5 Ways to Fight a Bad Online Reputation

No business owner enjoys coming across negative comments about their business online, but what do you do when bad items are some of the first things potential customers see when they search for your business on the Internet? These words of warning against your company aren’t just bad SEO; They can ward off customers before they can give your business a chance.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to improve your company's online image. Here are a few things you can try to combat the negativity:

Look into removing negative posts. You may be able to get at least a few of the nasty barbs about your business off the Internet simply by contesting them. For instance, if the comment violates the site's terms of service for posting (such as spammy or offensive content), you have a good chance at getting it removed simply by flagging it or contacting the webmaster/publisher. This approach won't work for every website or negative comment, but it's definitely worth a try.

Respond to negative posts appropriately. In some situations, responding to posts that slam your business may be the right thing to do to mitigate the problem. For instance, if a customer offers a legitimate criticism about your products and services, you could thank them for their comments and explain what your business is doing to address their concerns. However, if you choose to respond, it is important to do so diplomatically. Calling the negative poster names or threatening to slap them with a defamation lawsuit will most likely just add fuel to the fire. Also, do not respond to comments made by spammers or the competition. Instead, try to get those removed.

Create good content to push down the bad. If you don't like what's being said, change the conversation. Look for ways to publish more content that extols the virtues of your company in the form of social media, press releases, blog posts, videos, extra web pages and websites. Create enough positive press, and over time, the good stuff will outshine the bad.

Resolve any recurring problems in your comments. Don't write off all negative comments; some may contain constructive criticism about a real problem with your products and services that is costing you business. Do most of the comments mention the same issues, such as rude customer service, high prices or shoddy products? If so, it's wise to take these comments into consideration and take action against the problems that are turning off customers.

Stay vigilant. Put a monitoring system in place to make sure you know about negative posts as soon as they happen. Set up Google Alerts for your company name as well as your name and any brand names associated with your company. Trackur and other social media management programs offer services that let you monitor social media sites for any mentions of your company.

Going from pariah to darling may not be possible overnight, but a few simple actions can bring about noticeable change in as little time as a couple of weeks. If you're suffering from an online image problem, CyberMark can help. We can devise and implement a plan of attack to get your reputation back on track. Just ask us how.

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