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Reputation Management (AKA rep management, online reputation management or ORM) is the practice of monitoring internet reviews and comments in order to maintain your brand integrity.

Most of us have had a bad experience at a restaurant. ALL of us have had bad experiences with cable providers. Posting these complaints on Google Reviews, Yelp, BBB or various other sites can greatly damage a business’ brand and impact sales. For small businesses with only a few reviews, one really bad review can bring a 5-star rating down to 2 or 3.

As as our company and reputation grows, we become more susceptible to the occasional troll that’s just having a bad day. It’s important that we know how to protect our brands against the inevitable complaint.

Below are the key strategies to combat negative information found online.

#1 rule in Reputation Management

Answer any bad reviews immediately and politely!

Every client that I consult with says the same thing (understandably) – “I want to tell this (expletive) to (expletive) off!”

Yep. We all do. It’s our primal nature. But to do so is career suicide. We have to channel our most adult selves and see this for the opportunity that it truly is.

Thank the reviewer for bringing the “issue” (of course it was only in their minds and we’re truly not at fault) to our attention and ask if we can rectify the situation.

Assure them that we’ve taken measures to see to it that the issue is not repeated and that they have made your business better as a result.

This kind response has three excellent results:

1. More often than not it deescalates the angered reviewer. People often simply need to feel heard and vent their frustrations. Having our feelings recognized takes us out of the negative state.

2. Turns a negative into a positive for prospects that are doing their due diligence. People looking to assess whether they can trust you or your product/service go straight to the bad reviews. How you handle them (or NOT handle them) make all the difference in the world in building trust.

3. It should shed light on an area of our business that we need to improve. It really is a good thing for someone to let us know of a gap to fill. We all have them and no one is perfect.

Final thoughts…

I often compare the internet to “road rage” – some of us feel empowered to be asses as we hide behind our keyboards. Most of us have had a bad day or one too many drinks and have lashed out at someone online. Unfortunately, this can have severe consequences to a small business.

As hard as it is to not take a bad review or comment personally, it’s very important to step back, take a breath, and channel our best selves – the world will judge you upon that response more than any other.

 Article by Barry Edwards of– helping businesses become more profitable online.Also see my sister site, Over 50 Starting Over – a DIY resource for the not-so-technically inclined that want to create their own lead generating online presence. 

Over 50 Starting Over marketing tips for the middle aged entrepreneur

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