How social networks can damage your online reputation
On social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, customers can write reviews, tag businesses in photos, and share news stories and opinions with their friends, all of which build or break a company’s online reputation.
The danger is that customers are more likely to complain publically about a negative experience than to give praise for good customer service. Walter Halicki, reputation management expert at JW Maxx Solutions, has some warnings and recommendations for businesses trying to establish or promote their online reputation via social networking sites. “Websites like Facebook and Twitter don’t represent public opinion, especially when it comes to user comments. Comments are mostly off topic and posted by trolls,” Halicki says. Trolls are internet users who post offensive, inaccurate, or pointless content in public forums. Here are a few things that you can do to keep yourself protected.
- Monitor your page’s activity. Your business’s page is a place for customers to share their experiences. This is wonderful for you if your customers are posting positive reviews, but terrible if they are telling stories of negative experiences. In a world of “the customer is always right,” it does not matter what your side of the story is. All that matters is that embarrassing story or picture that is on your Facebook page. On Twitter, watch your hashtags. A poignant or witty tweet can go viral with blinding speed, bringing your reputation with it for good or ill.
- Give customers incentives to give you positive publicity. Complaints and negative comments will occur, but you can drown them out with positive posts. Many companies find that giveaways for “liking” pages, retweeting posts, or sharing favorite experiences pay for themselves many times over in the increased revenue they receive when their customers give them positive PR.
- Don’t forget your offline reputation. The more customers there are who are happy with your service, the less you will have to worry about negative reviews, and the more you can count on positive recommendations.
- Hire a reputation management expert. Walter Halicki of JW Maxx Solutions says, “You are in business to provide services to your customers, not to spend all day on Facebook and Twitter. Let an expert manage your online reputation, and you will be able to focus on what you do best: taking care of your customers.” Companies such as JW Maxx Solutions offer online reputation services which will improve your ratings and increase your revenue.
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