ORM 101: How to Handle Negative Online Reviews To Your Brand Like a Pro

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ORM 101: How to Handle Negative Online Reviews To Your Brand Like a Pro

When you have a brand, it’s a must to be omnipresent in most online channels. When all is good and going smoothly, being “everywhere” almost always guarantees a winning advantage - customers can locate you and your reach expands in effect. Not when you suddenly find your brand the object of negative online reviews. Whether by negligence, accident, or something else, maintaining a positive reputation is important, with all the prevalence of social media and review platforms.

Challenging as it is, the effects of negative feedback to your business can irreversibly tarnish your brand’s identity and reputation. This SEO Premier blog provides you with actionable steps and wise advice to navigate online reputation management 101 like a pro:

Take time to assess the situation, but respond promptly

Before taking any action, it's important to assess the situation objectively. Are the negative reviews isolated incidents or part of a larger trend? Determine whether there are genuine issues with your product or service that need to be addressed or if the criticism is unfounded.

Once you have thoroughly reviewed the incident, demonstrate that you value customer feedback by taking a proactive stance in resolving the issue. Reach out and write personalised responses that acknowledge the customer's concerns, apologise for any inconvenience caused, and offer a solution or compensation if needed. Avoid generic “robotic” responses as they can come across as insincere - It’ll only pour gasoline to the fire!

Stay calm and objective

Parrying negative reviews can be emotionally draining, especially if they feel unjustified. However, it's essential to remain calm and objective when addressing them. Avoid getting defensive or engaging in arguments with disgruntled customers. Instead, focus on finding constructive solutions to their complaints.

If it’s a particularly sensitive incident, consider seeking professional help in the person of a ‘crisis manager’ or an expert in public relations. These people have the experience and tools to assess the situation objectively, develop strategies for damage control, and rebuild your brand's image.

Address the root cause of the problem

While addressing individual negative reviews is essential, it's equally important to address any underlying issues that may be contributing to negative feedback. Conduct thorough investigations to identify recurring problems and take corrective actions to prevent them from recurring in the future. Remember that an incident can just be a symptom of a larger problem. Focus on eliminating the true root cause before it further causes harm to your brand’s reputation.

Monitor your Online Channels Regularly

Stay vigilant about what people are saying about your brand online. Set up Google Alerts or use social listening tools to monitor mentions of your brand across various platforms. This proactive approach allows you to address issues as soon as they arise and prevent them from escalating.

Once you’re out of the social media firestorm, try using SEO to push down negative search results and highlight positive content about your brand. Create high-quality, engaging content such as blog posts, articles, and videos that showcase your brand's strengths and values. Optimise this content with relevant keywords to improve its visibility in search engine results.

If it yields positive results, do more by utilising social proof. Leverage the growing changing perception about your brand by highlighting social proof to boost your brand’s credibility and trustworthiness. Publish ringing customer testimonials, awards, and endorsements prominently on your website and social media profiles. Continue doing this and in the future, it will help counteract the impact of previous negative reviews about the business.

Moreover, you can ethically bury negative comments by actively soliciting positive feedback from delighted customers. Encourage them to share their experiences on review platforms or social media channels.

Learn Ruthlessly and Improve Continually

The best restitution is a changed behaviour, or in this case, changed business practices! You might not make sense of it at the time but negative reviews, while unpleasant, provide valuable insights into areas where your business can improve. Take this feedback as an opportunity to learn and grow. Implement changes based on customer feedback to enhance the quality of your products or services continually.

Managing negative reviews online requires a combination of both common-sensical and expert strategies. By following the steps above, you can address and mitigate the impacts of negative feedback to your brand’s reputation. Remember that every interaction with a customer, whether positive and negative, is an opportunity to strengthen trust around your business. Take that golden opportunity every chance you get.

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