In our last post, we covered 5 basic tips that can be followed to help with online reputation management for your business. In this post, we will cover 4 things you can do hinder your reputation management.
Not doing a thing to manage your reputation online can come off as not caring. If a customer is looking for a product or service provider, who are they going to choose, the company that seems complacent, or the one who actively communicates with their customers?
Pay for online reviews
Do not pay for fake online reviews. There are plenty of unscrupulous companies out there who are willing to leave positive reviews of your business online for money. While this might be tempting and may help in the short term, it can backfire on you big time.
Google has systems in place to look for paid reviews. It is easier than it may sound. If Google catches a website with mostly fake reviews, it can actually punish your website by pushing you lower on the search results page.
It's best to earn real reviews from real customers. Paid reviews can sound fake and hurt your reputation while real reviews seem sincere and greatly help improve your online standing.
Don't feed the trolls
An Internet troll is a slang term for a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people. They enjoy posting inflammatory or outrageous messages on blogs and websites. Trolls may be accidental or deliberate in their intent of provoking readers into making emotional responses.
Trolls want a reaction. They love it and are happy to cross any line to shock and offend. The best thing you can do is ignore them. They crave a reaction, don't give it to them.
Ban them if you can. If they are trolling your Facebook page, ban away. If they are trolling with an absurd review on YP.com, contact YP and they are often willing to remove the comments.
Remember, you can never win an argument or reason with a troll.
Don't use sock puppets
No, I'm not talking about Lamp Chop, I'm talking about using a fake online identity for the purposes of deception. Sock puppets are used to counter complaints, leave fake reviews, defend, or praise a person or organization.
Using sock puppets can be tempting, but don't do it. They can backfire badly. In 2007, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey was caught using a sock puppet account named "Rahodeb" on the Yahoo Finance Message Board praising his own company and slamming his main competitor, Wild Oats Markets. This was a huge embarrassment for the company and generated a lot of bad PR.