People have asked me, “how do I deal with negative comments about my business online?” More businesses are now concerned about Negative complaints on forum sites or somewhere else on the Internet. SEO or Reputation Management companies may claim to be able to hide them. I want to warn you that hiring an SEO company to “hide” or “bury” your online complaints may be one of the worst mistakes you can make. I was at a business event engaging in a conversation with a fellow business owner addressing her concerns with me, while I was providing her with solutions she and her team could do to address the negative exposure a SEO consultant aggressively claimed he could hide it and not bother running a social campaign to address it. It inspired me to write this post to warn business owners the reality of using this strategy.
This strategy usually involves creating positive profiles on social networking and other sites to rank high in search engines such as Google (NOTE – you can do this yourself for free). These companies may even claim that for a $995 up-front fee and $100-500 or more per month they can “remove” negative information from the Google search results.
SEO or “reputation management” companies create positive web pages that will show up before the negative ones, this pushes the negative results lower on Google’s search results. The negative pages are never removed, they are just a little harder to find. This is a temporary band aid effect—a negative complaint can be shown on perhaps the third or fourth page of Google results for a few days or weeks, but can pop back up to the top of the results putting you back at square one.
The best solution is to deal with the complaints online. Create a social media campaign in response to what has been said about your company. After all, this is what social media is all about a two way conversation between consumers and businesses. The days of one way marketing communication are over. So step up to the plate, write PR articles, make YouTube videos, FB/Blog posts, tweets etc… stating what you have done to address the negative complaint, and if it was not valid compliant then address it and try reaching out to the person who made the. You may be pleasantly surprised that person may turn out to be a raving fan of your business in the end. Clear communication and improvement processes are key. The public knows no one is perfect, if you admit that you are human and care enough to take actions to ensure the problem does not happen again, people will respect you more for it. I am a firm believer that all publicity is good. It’s all about your reactions that matter.
Integrity is Key! It’s all about Progress- Love how Social Media is a reflection of human progress! If you think this will help your fellow peers and friends, please share this on your Facebook, and Twitter! Also, let me know your thoughts on this and your experiences and observations! 🙂