The genie is out of the bottle. In this day and age, everything is public and visible. A plethora of information floats around the internet, and trying to control who posts feels like boiling the ocean. To make it worse, it takes so much time to build a reputation and only one bad moment to tarnish it.
These statements all ring true, but it is astonishing how many marketers and businesspeople misjudge their implications. Their struggles often stem from common myths that distort perception and lead to tragic missteps. So, here are the most notorious fallacies that need to be debunked for good.
Myth: There is no controlling one’s online reputation.
Fact: You cannot have total control over how your brand is seen online. But you can definitely alter it to some extent.
While trying to prevent people from writing reviews is futile, you can react to them in a certain manner. For instance, it has been proven countless times that a timely and suitable response to a bad review or comment mitigates the damage it deals. That is to say that brands with quick response rates and feedback sensitivity will always have an edge.
Like it or not, ignoring the problem only makes things worse. Customers are always right, so you are better off attending to their wants and needs and valuing their opinion.
Myth: No reputation is better than a bad rep
At first glance, this statement seems intuitively on point. Alas, the lack of testimonials and reviews only raises suspicion and suggests you are either unworthy, too new, or a shady company. Modern consumers hold peer opinion in the highest regard, and when it is nowhere to be found, it cannot be a good thing, can it? Negative reviews might do more harm than good, but they are at least an indication of your business's legitimacy.
Myth: A solid plan solves all problems
How do you plan for chaos and anarchy?
Put another way: We plan, and God laughs.
Detailed plans are not worth the paper they are written on unless you do everything in your power to see them through in practice. Real management takes place on the level of business practices and processes. Therefore, working out a thorough daily reputation management plan is highly advisable. Understand what the weak points are and address them.
Do not hesitate to get in touch with the best outsourcing companies money can buy to conduct CRM and damage control. It would be a rather wise investment for the long term. You have to make sure to go through a list of outsourcing companies before choosing the one that’s perfect for your brand.
Myth: I need to delete bad online reviews
Reviews are hard to delete. But it can be done under some circumstances.
For better or worse, once published, online reviews are permanent. The confusion about this has been stirred due to the proliferation of services that offer aid in doing away with bad reviews. This is a fishy business, to say the least. Valid reviews, in the vast majority of cases, cannot be deleted because they serve as trustworthy signals for people. The only way to revoke a review is to prove it is fake, full of false claims, or written by your competition. Presented with such a looming shadow of doubt, the review platform should be compelled to take another look.
Myth: Reputation and customer service are separate
When it comes to digital plans, customer service, and reputation management must work hand in hand. Failing to understand this creates a wealth of problems and impedes cross-department collaboration.
Without impeccable customer service, you cannot keep the avalanche of negative comments and reviews at bay. Likewise, you forgo the possibility of people altering their reviews. Brands like Zappos are well aware of this and work wonders with their integrated digital strategies.
Myth: Reputation management is a resource-intensive hassle
Improving reviews is cheap. Changing search results isn't.
Yes, pinpointing poor feedback and then responding manually to each customer would consume a ton of time. However, as technology advances by leaps and bounds, we have ever more sophisticated tools at our disposal.
Myth: It is difficult to get people to write reviews
Use a review management platform. It will make your life easier.
Nobody is overly eager to write a review, even if it takes a few minutes. Yet, often it is enough to ask, especially if you do it right after a successful interaction. Again, modern technology plays right into your hand: you can use automated post-survey solutions to send email requests nicely and easily. So, take action now to impact the number and freshness of reviews directly. Positive and detailed reviews go a long way, even when they are few and far in between.
Brand managers are actually in more control than they think they are
It may not feel like it at first, but you are in control of your reputation. Negative reviews do not spell doom for your brand, despite them being visible to every internet user on the face of the earth. To get the ball rolling, devise a plan to steer clear of reputation nightmares. Bear in mind your reputation is never set in stone or defined by your strategic documents.
It all comes down to what you do and say.
Thus, react promptly to turn every bad situation around. Grow from your mistakes and connect with those who have voiced their discontent. Following these steps, you should be able to brave the tumultuous digital landscape of today and keep your image sparkly clean.
Can I control my online reputation?
You cannot have total control of how your brand is seen online. But you can alter it to some extent using online reputation management practices.
Is having no reputation better than a bad reputation?
Lack of testimonials and reviews often raises suspicion and can suggest your brand is either unworthy, too new, or shady. Modern consumers hold peer opinion in the highest regard.
Should I delete bad online reviews?
Valid reviews, in the vast majority of cases, cannot be deleted because they serve as trustworthy signals for people. The only way to revoke a review is to prove it is fake, full of false claims, or written by your competition.
What is the difference between reputation management and customer service?
Without impeccable customer service, you cannot keep the avalanche of negative comments and reviews at bay. Likewise, you forgo the possibility of people altering their reviews.
Is it difficult to get people to write reviews?
Although nobody is overly eager to spend time writing a review, often it is enough to simply ask, especially if you do it right after a successful interaction.
About the author
Kent Campbell is the chief strategist for Reputation X, an award-winning online reputation management agency. He has over 15 years of experience with SEO, Wikipedia editing, review management, and online reputation strategy. Kent has helped celebrities, leaders, executives, and marketing professionals improve the way they are seen online. Kent writes about reputation, SEO, Wikipedia, and PR-related topics, and is an expert witness for reputation-related legal matters.