Reputation ManagementYou already know that conversations about business are happening online, all over the place. People can write reviews, comments, complaints, blog posts, articles, post videos, etc. on hundreds of websites all across the internet. But what do you do if you find that your small business is the topic of discussion?

One solid way to help manage what people can read about your company is to join in the discussion.

If you do a search in Google for your company name, and other websites show up in the top 10 search results, you have a challenge and an opportunity. If those results link to positive information about your company, that’s great. But if they link to negative reviews, complaint sites and other reputation killers, there are things you can do to change that.

  1. Create a page on your site specifically for people to send you a complaint. Call it “(Business Name) Complaints” and put a super simple form on the page that doesn’t require the user to enter a bunch of information. Let them come directly to you to do their complaining and be sure to immediately respond, acknowledging that you received their complaint. Then look into what they’re saying and honestly address it. Quickly.
  2. Create a page on your site specifically for people to write reviews of your company. Call it “(Business Name) Customer Reviews” and post them without editing. If there is something negative in the review, publicly address it and encourage the visitor to submit a complaint so you can privately remedy it.
  3. Then use your blog (you do have a blog, right?) to post short articles that specifically address individual issues that people bring up in their complaints. Admit when you’ve dropped the ball. And be sure to say how you’re going to fix the issue going forward. Don’t ever dismiss a complaint or just get defensive.
  4. Build up a body of blog posts that help establish your company as an authority in your field. Link to your Customer Reviews page. Invite readers to comment and ask questions on your blog posts.
  5. And on every blog post you should have a link to your complaint form using various text links like “Submit a complaint about (Business Name)” or “(Business Name) Complaints”. You get the idea. If you bring the conversation to your website, you’ll be able to control the message.

It won’t take long for your individual blog posts and your complaint form and reviews page to begin to outrank other complaints and negative reviews online, but it won’t happen overnight. Build a body of positive information about your company online that people and search engines will find. Use your blog to establish a reputation for dealing with complaints quickly and responsibly and you can make a change in what people find about you online and what they say about you.

More suggestions on what you can do about reputation management.

Be prepared in the event a reputation crisis hits your business.

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