How Can You Fix a Negative Online Image
Businesses today live and die by their online reputations. Unfortunately, negative content such as comments, posts, and photos may harm your reputation, potentially losing sales and prospects. Responding appropriately to mitigate the fallout is essential, but reputation repair is challenging and stressful.
Small businesses are often unprepared to deal with harmful content online, and presenting the facts is crucial. Reputation management services help remove this harmful content from the web for you, whether you posted the content or someone else.
You can allow a negative online image to define you or take control. The current system of digital feedback isn’t going anywhere, and you need to understand it – here’s how online reputation management works.
Understanding Its Impact on Consumer Behavior and Business Success
Your online reputation can make or break your business by impacting consumer behavior.
According to research:
- 91% of consumers regularly read online reviews
- 82% of consumers read product reviews before making shopping choices
- 84% trust them as much as personal recommendations
- 60% refer to comments weekly
Therefore, creating a review process may help you run your business better.
Reputation problems significantly affect your revenue and brand value. Reduced revenue, loss of brand value, and regulatory investigations are significant adverse reputation consequences.
However, a positive online reputation increases customer acquisition and retention rates. Online reviews matter, so you should take charge of your online reputation by monitoring and responding to reviews. Don’t let a negative online image ruin your business’s success.
Online Reputation Monitoring
As a small business owner, continually checking what people say about you and your business online is vital. This way, you quickly address negative comments or reviews before they escalate and damage your reputation.
One way to monitor your reputation online is to set up a Google Alert or a Talk Walker Alert for your business information and other essential details. You will receive a notification via email whenever anyone mentions your business or name online.
You may also invest in technology such as analytical and brand monitoring tools to manage your reputation risk better or hire a professional to take care of it. Monitoring will allow you to manage customer expectations and perceptions and promote positive projects that help enhance your reputation.
Always remember preparing for a crisis beforehand is better than scrambling to fix the damage afterward.
Effectively Respond to Negative Reviews
Receiving negative reviews is disheartening. However, appropriately responding to them can make a big difference. Remember, your response shows potential customers that you care about their experience.
When you respond to negative reviews, acknowledge the issue and empathize with the person. Explain that you understand their concern and offer an incentive for them to give you another chance.
Responding to reviews instead of ignoring them builds trust. And by addressing the comment promptly and actively trying to remedy the situation, you’ll show potential customers that you care about your consumers.
Don’t respond aggressively, and never accuse a reviewer of being fake (even if valid in your opinion).
When Not to Respond to Damaging Reviews
Not all negative reviews warrant a response. For example, responding to a review containing hate and insults might worsen things. Additionally, if a reviewer has a history of leaving only negative reviews, it’s best to avoid engaging with them altogether.
Responding to negative reviews on an attack site, where the reviewer cannot delete or edit their comment, is not ideal. Instead, focus on encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive reviews. It will help balance the negative feedback and show dedication to improving your business.
If you respond to a negative review not amendable by the reviewer, do so privately. Responding directly to it might fuel the fire and boost its negative SEO if unmanaged. Instead, having a personal conversation is better for understanding and addressing the customer’s concerns.
However, if a review contains utterly false information about your business, correcting it politely and factually is essential.
Removing Bad Reviews
You can sometimes remove negative content violating the website’s policies or containing false information. But if the reviews are legitimate, you must focus on reducing their impact by creating more positive content.
Interestingly, a perfect five-star rating is only sometimes the most useful, as customers tend to trust reviews with an average rating of four and a half, more than five stars.
Requesting Harmful Review Removal
If you want to remove negative content, say, for example, from your Google Business Profile, you can flag it to Google, and they will review it for policy violations.
If the reviews don’t violate any policies, you may contact the author politely and ask them to remove them. However, it’s more complex and time-consuming than it seems, so consider hiring additional assistance.
Remember that a bad review is not necessarily a smear campaign; still, you should deal with it accordingly.
Can You Use a Bad Review To Boost Your CX?
Yes. Negative reviews are an opportunity for growth and improvement. Use them to learn and turn a frustrated customer into a loyal supporter.
By responding positively and addressing the issue, you show likeability and trustworthiness that outweigh most negativity. So, apologize for the customer’s negative experience and ask how to improve next time.
It will show you care about your customers and demonstrate to potential customers that you value their opinions and strive to provide the best customer experience (CX) possible. And if you resolve the issue, ask the customer to update their review to reflect the resolution.
Leveraging Negative Reviews To Boost SEO
Are you worried about a negative online image? Take control of your brand by creating quality content that showcases your company in a positive light. Collaborating with reputable sites through guest posts and optimizing your SEO efforts may increase your online authority.
Again, don’t worry too much about trying to remove negative content — they can provide a necessary balance to an abundance of biased positive reviews. But remember, many consumers only need to see negative things about your company before taking their business elsewhere. So, instead, create an essential reputation management plan to mitigate problems before they happen.
Google and other popular review sites value high-quality, positive reviews from customers. Encourage all reviews and respond to them. It will enhance your local SEO and your online reputation.
Keep your bad reviews in place and manage them with online review management tools to help improve your overall SEO and visibility in search.
Social Media Metrics and Share of Voice
Do you need help improving your online presence as a small business owner? One way to do this is by being active on social media and monitoring social media accounts. Doing so lets you track how much people are talking about your brand compared to your competitors, known as your “share of voice.”
It will help you see where your brand stands and make informed decisions on where to invest your resources. In addition, interacting with your followers helps build positive relationships and humanizes your business.
People are more likely to follow and engage with brands they perceive as trustworthy and valuable. So, monitor your social media metrics and engage with your followers early and often.
Look on the Bright Side and Learn From Reviews
There is always a bright side, and negative reviews are a learning opportunity to improve a business. You can identify the underlying issues by analyzing the complaints’ common themes and taking corrective action.
Then, like a domino effect, it will help develop a strong brand identity by aligning your business values with the customers, which may help gain their trust and loyalty.
You need a clear message and a unique visual identity to position yourself as a trusted business or thought leader. Negative feedback may provide insight into improving this and your company as long as you monitor it effectively.
By taking corrective action and setting an example for future and current employees, you create a culture that values customer feedback and promotes trust.
And as your reputation improves, you’ll likely attract more customers and partners with the same values and ideas.
Online Reputation Management for Your Business
Having a solid online presence is crucial for any business today. It helps set you apart from competitors, improve your search engine rankings, and attract more customers.
But what happens when negative comments and reviews start piling up, and your reputation is at risk? Online Reputation Management (ORM) comes in. It involves monitoring and actively shaping your brand’s online reputation to maintain a positive image and remove negative content in a balanced way.
ORM professionals can help you identify potential threats to your reputation and take steps to mitigate damage. They can also manage your social media presence and promote positive customer reviews.
A poor online reputation can put your business at a disadvantage and make it harder to attract customers and talented employees. Many potential employees also research companies online before deciding to apply for or accept a job, and like consumers, they want to work for companies with solid reputations.
So, if you need help managing your online reputation, consider contacting a professional. It’s an essential service for any business that wants to thrive in the digital age.