The Can Opener

5 Classic Examples of Online Reputation Management Mistakes

Posted by Ava Smith on Sep 08, 2014
People now openly express their opinions on the internet - on forums, blogs and social media platforms. Social media monitoring and online reputation management have become critical for engaging and maintaining customers. However, when your brand is attacked online, it is important to repair the damage with a calm and polite response. Any rushed steps could cause more damage to your brand. At The Can Opener, our online reputation management experts have suggested five mistakes you should avoid.

  • Mistake 1: Deleting Negative Comments
    When a company receives a negative comment from an angry customer, deleting it can be a bad response. If you delete your customers' comments, it could make them angrier. They could post more negative comments on all sorts of platforms and make it impossible for you to manage the situation.
  • Mistake 2: Slowly Responding
    It can also be tempting to simply ignore any negative comments. Ignoring these may show that you do not really care about your customers' concerns. You will lose trust of customers and this will negatively affect your brand image. When a world famous brand like Nestle did not address negative comments about its environmental practices, people started becoming aggressive and posted altered versions of the Nestle logo. This forced the company to close down their public page.
  • Mistake 3: Attacking or Defensively Responding
    Negative comments or online bashing can be quite upsetting. Keeping calm and not firing back could be the best way to deal with this situation. Never attack the customer, get defensive or undermine the legitimacy of the complaint. No matter how small or big, customers and their concerns should always be important to your business.

    In the recent past, the Dark Horse Cafe received a tweet where a customer criticized the lack of electrical outlets in the cafe. The Cafe responded, "We are in the coffee business and not in the office business. We have plenty of outlets to do what we need." This kind of defensive response never works. Many blogs reported this as a negative public relations case.

    If you attack or act defensively on a customer's complaint, it can lead to more problems and the situation can quickly become a PR nightmare.
  • Mistake 4: Countering a Negative Review with Fake Positive Reviews
    Many times, companies try to take attention from a negative review by posting fake positive reviews without realizing the huge risk of being caught and being publicly shamed. Web filters easily identify fake reviews and so do consumers. According to CIO News, Samsung was fined $340,000 when they hired writers and two marketing firms to post fake reviews. Samsung wrote positive reviews for its products and negative ones for its competitors' products. If fake reviews are revealed, the company can instantly loose its credibility with customers.
  • Mistake 5: Taking legal action
    A collection of bad reviews or a negative website created by an angry customer can have a serious impact on your business. Generating leads and retaining customers can become a challenge. Handling this situation by taking your customers to the court, however, can open a Pandora's Box for you. One negative review might still be buried over time but a court case can keep going on and will bring more negative publicity to your company. The fact that you sued a customer, no matter how genuine your case is, will not prove to be good for your company's reputation. Taking this step might seem unavoidable, but should be kept as a last resort.

    Today's customers rely on the Internet to find products and services they need. They use social media and review platforms to form an opinion about the businesses they find. Businesses, no matter how big or small, need to manage their online reputation. Avoid these five common mistakes to keep your online reputation in check. Take a proactive and controlled approach to confront online reputation disasters head on.

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