Sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard to try, there will always be someone who will not be happy with your service and leave a bad review.  Your online reputation is critical to your business and one unhappy customer can literally take down your 5-star rating.

Some business owners honestly believe that reputation management is only for large corporations but in reality, small businesses have the same problems but do not have the advantage of an expert team to make the problem go away.

Today, we are going to discuss the leading reputation management problems that face small businesses every day and show you how to handle these situations before they have a negative impact on you.

Have You Experienced Negative Reviews From Other Sites?

Small businesses can be hit hard by negative reviews that are left on third-party sites like the Better Business Bureau or Google.  It can be quite daunting to keep up with every review out there and most of these review sites have a good ranking with search engines.  That means when people are looking for information regarding your business and run across a negative review, it can affect your reputation!

Outrank them by using the best keywords

It can make a big difference if you are ranking for branded keywords along with other searches turning up in review sites.  If your site happens to rank in first-place and reviews show up several rankings down in search results, you have the golden opportunity to get in contact with the customer, provide information that could possibly turn their opinion around, and put you in control.

Abusive or false statements can be removed

There are review sites that will allow businesses to defend themselves against abusive, false reviews.  The Better Business Bureau, Google, and many others will let you report reviews that you firmly believe are totally false. Whether these reviews will disappear or not will be the site’s call but at least you will be given a fair chance to defend your business.

Confront the customer head-on

If you have the ability to address the negative comments publicly then do so.  Let the angry customer or reviewer know that you want to help them and resolve the situation.  Provide them with avenues to contact you and/or your business directly so both sides can discuss the problem. If there is a statement left on your site, you can answer them directly letting them know you are concerned and would welcome a conversation to straighten out the problem.  Some customers will not want anything to do with finding a resolution but your comment left in response to their review will show other customers that you care.

Get On Top Of Negative Comments On Social Media:

Sadly, comments and posts made on social media can spin out of control very quickly and can have a major impact on your business.  In many cases, you might not even be aware of what’s happening and if you are not tagged, you will never be alerted to the problem until you stumble upon it!

It’s really important that you get your day to speak out about conversations taking place publicly on social media.  If you are not able to know if you have been tagged or not, your best avenue is to use mention-tracking software that will let you know when your business is mentioned online.

Mention’s Tool

This is a great tool because you will immediately be shown all your public mentions regarding your brand on social media in real-time.  As soon as a negative comment or review is mentioned, it will pop up so you can address it quickly.

Dealing With Negative Coverage From The Media:

Whether a bad review or comment came from a newspaper, a blog, or somewhere else, it can be very damaging for your business, especially if you are striving to get your name out there.  You must remain on top of what’s being said about your business online.  You might want to take a look at SEMrush’s brand monitoring tool.

In this day and age, negative media coverage seems to be on the rise and performing damage control is really critical.  Discover what keywords your competition is ranking for and try to outdo them.  If you are at a loss, contact a reputation management expert for sound advice.

You can opt to distribute your own press releases written by you or if you have a PR person on your staff.  Contact other experts or influencers in the industry to build some positive reviews.  There are quite a few influencers that will review your product or service for a price.  You might want to contact someone and see if they can help you out.

What If You Are Not Ranking In The Number One Spot?

If you are not in the number one slot you could lose credibility and things can easily get out of control.  The last thing you want to do is let someone else have the first shot at your customers.

If you are going through this, it’s time to put the breaks on and address it head-on.  You must focus on branded keywords on several important pages and optimize your site for them.  If you have to, add keywords as secondary keywords or create new content like a blog or your FAQ page so you can target different branded searches.

You Have A Problem If Customers Do Not Trust You:

It’s certain death if you are not seen as honest or you lied to people.  You will lose trust very quickly, even if it was just a misunderstanding.  If you lose trust, it’s really difficult to ever get it back.  Many customers would prefer to start over somewhere else than work with a company they cannot trust.

The best thing you can do is concentrate on your transparency and authenticity.  You should share more on social media such as your behind-the-scenes operations so potential customers can understand what goes into running your business.  Leave negative reviews alone!  If people see you deleting reviews instead of addressing them, they will perceive you as dishonest.  Bottom line, the more information you have out there about your business, the more people will trust you.

In Conclusion:

Reputation management is critical for any business whether large or small.  You should continually monitor what’s going on around you. Engage with your audience as often as you possibly can.  You should control the narrative of your brand because you have the strongest voice on the matter.  Do not put your business in someone else’s hands and incorporating good reputation management will make sure you are in control and that won’t happen.  If this is all new to you, talk with those around you that can offer help and guide you in the right direction to get the branded keywords to fight off your opposition and help you form a really solid reputation management scheme.