Ask anyone, and they will tell you that the internet is an incredibly powerful place. In a matter of seconds, you can destroy your online reputation. Most business owners fear the internet because it can ruin a once-great reputation with just one blunder. For that reason, most of them are on the lookout for remedies that can fix these issues. While I do happen to agree that it can be a terrible place, it can be the best place as well. The internet punishes those who have made mistakes, but it also rewards businesses that do good in the community.
With that being said, we will embark on a journey that will help you avoid pitfalls and teach you how you can bounce back should the worst happen. Join me as I take you down the path to keeping your online reputation intact and what you can do if disaster strikes.
No matter if it is a mistake on social media or a plethora of negative online reviews, you will want to get rid of them. If it happens to be a poorly timed social media post, you can delete the offending post. However, if it is negative reviews that are causing the problem, you will have a hard time convincing someone to take their review down. You want to rid yourself of these things because if too many people come across them, they will start to get the wrong impression of your company. With the internet being the social media firestorm, it is today, that is the last thing you want to deal with.
I am going to be the first to tell you that deleting your post is not likely to remove it from the internet if you didn’t already know. There is a better than average chance that someone has already taken a screenshot of your social media post, and it is only a matter of time before they begin circulating that on their channels.
In either case, you need to be ready to apologize. So, the minute the discrepancy is noticed, you should begin drafting your apology. Make sure that when you do this, it comes across as sincere. Customers know when businesses are just giving them a cookie-cutter excuse. It will also help if you have not done something like this in the past. The more you have bad publicity due to social media posts, the less likely people are to believe that your apology is sincere.
If someone has posted a negative review, there are a few steps you can take to get them to take it down. Start by taking responsibility for the injustice. A customer does not want to hear a bunch of excuses. Next, please provide them with a personal response. Again, cookie-cutter answers are not going to be your friend in these situations. After that, offer them something they will deem valuable. For example, offer them a discount or complimentary service the next time they come in. Finally, ask them kindly to remove the review. You can make the stipulation that they remove the review after receiving their “gift” and find that you have corrected the issue.
Sometimes having an excellent online reputation can cost money. Never be afraid to spend a little time or money when you are trying to overcome a problem. I am not saying pay them for their silence on the matter; I am saying that gifts can go a long way.
There is an excellent chance that you will not be able to rid yourself entirely or the internet of the mistake. As a last-ditch effort, you can attempt to hide the negative review or social media post. The goal here is to bury the result so far back on a search engine results page that it becomes irrelevant or never found. Most search engines, Google included, like fresh new material. Providing the web crawlers with this new content will “trick” them into thinking the other information is dated and no longer worth showing on the first page.
It is important to remember that when customers read reviews, they only go back so far. They are not going to take days upon days to read every review your company has received. This is good for your company. You can get more positive reviews to replace the negative ones. To do this, all you need to do is ask your customers to provide you with a review. This can be done by putting stickers up in your windows, at the cash, or anywhere there is high traffic. Another way is to ask them for a review outright when they check out. Instruct your cashiers to remind the customer to visit your website, social media pages, or review pages and provide you with insight into their experience. With any luck, they will be happy with their experience, and you will flood the page with positive reviews. Even if a couple of negative reviews sneak in, you will have more positive than negative reviews, which looks good for a company.
Learn from It
As my final point, I am going to implore you to learn from your mistakes. Your hard work will be for nothing if you keep repeating the same mistakes, time, and time. Keep in mind, you will not be able to control negative customer reviews directly. Each customer has a list of expectations. It would not be very reasonable to think that you can keep every customer happy. The focus here is not to make social media mistakes more than once. People do understand errors and are willing to forgive you if you don’t make them over and over again.
Online reputation management is essential, and something every company needs to cope with. The more you know about how to reduce the number of mistakes, the better off you will be. I hope you take the time to read this blog in its entirety and make positive changes that will help you grow your business for years to come.