Not all that long ago, most corporate reputations were local.
How the internet has changed the way we shop.
If someone had a negative experience, they might tell ten people. Even if those people told another ten, it would fizzle out and usually have no long-term effects. As long as you didn’t keep making the same mistakes, your business was fine.
With the advent of the internet, everything anyone says about your corporate reputation is there forever. Worse, if someone targets you unfairly, you still have to deal with what’s been posted.
There are some complex ways that your company’s reputation can be gauged, but the vast majority of consumers will judge a company by online reviews.
Many companies consider themselves relatively immune to online reviews. Perhaps it’s a wholesale only company or they have a limited clientele. If all you have is one negative review, you have a reputation problem.
Here are some of the most startling facts about online reviews that you need to know:
● 97% of people read reviews for local businesses. (BIA/Kelsey)
● 90% of people will decide to buy based on positive reviews. (Dimensional Research)
● 87% will decide not to buy due to negative reviews (Dimensional Research)
● 89% of potential customers read a business’s response to reviews. (BrightLocal)
There are a lot more statistics like that, but the idea is the same. Online reviews have a huge impact on your business.
Press reports can have a huge impact. For example, if there were a number of negative stories about your business on news sites there’s a very good chance that potential customers will be turned off by that.
Employment reports also have an effect on how people see your company. Sites like Glassdoor allow current employees to write reviews about your business. If you have a reputation as a business that treats its employees well, you’re far more likely to get customers that are willing to give you money.
Your business’s emotional appeal is important. If your public persona is angry or stand-offish, you might lose some people. A likable business persona can go a long way to beginning customers in the door.
Social responsibility has become a major factor in consumer decisions. If your company highlights its efforts in social and environmental efforts, it will go a long way to convincing consumers that you care.
If your reputation has taken a hit, it’s a long climb to fixing it. It requires a plan and some determination.
While there is a lot that you need to do, this is a shortlist of the steps that need to be taken to put your online reputation right again.
Follow Up - The first instinct when someone gives you a bad review or posts something negative about your business is to lash out. Don’t! If you have to, walk away for a day or two and calm down.
Then reply exactly as you would (or should) if the person was in front of you. “We’re sorry to hear that you weren’t satisfied. Please direct message us with your contact information. We’ll do everything in our power to make it right.”
Once you’ve made it right, go back to the original forum and post a statement saying you hope that they are satisfied with the solution. Look forward to having them as a customer again.
If their review is forever on the internet, so is your responsibility.
Supersede - If there has been negative content posted about your business, you need to try to push it aside with positive content. This means that you should be looking at posting press releases, blogs, and favorable reviews.
If you can’t get organic reviews, solicit reviews from happy customers. There are always some who are willing to work with you. Also, you can hire a writer to create content that shows your business in a favorable light. It shouldn't just be a lot of “we’re awesome!” It can be helpful, informative articles that show your business as a caring and interesting organization.
Tweet, Post, Repeat - Get on social media. Your social media pages are a great place to put your information and share your culture. You can meet and speak to your target audience through social media. The strength of social media is the fact that you can speak for yourself, without any filters or editors.
If your professional reputation has been damaged, you’ll want help putting it right. Getting your business’s reputation back to good is time-consuming. Unless you have a lot of time, it will be less expensive and faster to simply have New Reputation to take care of it. Our team of pros knows how to get bad information removed, how to push down negative information, and how to create tons of positive, new postings.
At NewReputation, we’re passionate about businesses, people and brands being represented fairly online. Every day we see the high-level damage that bad press, negative reviews, social media chatter, etc. do to brands, businesses and people all over the globe. We devote time and resources into developing the best strategy for our customers to improve their online reputation.
If you have negative search results or are vulnerable to a reputation attack, we can help! Contact us today for a consultation.