Tag Archives: Online reputation management

5 Tips for Addressing Bad Yelp Reviews

meatball-sandwich-bad-review-response-383x300

It’s the 21st Century business owner’s worst nightmare: You sign on to your company’s Yelp page and see that someone has left an absolutely scathing review. This can obviously take its toll on your ego, but this is about far more than mere vanity. The truth is, negative Yelp reviews can have a real, bottom-line impact on your business; they attract search engine users and effectively set the public perception of your brand.

But while a bad review can have devastating effect, it can also provide you with a great opportunity to do some customer outreach, damage control, and brand enhancement. It all boils down to how you respond.

  1. First, put the review into perspective.

There’s no question that a bad review can be harmful to your brand. We don’t want to sugarcoat it, but we also don’t want to overstate it. A litany of bad reviews could honestly sink your company, but a single bad review amidst dozens of positive ones is probably not going to be a big deal. Regardless, it’s important not to panic, or to let your emotions carry you away. Respond rationally and with a level head.

  1. Do your research.

Also respond with all available information. Read the review carefully, noting its tone, the specific complaints, the date of the review, and any other information about the incident posted. Make sure your response addresses the review with precision and accuracy. If you come across like you Just Don’t Get It, it will only make things worse.

Also research the Yelp reviewer, if possible. (For anonymous reviewers, you’ll be out of luck.) Is it someone who always leaves nasty reviews? If so, then maybe that can help your anger subside. You could just be dealing with a mean-spirited person, quite frankly. No reason to get your feelings hurt over that.

  1. Show some customer service.

Whether you feel like the negative review is warranted or not, it’s important to seize the opportunity to treat your customer respectfully; apologize, and ask what you can do to make the situation right, or at the very least offer an explanation and sincere remorse that the customer’s experience was not better.

  1. Remember who you’re writing for.

In any and all writing, audience is important. When you’re addressing a Yelp review, remember that 90 percent of the Yelp audience is people who just read reviews, not people who write them, and that most of these people still have an unformed opinion of your company. That’s who you’re writing to, really. That’s who you’re trying to impress. Showing warmth, patience, and a customer-centered perspective can more than make up for the bad review itself.

  1. Don’t engage hotheads.

Every now and again, you may see an all-caps, foul-mouthed review that’s obviously just designed to be incendiary. Yelp does a pretty good job of filtering these out, but if you do run across one, it may be best not to engage at all. It’s hard to come across well when you sink to the level of addressing flamers and hotheads.

A bonus tip: You can enhance your brand’s reputation and minimize the damage of a bad review by providing your customers with plenty of positive content. To learn more, contact Grammar Chic today at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Brand Management, Content Marketing

7 Online Reputation Management Guarantees

iStock_000026784544XSmall

You know what they say about sure things—death and taxes and all of that. Guarantees and certainties are especially hard to come by on the Internet, where the rules change every day and there are always exceptions.

Yet, when it comes to building and protecting a sterling reputation for your brand, there are a few things that can be said without hesitation.

  1. You will get Googled.

By now you shouldn’t doubt it: Consumers who have easy access to the Internet, on their smartphones or tablets or PCs, will absolutely use search engines to research your company. And how many consumers do you know who don’t have Internet access through their smartphones or tablets or PCs?

People want to know that they’re spending their hard-earned money on something reliable. And for better or worse, they trust Google to tell them that.

  1. Your Page 1 Google results matter.

Not so much page 2, and definitely not page 7, but that first page of Google… that’s the one everyone’s going to see. And what it says will set the first impression of your business. In a very real way, those first ten or so search results will determine whether people feel confident doing business with you, or otherwise.

So what’s on your first page of search results? The company website, Facebook page, and LinkedIn profile? Great! Some competitor sites, bad news headlines, or negative Yelp reviews? Not so great.

  1. You can sort of control what’s on your first page of Google results.

It’s not precise and it’s not guaranteed—Google’s algorithms work in mysterious ways, after all—but there are certainly actions you can take to ensure that solid, strong, brand-enhancing content shows up for your business. The first step, of course, is to actually create content, and plenty of it: Blogging, robust evergreen Web content, and even press releases can be beneficial. Also make sure you’re cognizant of SEO concerns—though we’ll let you in on a secret: If you focus on quality branded content that your human readers will use, you’re probably going to be okay.

  1. Regular social media posting is vital.

You’re not just going to undergo Google scrutiny. You’re going to get checked out on Facebook, too, and perhaps also LinkedIn. We’re not saying you have to post ten times a day to every single social network in existence. We’re just saying that online reputation management is proactive. It’s about going out of your way to demonstrate thought leadership. And social media offers you a perfect platform to do so.

  1. Listening is key.

Don’t just talk at your social media followers. Hear what they have to say—and, unless you’re dealing with trolls and flamers, respond in kindness. Remember that online reputation management and social media marketing are both flipsides to customer service.

  1. Reviews matter.

Truly. What your Yelp page or your Google rating says about you goes a long way toward building customer confidence—or not. Directing your customers to leave reviews, perhaps even offering some incentive for honest feedback, can be a huge way to bolster online reputation.

A caveat here: Reviews really do matter, though not necessarily to the point some ORM firms would have you believe. A hundred nasty reviews can sink your business; one or two negative reviews, amidst 30 positive ones, aren’t going to ruin you. Don’t freak out.

  1. Messaging is Job #1.

The secret to protecting your online reputation, in a nutshell: Ensure that everything your brand says on Twitter, Facebook, the blog, etc. is on-message, aligned with your corporate values, mission, and voice. Choose the kind of brand you want to build, then stay true to it.

For all of this, content creation is critical—so don’t mess around: Contact the Grammar Chic content writing team today at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Brand Management

Content Marketing and Your Online Reputation

4.18.14-Brand

Again, the terms are related but by no means identical, and it is helpful to explain some of the distinctions. We have defined content marketing many times over, so we’ll keep it brief for today: Content marketing is selling without selling. It’s establishing the value, authority, and character of your brand through the creation and publication of creative, informative, not-directly-promotional content.

Online reputation management is a bit more technical, but essentially it encompasses efforts to control what online search engines and social networks say about you. By leveraging the tools of online reputation management (ORM), companies and public figures are theoretically able to make sure that there is only good, positive information posted about them on the first few pages of Google and Bing; that negative or unwanted online listings are purged from the search engine results pages, or at the very least made difficult to find; that embarrassing images or news stories are suppressed; and that online reviews are all positive, public complaints kept quiet.

Which Do You Need?

Now the question is, which of these different (but somewhat overlapping) toolsets do you need for your business? Truthfully, it depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re pretty single-minded about addressing negative online reviews or eliminating an unwanted listing from the first page of your Google search results, then contacting an online reputation management firm might make the most sense.

With that said, if your aim is to more generally build goodwill toward your company—to establish your brand as a desirable and authoritative one, a brand of choice among consumers—then content marketing is the more flexible, versatile, effective, and affordable solution. As we’ve noted before, content marketing is all about telling the story of your company, and the aim is always to craft a narrative that places your company in the best possible light, all while building trust among your customers and clients and expanding your reach on social media sites and search engines.

Some specific benefits of content marketing—which overlap with and sometimes even exceed those of online reputation management—include:

  • Cultivating consumer trust
  • Positioning your company as an industry authority
  • Casting your company as one that can offer true value to its customers
  • Building a robust, active, positive presence on social media
  • Populating search engines with brand-enhancing information about your brand
  • Encouraging consumer loyalty
  • Turning your customers into advocates for your brand

If any of that sounds like something you’d like to make happen for your business, a free content marketing consultation could be just the thing. Contact us today to learn more: Visit grammarchic.net or call 804-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Brand Management, Content Marketing