As a builder, it’s important to maintain a good-standing reputation online. Reputation management is a relatively new concept that has largely been elevated by the increase of people accessing the internet and social media. If you think people are talking about you online, they are. It’s important to understand the ways to positively influence and control your reputation in the public domain, as well as know the ethical grey areas that include tactics like censoring negative comments, spamming review sites and using search engine optimization schemes to influence results. Rise above the fray and use these tips to influence your clients and potential customers in a positive and ethical way.
Respond quickly. It’s a fast-moving world, so you should consider employing a professional media advisor, public relations firm or allocate an internal employee to monitor your reputation online. For example, Angie’s List can influence your business greatly depending on your reputation on the site as it’s hugely popular for home buyers and owners who are seeking professional help. Negative reviews left unchecked can spread quickly and damage your reputation as a builder. By responding quickly, you help ensure that your business is well-represented to anyone reading the original review.
Don’t delete comments unless you must. Deleting a negative comment or review is not a good business practice. There are exceptions—if a comment is racist, offensive or contains foul language, by all means take it down or request that it be removed. It may not always feel like it, but negative comments can often turn into positive ones. According to a recent survey, 1 out of every 3 customers who receive a response to their complaint end up re-posting a positive review, and 34 percent delete their negative review entirely.
Always be professional, online and offline. Online conflicts can escalate very quickly. You can ask Southwest airlines, whose reputation suffered through a bombardment of online attacks after it kicked film director Kevin Smith off one of its airplanes. Smith then started live-Tweeting the incident to his 2.7 million followers. If someone is bashing you online, your best response is to take the conversation offline as quickly as possible and deal with the complaint one-on-one.
Create a presence on all available and appropriate channels. Part of your online presence should include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts as well as industry specific sites such as Houzz.