One of the constitutional rights citizens of this country have is freedom of speech, and it is something that people hold dearly. The problem with it is, however, that thanks to the internet, people can say what they want, where they want, about who they want, and be protected under the right to free speech. This means that they can leave terribly negative comments about individuals and businesses, and face no repercussions. The businesses or individuals, meanwhile, will need to use the services of a reputation management firm in the hopes of recovering.
Local Reviews – A Blessing or a Curse?
As soon as something is online, it has global availability. However, Google is keen to focus on local economies, which means that there is a strong focus on local exposure as well. If you can get local people to speak favorably about your business, you are likely to attract many new customers. Of course, you cannot guarantee that everybody will say good things about your business. In fact, you should be prepared for a couple of negative reviews as well. The question is, however, how damaging these negative reviews are for your business, which all depends on the circumstances around it.
Where Reputation Management Comes in
Online reviews are a huge part of online businesses. They are also totally unpredictable. This is why reputation management is now strongly about managing local reviews as well. Some of the things that reputation management firms will do for you include:
- Checking what comes up under your name in a Google search.
- Monitoring the most important local review websites.
- Regularly requesting local customers leave feedback.
If you find that there is a negative review, you will need to decide whether you need to acknowledge this or no. If there is just a single negative review, it is clearly libelous, and you have a lot of positive reviews, you could simply ignore it. But most of the time, you will have to take action, not in the least because your competition can use the negative review to take customers away from you.
Why Reputation Management Is so Important
You need to build a reputation on your local market that is positive. This means providing a product or service that the local market needs, after which you can market this product or service online. From this moment onwards, you need to start managing your reputation. You have to make an effort to attract positive feedback, as this will help to build your credibility and trust. This is a positive cycle: good products generate positive reviews, which generates more customers, who generate more positive reviews, and so on.
However, the opposite is also true. A negative review can be hugely damaging to your business, particularly since it is so easy for people to voice their opinion. Not just that, people are a lot more vocal when they are unhappy. You must, at all times, keep your eyes on the ball, therefore, and address problems before they escalate.