Managing reputation online is vital. Even if things are going right for your business, you just need one unhappy customer to review your business negatively on a third-party site and spoil the fun for you.

According to some people, reputation management is a concept that only the big fishes should be worried about. The truth is small, emerging firms too have reputation problems. They, however, do not have large teams to do damage control.

In this article, we shall go through the five extremely common reputation management issues small businesses come across regularly, and also let you in on the ways to quickly address them before they start hurting you.

1. Negative Feedback/Reviews on External Sites

Negative reviews could hurt small businesses significantly, particularly when they are on reputable review sites, such as Yelp, Google, and Better Business Bureau (BBB), since monitoring and keeping up with such feedback becomes difficult. Because review websites usually rank high in search engines for keywords relating to your business, it is no rocket science to understand why these reviews hurt your business so badly. There are multiple things you may do to combat such negative reviews residing on third-party websites, which are:

Outrank those sites with correct keywords. If your business is ranking high for keywords that are used to dig up reviews about your business, the dent on your business’ credibility can be reversed significantly. If your website ranks higher than the reviews, which are hanging at the bottom of the first page, your business page would get the opportunity to engage with the buyer first.

Take down abusive or false reviews. Some review websites would allow a business to defend itself against false reviews. For instance, BBB and Google let you report false or fake reviews. The false reviews are not guaranteed to be taken down, but there is a possibility for sure.

Respond to the comments. If you could, comment on the negative review publicly. The reviewer should know you are keen on resolving the matter and offer them to contact your company about the situation. Though irate customers would be least interested in resolving things, your correspondence would at least let others know that you care. This would also go a long way in establishing your brand’s credibility.

Focus on the positives. Outdo those negative reviews by soliciting positive reviews from content customers. A negative review looks bad when it’s the only review. But when it’s amidst several positive reviews, things don’t look that bad.

2. Untagged Social Media Negative Mentions

Social posts could go viral and create a major impact, spinning into a frenzy in little time before you could realize what’s happening. And if all those posts about you don’t have you tagged, significant damage could be done and you’ll not know it until it’s too late.

It is important to be involved in such conversations about you on social media, even if you are not tagged in them. Mention-tracking software would notify you every time your brand name comes up in conversations on social media. The tool almost instantly shows you all mentions of your company almost instantly. This would help you address negative comments, if any, as soon as they show up.

3. Negative Media Coverage

A negative review from a blogger, newspaper, or other experts could be damaging, particularly for small firms that are trying to break in to the market. This is why you should be constantly aware of who is talking about you online. You may use the brand monitoring tool of SEMrush for this reason. If there is negative media coverage around your brand, resort to damage control immediately. Check the keywords those negative comments or articles are getting highly ranked for and try outranking them so that you could bury things at the earliest. You may get in touch with reputation management experts for advice on the best ways to proceed.

Another thing you could do is distribute press releases you’ve penned yourself. If you can’t write to save your life, hire a PR person for the job. You may even reach out to influencers or other experts in the industry so that you could get some positive talk going for your brand online. Some influencers can review your services or products for a price. If required, try getting this done quickly, since it would be worth the effort.

4. Not Ranking High for Branded Online Searches

It is not the best scenario to be in when branded searches of your own are not putting you at the top of search results. Just imagine how embarrassing it could be for Newegg Melbourne to not rank first for its own brand name search online. If your ranking is anything but first for branded searches, your brand’s credibility goes for a toss, and you also lose control over your market. You are letting some other company reach your customers first, which should never happen for any business. Mend things if your business is not ranking at the top for your own keywords. Focus more on your site’s SEO. Make sure branded keywords show up on important pages on your site. If required, you may always add those terms as secondary keywords or make additional content in the form of a FAQ page or blog so that different branded searches could be targeted, if required.

5. Buyers Do not Trust You

If your brand is not perceived as honest or you’ve been embroiled in a controversy, people would stop trusting your brand – even if all the mishap was pure misunderstanding. And once you lose consumer trust, it could be an uphill task for you from thereon. Buyers have multiple seller options; they would rather consider dealing with a relatively unknown brand than a company whose integrity is under the scanner.

Sometimes, trust could be lost if you are caught deleting negative reviews or are not very forthcoming with your patrons. If a buyer wants to know the ingredients your product comprises, it is usually not advisable to say you cannot reveal the details for confidentiality reasons.

Therefore, focus on transparency and integrity. Share more information online, explaining things such as how you manufacture your products or all the hardship that goes into making a video. This would bring you a lot closer to your buyers. You must also not try to quash negative reviews and let your staff open up about their experiences to the world candidly. The more talk there is about your brand, the more trust you would garner from people.

Conclusion

Reputation management should be ongoing. It must not be viewed as a simple crisis management campaign that you resort to whenever something negative is being said about your company. Monitoring things continually and moving forward is how you should be handling things. Interact with your buyer group transparently, authentically every now and then. You would at no cost want some other individual or entity to call the shots on your business. If you have not already, spend some time reading our tips for online reputation management that all small businesses can incorporate.