5 Costly Business Online Reputation Management Fails

Online Reputation Management Fails

Many businesses are adopting online reputation management as a key component of their local marketing strategy. With 9 out of 10 consumers searching the web for businesses, focusing on your brand’s online reputation is a must to survive.

Yet, with all the articles, tips and tools available, many businesses are still failing at the simplest aspects of online reputation management. All of which can harm their ability to capture more customers and grow sales. The purpose of this article is to highlight some of these mistakes so you can avoid making them in your business.

While there are many examples we could show you, below are 5 online reputation management fails we picked that can be especially damaging.

1. “Self-reviewing” your own business.

Of all the examples of online reputation management fails, this has to be the most embarrassing. A business owner posting an online review touting their own business is simply a bad idea. But we understand the temptation. For many local businesses, getting online reviews is a must to survive. As with all newly-minted business owners, getting customers in the door is your main priority. But, when those customers don’t come, the phone doesn’t ring and no web lead forms are submitted, it’s tempting to take drastic measures.

Well, besides it being unethical, there are three big downsides to posting self-reviews.

  • If Google discovers your business is posting fake reviews, they will likely ban you. Not showing up in Google search can be devastating for a business.
  • This is deceptive advertising and, according to the Federal Trade Commission, could lead to legal action against your business.
  • Finally, if someone notices that a business owner has posted a fake review, they can call you out online causing a PR nightmare.

These are all outcomes that can bring down your business.

2. Not claiming key online business listings

Online visibility is important to all businesses and there are hundreds of online business listing sites that can help make this happen. However, in order to ensure your information is accurate (and stays that way), businesses need to claim and monitor their listings. Unfortunately, many businesses ignore this important (and free) aspect of their local marketing, which can put your brand’s reputation at risk.

Claim Online Business Listings

Most online business listings are created automatically, without the business owner’s knowledge. And, it’s not uncommon for the information contained in these listings to be inaccurate. On top of that, many online listing sites allow the general public to make edits to business listings. This “crowd sourcing” approach helps these sites gather valuable, highly specific information, but can also lead to inaccurate business listings. Having incorrect business listings is a sure way for consumers to lose trust in your brand.

3. Not engaging with customers online.

It’s great to check all the boxes regarding your brand’s online presence – website, social media accounts, claimed online listings, etc. But these actions do little if you aren’t actively engaging with customers on these sites. People want to see interaction by businesses with their customers. It shows you care about them.

Examples such as promptly responding to all online reviews, answering support questions on Twitter or just encouraging conversations on Facebook and Instagram with the local community are types of engagement valued by consumers.

Also, when customers leave feedback – positive or negative – they expect a response.  Businesses thinking they don’t have to rely to positive reviews are taking a risk. Having “un-managed” reviews can come back to haunt you. If they don’t get a reply, they may not come back or recommend your business to others.

4. Not asking customers to leave reviews.

Asking for reviews is an easy win for businesses. However, many still pass on this opportunity. A recent study found that 70% of consumers said they would leave a review if they were asked. Implementing a review generation program can be as simple as telling your employees to ask customers for reviews at the same time you thank them for their business. You can take this a step further by using a software system to send an email or text message to the client as well. It’s an effective way to take a more active role in building both customer loyalty and your online reputation.

5. Not resolving the customer’s problem.

How many times have you seen a response to an online review that goes something like this, “Thanks for your feedback, we are forwarding your comments to the appropriate department to be resolved.”? This seems okay at first glance. But where’s the solution? What’s the plan? Does this business have other reviews where the issue was resolved?

When you respond to reviews, don’t just reply – fix the problem. This might include contacting the customer off-line and working out a solution. Want to really differentiate yourself from the competition on this issue? Take things a step further by posting a follow up response outlining the solution. Responding to customer feedback in this manner can win back the customer (and potentially lots of new ones too).

What can we learn?

Unfortunately, these are just a handful of the many examples of online reputation management fails out there. And, it’s surprising that with all the information available to businesses, these costly online reputation mistakes are still all too common. But, they don’t have to be.

Focusing on your online reputation is a must in today’s digital business world and can pay dividends as well as any advertising program you are currently doing. The best advice to avoid mistakes is to take the time to map out a sound online reputation management strategy, share it with your employees and get it implemented. Also, don’t be afraid to call in experts to help make sure your online reputation management program does what it’s designed to do – improve your online reputation and grow sales.

What are some examples of online reputation management fails have you encountered? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

Need help with building your brand’s online reputation? ReviewIgnite specializes in helping businesses leverage their online reputation to improve their brand image, attract more customers and increase sales. See our online reputation management software in action. Contact us to get your free, no obligation demo today!

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