If you need SEO (search engine optimization) help, you hire an SEO consultancy. If you need PPC (pay-per-click) help, you hire a PPC marketing service. If you need help with business reputation management, you need to hire a consultancy.
There is a reason bigger businesses succeed where smaller businesses fail. It’s because they can hire some of the best consultants in their industry. It works like this.
A person works and excels in whatever industry. That person has made a name for themselves and is headhunted by a consultancy that pays said person up to $400 per hour.
I Can’t Afford A Consultancy for Business Reputation Management
Then you’re in luck! We can all hire decorators despite being able to do a pretty okay job ourselves. Same goes for moving, digging a garden, or setting up a TV.
The same is true for reputation management. If you use the tips below, you can achieve quite a bit on your own.
1. Fixing Your Offline Reputation Forever
The world’s biggest fraudster, Napoleon Hill, did get one thing right. He said that you should always go the extra mile. For those who are fans of Napoleon Hill, consider this.
If a writer says only 2% of his readers will “get it”, then his advice doesn’t work. We don’t use antibiotics that only work 2% of the time.
Going the extra mile must resonate throughout your entire business operation. From the person who answers the phones to the person making the installation or delivery. Always give people more than what they expect, and then give them a little extra.
Look at how Marvel shook off their stale reputation by continuing to go above and beyond. They’re now in the Guinness Book of World Records for featuring a movie with the most mainstream actors in history.
2. Turn A Negative Into A Positive
Some companies are able to fix their reputation by going the extra mile. But others need a quicker fix.
For example, in 1982, a serial killer was behind the “Johnson & Johnson’s Cyanide-Laced Tylenol Capsules” case.
Because of this horrific happening, Johnson & Johnson went on to invent the first tamper-proof medication wrappers ever, which turned their products into the safest, most secure medications in the world.
3. Conduct A Little SEO Reputation Management
The trick is to make sure the pages with good reviews are found at the top of search engine results whereas negative ones are buried under pages of positive PR. One of the easiest ways to do this is to link your website to the many positive reviews and comments about your company.
This is an especially powerful tactic if people search for your company by name. The pages you link to will rank higher during those searches (at least higher than they would have done otherwise).
4. Don’t Reply to Negative Reviews
Replying to negative reviews is the worst thing you can do. There is almost no way to come out the other end as a hero.
If you ask them to contact you, it sends ugly mixed messages to other people. If you apologize, you’re taking responsibility when it may not be your fault.
Some people think offering a refund is a good idea because it shows people you have a fair refund policy. But what it actually does is reward people for posting negative reviews.
Telling the user they’re wrong is a terrible idea. Especially if the user is an online troll. Most people will disregard a troll’s comment until it’s been validated by a response.
So many companies become defensive when it comes to negative reviews. But most negative reviews and comments die after a while unless they are given extra attention–such as a business owner trying to rally a defense.
5. Don’t Reply to Negative Reviews, Unless…
Replying to negative reviews is a universal no-no. Be it a Google review, an eBay review, etc.
But there is a tiny exception. And that’s in situations where you may be able to spin a negative into a positive.
This takes a great deal of skill. It must show how your company will improve to ensure the problem never happens again. It is very important that people who read the review understand how the problem occurred, and trust that it won’t happen again. Like the J&J example earlier.
6. Jump on Google Business (formerly Google Locations)
Get yourself on Google Business. List your location, upload some professional images, add your website, your opening times and any other relevant information you think your potential customers will want to know.
This is especially important if people are searching for you by name. It validates your company by ensuring your Google Business page appears at the top right of the search page.
7. Get Your Staff to Review You
Once you are on Google Business, people will be able to leave Google reviews. Get each of your staff members to post a positive review. Ask if their brothers, sisters, and friends wouldn’t mind reviewing your company too.
You’d be surprised how many companies have 2-3 stars on Google when all it takes is a few extra reviews to turn a 3-star rating into a 4.9.
8. Start an Affiliate Program
If you want hundreds of positive reviews, create an affiliate program. This is essentially a referral program that allows blogs and websites to earn money when external customers click your links and buy your products.
9. Get Involved in Community Events in Los Angeles
Maybe you can’t afford banners at the Staples Center, but there are plenty of local events where you can make an appearance. Handing out free items or testers can help to spread your brand and hopefully improve your reputation.
Just make sure you hand out something that is valuable, and not something that will be stuffed in the trash as soon as somebody gets home.
10. Point Out Weaknesses in the Competition
The aim is to reduce the negative reputation of your company by pointing out something worse in your competitor.
Just how cleverly you wish to play this game depends on your budget and your strategy. For example, Duck Duck Go is only as successful as it is because it’s so good at pointing out the evils that exist within Google and Facebook.
Going the Extra Mile
Any business reputation management company will tell you: if you want people to give you a negative review, give them less than they expect. If you want no reviews, do your job perfectly, as expected.
If you want people to climb up off their butts and give you a positive review, you need to give them extra, and then give them more. Give them no indication as to the amazing product/service they’ll receive until after they’ve paid.
All other tips pale in comparison to this golden rule.
Did you like this article? Don’t stop here! Check out some of the other reputation management posts.