A Practical Guide to Online Reputation Management

Review sites

Review sites like Trip Advisor and the Review Centre allow an ‘owners reply’ to reviews of your business. It is good practice to respond to negative reviews to show other readers that you take the issues seriously and are working to address them.

The owner of this hotel[18] for example is very active in responding to reviews. If you’re a hotel owner you can see guidance on responding to a review here[19].

Online reviews screenshot

Forums and Reputation Management

In forums the best way to interject is to simply register at the forum, using an official email address @yourcompany.com and reply to the thread stating that you are an official representative from the company in question. Although you can expect to get some ill feeling from other participants a well moderated forum (some are, most aren’t) will give the chance for your reply to be heard.

This thread[20] about the travel company GAP adventures shows an interesting example of how these discussions can pan out on a forum.

Gap forum discussion

Twitter and Reputation Management

Negative press can spread very quickly on Twitter because of the ‘retweet’ system where one user may ‘tweet’ something negative about your company to their friends and other users will ’retweet’ it meaning it is broadcast to all of their friends as well. The best way to respond to negative comments on Twitter is to backtrack to the original source of the first Tweet and reply to it. Your response can only be 140 characters meaning you’ll need to be succinct and get the message across. Some companies will pass negative tweets to customer services who will contact the complainant.

Twitter and reputation management

Argos does a good job of this on their Twitter profile[21].

Facebook

Facebook’s distribution system works in a similar way to Tweeting and Retweeting on Twitter. If someone posts a negative comment to their friends in their Facebook status update other users can comment on it or ‘like’ it. Either of these actions sets off a chain reaction where the story may then show in the news feeds of friends of the people who have commented or liked the original posting. The issues with Facebook is you may not be able to reply to or even see the story unless you are friends with the complainant due to Facebook’s privacy controls. One positive however is that most people join Facebook using their real names, meaning if its an existing or past customer you should be able to track down their contact details and get in touch with them via email or phone.

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