Taking Control of Your Company's Online Reputation, Part 2
You’ve read part one of this multipart series, claimed local listings and even spent some time optimizing … now what? Next on the list is figuring out how to monitor reviews left on claimed listings, as well as reviews or comments from blogs, social media sites, and so on. Tools can streamline this process and make the seemingly daunting task a bit more manageable. Consider using the following tools:
Social Mention: Allows you to search the web for relevant keywords (e.g., a business name), as well as set up alerts to help monitor brands, campaigns or even competitors.
Monitor This: Tracks 25 search engines for specified keywords relevant to your business (e.g., a business name, product), and displays results from blogs, microblogs, articles, photos and videos to help monitor what's being said about your business.
RSS feeds: Provide the ability to monitor multiple outlets and terms. Google Reader can be used to set up and manage feeds.
Google/Yahoo Alerts: Provide the ability to set alerts for specified terms and have those alerts sent straight to a specified inbox.
Yext Rep: Provides businesses with a way to monitor the majority of local listings in one spot.
Revinate (hotel specific): Pulls in reviews from multiple sites and allows hotels to respond directly to them. It also provides an overall rating for hotels.
After monitoring reviews across the web and coming across both good and bad, how does one know when and how to respond? The first thing to realize is that it's equally important to respond to positive reviews as it is to respond to negative reviews. When it comes to picking which reviews to respond to, follow these simple guidelines:
- Respond to rave reviews from customers, particularly ones where the customer points out how an employee went out of their way or the customer gushes about how great your business is in general.
- Be gracious and humble in your response. This isn't the time to say, “Yeah, we know we're kind of a big deal.” Make sure you let reviewers know their kind words are appreciated.
- If you know you messed up, acknowledge it right away. If there's a review that clearly puts your business in the wrong, go ahead and respond to it. In the same vein, when facts are misstated about your business in a review, you should respond. Nobody wants an untrue review to turn others away. Lastly, if it's clear the reviewer is angry with your business (and not just life in general), it’s a good idea to reach out and see what can be done to resolve the issue.
- A negative review can hurt, but it’s important to stay calm — and always be honest. If it's apparent your business is in the wrong, just admit it. You’d be amazed how far a simple apology can go. Finally, figure out if there's a way to make amends. Direct the reviewer to a contact who can help them move the conversation offline.
Analyze reviews to look for any key themes. Pull out any recurring keywords or comments, both good and bad. This will give your business an idea of what it's good at and what it needs to improve upon. Once any deficiencies have been identified, set goals to fix them. For example, if several customers comment about noise being an issue, figure out ways to reduce the noise in your store/restaurant/hotel. Identifying positive keywords is important as well.
Claiming, optimizing and monitoring reviews can be a big undertaking, but if you set up a strategy and stick to it, you'll be well on your way to successfully managing your online reputation and increasing your brand's equity.
Related story: Taking Control of Your Company's Online Reputation, Part 1