Cleaning up your online reputation

Your online reputation may be smashed in a number of ways. You may have a lot of negative reviews online. You may have a sustained negative PR fire burning on social media. Sites may have been set up to attack you, or your competitor may be running anti-SEO campaigns against you. Your optimized pages may appear against more appealing competitor pages, and your place on the search engine may be falling. These are all quite complex issues, but here are a few basic instructions to help you through it.

A lot of negative reviews

This is a massive problem if the reviews are genuinely from people who have a problem with your product. If this is the case then you are going to need to do some really major restructuring to ensure that your customers come away happy. There is no way of stopping the influx of negative reviews if your customers are coming away unhappy. Even if you use some of the most sophisticated PR methods, it is going to cost you more time and effort trying to fight the negative reviews than it will to fix what is wrong with your business.

When your competition are posting the negative reviews about you

Your first move should be to find all of the negative reviews and see what they complain about. If you have a competitor that is commissioning all of these poor reviews, then they are going to have some sort of agenda. Most likely, they are going to post negative reviews about you with regards to their best selling feature. For example, if they emphasize how fast their deliveries are, they are going to post negative reviews about how slow your deliveries are.

So, what you need to do is find all of these negative reviews find the commonality and then check your competitor’s websites and advertising. For example, if they are boastful about their delivery times and your negative reviews are about how slow your deliveries are, then you need to change your advertising. Your website should start to boast about how your company has the fastest deliveries, show people your delivery trucks, show people your average delivery time and make it look as if the time-average number is updated live.

Posting good reviews about yourself

If we continue with the example of slow deliveries, once you have changed your website and your advertising to emphasize your fast delivery times, you need to start posting good reviews about your delivery times on every outlet that you can. Sign up for all of the review sections and forums and create lots of fake profiles. Then, start posting about how happy you are with your services (obviously whist using your fake profiles and pretending to be a customer). Make a point of mentioning your delivery times and build up the amount of positive reviews for your website.

Posting negative reviews about your competition

Don’t do it–it is a waste of time and it is unethical. Every time you set up a fake profile on a review site or social media network or forum so that you can post negative reviews about your competitors, you could have been writing good ones about your own company. Your competitors may be writing negative ones about you, but they are the ones who are missing out on writing positive ones about themselves.

Let them waste their time writing negative reviews about your site, because doing it back to them is not going to stop them continuing to do it to you. Concentrate on writing positive reviews about your own company, products and services instead. If you tried to write negative reviews about all of your competition then it would cost you hundreds of staff hours.

A sustained negative PR fire burning on social media

This may also be part of your competitor’s attempts to undermine your online reputation. If it is not then you need to work hard to find out why this sort of thing keeps happening. You would be surprised at how much room there is on social media for you to turn things around. You already have time on your side, as a sustained negative PR fire needs to occur to have any sort of permanent affect on your online reputation. Posts are gone and forgotten within days, so small flurries of online hate are often gone as quickly as they appear.

Still, if you are able to post things on the profiles that are badmouthing your company, then sign on as one of your fake profiles and turn things around. Talk about how you had the same problem and give your reasons why it happened, e.g. their systems went down, or they were affected by the fuel strike. Or, you could defend yourself more cerebrally.

There are lots of ways of turning objections and complaints into positive things. You can explain what the problem was and how you have fixed it so that the problem will never happen again. Even better, you can thank people for bringing this to your attention and describe how systems are in place so that it could not happen ever again.

If you put some thought into it, you will come up with hundreds of different responses that are applicable to a handful of complaints. Never attack people online or claim that what they say never happened. If it is actually a lie, then just wait for the bad PR to pass and do not respond to it at all.

About Kate Funk

Kate Funk is an expert in teaching Finances and Marketing courses at Tutorsville. She coaches individuals in SEO and business networking skills. You can contact her on Facebook or Google+.