts today.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

October 7th, 2015

164_A_Int RepOn Facebook, the number of likes your business page gets is currency. It shows authority and that your business is popular with customers. So, what would happen if suddenly a dislike button were released? How would that impact your business? You may have recently heard that a Facebook dislike button is in the making. Here’s what you need to know about this polarizing new feature.

For many years people have been clamoring for a dislike button on Facebook. But up until now, perhaps the world was not ready. According to research from Piper Jaffray and the Pew Research Center, the demographics of Facebook users have changed dramatically over the past decade. While 10 years ago the world’s most popular social media platform was frequented mostly by teenagers and early 20-somethings, today over 60% of Facebook users are over the age of 25. And you may have noticed that this change of user is reflected in the posts you likely see in your news feed. While users once posted more pictures of parties, now you’re more likely to see pictures of babies, news articles, or political stories.

So, why does this age difference matter? According to Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, he didn’t want the social media network to turn into a forum where “people are voting up or down on people’s posts.” This could quite possibly have been the outcome had Facebook introduced a dislike button while it had a younger fan base.

Will users be able to dislike your business?

It is highly unlikely this will happen. Remember, Facebook is a publicly traded company that aims to turn a profit. Advertisers and brands would not be too happy if their ads or businesses were suddenly disliked, and Zuckerberg is undoubtedly aware of this.

What’s the point of the dislike button then?

To clarify, Zuckerberg never directly came out and said Facebook is getting a dislike button. Instead, he said they are working on a new button that will express sympathy or empathy. And with a now-older user base that’s more likely to share emotive news stories or sad news about family matters, it makes sense for a button like this to be introduced now. Here’s what the Facebook CEO had to say about the new button: “Not every moment is a good moment, right? And if you are sharing something that is sad…like the refugee crisis that touches you…it might not feel comfortable to Like that post.”

Be wary of third party offers to download a dislike button now

Be aware that a dislike button is not available now. While you or your employees may see ads from third parties offering early access to the “dislike button”, do not be fooled by them. If you are tricked into installing or signing up for them, you could risk your computer being infected with malware.

Want more social media news and advice on how to manage your reputation online? Call us today to talk with one of our experts.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

August 21st, 2015

InternetSocialNetworkingandReputationManagement_Aug18_AThe more your company expands, the bigger its online presence will become. This means keeping eye on what your company puts online, as well as what others are saying about you, becomes a vital task. Online Reputation Management (ORM) is important, and here’s how you can get started with it.

ORM is still a relatively new concept, and one that small and medium-sized business owners may not yet be familiar with. Simply put, ORM is the monitoring and protecting of your company’s reputation online. Not only are you looking out for what your company is producing, but also what other people are saying about you.

You only control a limited amount of your company’s message. Consumers using social media control the rest and can often times make or break your company. That is why more and more businesses are investing resources in ORM. While many companies choose to handle their ORM in-house, there are ORM service providers who can take care of the process for you.

Search for your company

Once you’ve determined who will be looking after your ORM, it’s important to see how your business stacks up. The first thing you should do is search for your company on Google. The results are often telling for your business. Being at the top of the search results is a good sign, and shows your website has strong SEO terms and social media presence. If your company doesn’t appear on the first two pages of search results, or the results that come up aren’t what you want people to see, it’s time for your ORM team to get to work.

Bolster your online presence

Creating quality content - to boost where your business shows up in the search results, or push down negative content - is the next step for your ORM. Remember, most people only bother with the first two pages of Google search results, so you want to own those. Other ways to bolster your online presence include registering with online business directories like Yelp or Yellowpages.com. These sites almost always rank very well in search results.

Another positive step would be to expand your social media portfolio to include sites you might not think of right away, like Google+, YouTube, Pinterest and even Tumblr. Being active on just a couple of these channels can further improve your exposure.

Set up a monitoring system

Finally, setting up a monitoring system will ensure your ORM is always up to date with your company's online profile. Signing up for Google Alerts can guarantee you are always informed of new brand or keyword mentions, while tools like Tagboard and TweetBinder will search various social networks for keywords and hashtags related to your business. These are valuable tools to ensure you’re on top of what's happening to your business online.

At the end of the day, your online reputation needs to be not only robust, but sterling as well. That is why dedicating resources to ORM can not only protect your business, but help it grow as well. Clients will find your business easily when they search for it, and the results they do find will be the things you want them to see.

Want to know more about ORM or anything else internet-related? Contact us and we can help your business today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.