If there’s one marketing statement that many first time business owners know without understanding the truth behind it, it would be “There’s no such thing as bad press.” While it’s quite possible for many businesses to thrive in spite of a scandal, more often than not this results in a significant drop in their customer base that can be hard to recover from. Online reputation management isn’t an accessory when it comes to online marketing – it is its own department altogether.
While some people might be more content to just let things blow over, the internet has a very long memory and bad reviews will linger almost forever if not addressed. With the advent of many different review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Angie’s List, among many others, people who crowd source for information from actual customers will make a decision based on how previous customers felt.
So how exactly can bad reviews or press damage your business?
1) Skewing percentages negatively – A consumer who utilizes a review site will be more meticulous than the average and thus, far more critical of your service or products. It’s far harder to get a positive score and, because of this, your scores will have a tendency to skew to the negatives.
2) Reviewer Bias – If your first reviews are already less than stellar, future users might end up scoring you not according to completely objective means but by the expectations set by previous reviews. This ends up as an uphill battle for you to restore your reputation and can leave long lasting marks.
3) Bad News Sells – This is the driving force behind many sensationalist tabloids and less than objective news reporting. Because it is easier to remember a person, company, or any entity at all for its faults, any failure your company might have gets more media attention.
If your business has fallen victim to any of the above scenarios at all, it’s important that you have a team that’s ready to minimize the fallout and get you back on track. Much like real world public relations, online reputation management is about doing everything possible to improve your online image by showcasing more of your strengths to drown out the bad press.
When it comes to search engines, very few people go past the first 2 pages and the goal is to ensure these pages come back with nothing but good news about you. This can be done through a wide variety of means including press release statements, blog posts highlighting your strengths, as well as friendly and responsive social media work.
It’s important to understand that not everyone will be happy with your service, but there are always ways to make sure that these people are kept to a minimum at all costs. Since the problem can’t be fixed overnight, it’s important that the situation is observed closely and to figure out what search results are hurting your reputation and why.
In fact, a really good firm will go above and beyond to help you address these issues directly so that you can focus on improving your business to avoid a repeat scenario.
Don’t let a problem linger longer than it should, and don’t ever believe that Bad Press is something you can just live with.