In the online world, your reputation is everything. A new company with some whiz-bang products or services can make a big splash, but as soon as product or service reviews start hitting the social media, there is little that a company can do to counter a bad offering, no matter how big their advertising budget is. Unfortunately, competitors realise this, and unscrupulous ones may create false reviews in the hopes of tarnishing your reputation. There are also a certain percentage of people who will give you bad reviews without ever having used your product or service, simply because it reminds them of another product or service they used in the past with which they were dissatisfied. The good news is, however, that this is a situation you can fix.
The easiest way to ensure people do not find bad reviews of your goods or services is to make excellent products and have exemplary customer service. However, even the best companies make the occasional mistake. By monitoring the major social media platforms for use of your company or product names, you can find disgruntled customers while there is still time to salvage the relationship. Take steps to satisfy them, and they’re likely to post equally glowing comments or blog entries about your excellent customer service. Make it easy for happy customers to write positive reviews about you by including links to review sites in your confirmation emails.
If your product is easily recognisable from a photograph, do regular searches of the Internet to ensure it is not being used in inappropriate ways. Use the Facebook photo searching capabilities to locate photos that people have tagged with your company or product name, and remove the tag of any that are unflattering. If your company has a widely recognised President or CEO, you should search on that name, as well. Similarly, make sure that any publicly accessible photographs posted by employees, even if the photographs are posted on their personal Facebook accounts, do not tag the company or products in an unfavourable light.
Using standard SEO practices, you can ensure that the first page of results returned in a search for your company or product names are pages featuring positive reviews, pages sponsored by your company, or places where your products can be purchased. If necessary, you can even create pages with your product name and a derogatory word such as “scam” or “problems” that will match that phrase for search engine results. However the content of the page will be that the product is not a scam or has only insignificant problems. Unscrupulous businesses whose products really are scams or have major problems sometimes use this methodology to temporarily paper over the bad publicity, although the reaction to an attempted cover-up is usually far worse than the reaction to the bad product. Therefore, if you create pages in this manner, make sure they do not give the impression of being unscrupulous.