We live in the information age and the internet is the place where news and information flow, in many cases, without limit or control. Social networks, blogs, forums … In any of these channels the user can publish truthful content or not about our brand that can compromise our credibility, income and the web positioning of our business, seriously damaging our online reputation .
Users tend to search other users’ opinions before making a purchase, especially in the digital sphere. Therefore, having bad recommendations or references will take a toll on sales. On the other hand, users will find it difficult to share our content and follow us on social networks. In the field of positioning, having many negative and poor quality inbound links that point to our website can make us lose positions and position ourselves for harmful words that we do not want. As if this were not enough, having bad reviews in Google My Business will harm our local SEO.
Due to its great digital impact we have created a comprehensive guide on how to care for and improve our brand’s online reputation . Thus, if you are faced with a crisis, you will know how to assess its scope and decide how to act.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION
1. Detect potential reputation crises quickly
Detecting a reputation crisis as early as possible will limit its scope and impact. In social networks, the management of negative comments and possible crises is much more controlled, since they are usually reviewed on a daily basis, but… Who reviews comments from TripAdvisor, Booking, Google My Business or search results?
We must identify all the platforms where we have a presence, as they can harm our digital reputation.
- The main social networks (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). Although we do not have active accounts in them, it is the most recurring channel for users to make a negative review.
- Main marketplaces where our business is present. If we are a hotel, we must review the comments on our Booking, Trivago or Catch it tab. If we are a restaurant, those of Just Eat or ElTenedor.
- Google My Business file. It is a very good resource to improve our local SEO and give our business additional visibility in search results. It has a section where users can make evaluations and leave comments.
- Search results. Although it seems uncontrollable to limit the amount of information that flows through the internet through blogs, newspapers or forums, it is possible with the creation of alerts in Google Alerts. In it we can create notices so that we receive an email every time a website names our business, although this does not mean that we do not search periodically with the name of our business and “business name + comments and opinions”, to see what is Bake in search results.
2. Respond quickly to negative comments
If we have a negative comment on social networks, Google My Business, our website or an external website where we can put a comment, we should try to reply as quickly as possible to try to alleviate its scope. Thus, on the one hand, our reputation will not be affected in the face of being seen by users unrelated to what has happened and, on the other, so that the angry user does not look for other channels where to put negative comments.
3. Be transparent and honest
It is necessary to be honest and transparent so that users understand what has happened. With our comment, the affected user and users who see it later should see that their problem affects you and that you are going to take steps to prevent the incident from happening again.
In the comment do not forget to apologize in a close and accessible tone, explain the reason for the problem in a transparent way and solve it. You can use data, statistics, photos or other testimonials and evaluations to give certainty that the problem has been solved or that it is an isolated case.
4. Negative comments on marketplaces
If we have negative comments on marketplaces such as Booking, Trivago or Tripadvisor, we can send a newsletter to satisfied users to compensate for previous negative opinions and thus increase the bad score.
If we have a hard time getting feedback, we can offer a discount on the next purchase to incentivize them. There are many tools that allow you to send emails requesting these ratings, such as Reputation Loop or Gatherup.
5. Correctly manage the reputation crisis in search results
When the reputation crisis is found in search results and negative comments or information are found on websites where we cannot intervene, things get complicated and the scope of the problem may be greater.
As we have already commented, if we reply quickly and solve the problem on social networks, in a few weeks our reputation may be renewed (always depending on each case). On the other hand, if the comment is found on blogs, web or digital newspapers, it will tell us to give our opinion about the problem or to have this information removed.
In this channel, things get worse since this type of content can be available to users even when we have already solved the problem.
In these cases, the procedure involves requesting the removal of the content, although it is very rarely carried out. Therefore, we have to figure out how to hide this content from the search results on the first page, so that they lose visibility.
It is necessary, therefore, to resort to SEO techniques to improve the positioning of both our website and those that speak positively or neutrally about our business, and thus sweep all negative comments towards the second page of Google. We can also resort to creating campaigns in Google Ads to ensure that our website is the first to appear and that it is always the first before any type of comment.
To implement these actions, you need knowledge about positioning results in search engines, knowing how to create Google Ads campaigns and managing a campaign to get external links.
6. Improvement in the face of adversity
Once the bad drink of receiving a negative review has been overcome, we must put ourselves in the shoes of the users and analyze what has happened, to detect failures in our business and put a solution to it. In the comments you will have all the information you need, since an angry user usually explains even the smallest detail of their displeasure or anguish.
There is no use apologizing and taking action if we run the risk of our brand being attacked again.
Let’s look at some examples of complaints or negative comments. Users are upset because they consider the price of dinner excessive, because they have not received the shipment in the estimated time or they are unhappy with the poor state of cleanliness of a hotel room.
In the first case, we must investigate if we have uncompetitive prices compared to our competition, and take measures or improve the quality of the dishes and maintain the price. In the second case, we may need to speak to our distributors and ask for explanations about the delays, or even assess a change of supplier. And in the case of the hotel, hire more staff for cleaning or train staff on the minimum standards. With this we will improve the products or services offered, generating a better brand reputation.
EXAMPLES OF ONLINE REPUTATION CRISES
Online reputation crises can be due to many factors: socio-economic, cultural that are beyond our control or, on the other hand, to errors, mismanagement or praxis of any member of the organization whose action affects the brand (such as bad management of accounts in social networks or examples of cases of scandals over senior positions in the company). Whatever the case, once it affects the brand, we must act promptly.
Some examples of popular reputation crises online have been the H&M clothing chain when it had to apologize when a black boy appeared on its website wearing a sweatshirt with a sign on his chest, which read The coolest monkey in the jungle (“The coolest monkey in the jungle”).
Another example is Nestlé’s KITKAT chocolate bars, which used palm oil that was destroying the natural habitat of Bornean orangutans.
Donettes, for his part, launched a campaign whose slogan said “to order, to the subway.” Social media users were quick to voice anger over the message’s low sensitivity, and the brand had to apologize and discontinue the campaign.
Finally, the Findus brand received a wave of negative criticism when it was discovered that it was selling horse meat instead of beef.
HOW TO PREVENT A CRISIS AND IMPROVE ONLINE REPUTATION
To finish, we leave you a list of actions to prevent an online reputation crisis:
- Take care of your digital presence, updating the content you show on your website and on social networks.
- Be transparent in the products and services we offer, giving clear information that is not misinterpretable by users.
- Control the management of your social networks.
- Detect and eliminate problems quickly.
- Be aware of the news of your sector to detect controversial cases and be able to act before a possible altercation towards our brand occurs.
- Respond quickly to negative comments so they have the least negative impact.
- Make regular monitoring on social networks, search results and princes directors about our brand.
- It allows users to create testimonials and comments on your website, so you can handle a crisis more comfortably than if the comments are posted on an external website over which you have no control.
- Don’t be afraid of negative comments. No one is perfect and it is almost impossible to please everyone. Having neutral or negative comments will give naturalness and credibility to your brand.
- Design an online crisis plan, specifying the people responsible for its execution, what to do to solve the crisis in each medium and its subsequent control.
- It has quality content well positioned on your website. This will ensure that your content is always well positioned for searches related to your business and it costs you to outperform in search results.