You can probably guess most of the search results, which would include your social media sites, your blog, your website, etc. But have you ever thought of checking for other information that was not put there by you?
In the world of “sharing” and “liking”, it’s not always a thumbs-up situation. This is particularly relevant for businesses, whose success relies heavily on reputation, because that reputation can be easily destroyed online. Imagine you have just finished a business meeting with a potential new client, hoping to secure your next deal. Then, later in the day, the client does a search on Google to learn more about you and your business and comes across a few blogs and forums with negative posts about your business. If this happens, there’s a good possibility that you won’t be hearing from that client again.
More than one third of millennials believe their online first impression is more important than their in-person introduction. That statement is definitely arguable, but it has its merits. The bottom line is, especially in the world of business, you need to know what people are saying about you online, and where it’s being said. Some websites are specifically designed for complaints, reviews, and consumer feedback (both good and bad), and social media has become a major tool for people to express their opinions on anything and everything. In any case, the bigger the online presence, the greater a risk it becomes. Even if you’re a company that provides great customer service, there’s always going to be those complainers.
Don’t give up just yet. Although you won’t be able to remove comments made by others on the Internet, there are still many different ways to run damage control.
The worst thing you can do is nothing. You should always be active and respond to any posts or comments directed towards your company, regardless of whether they’re good or bad. For the positive ones, show your professionalism and thank them. For the negative ones, defend yourself, justify your actions, or even apologize if you need to. As long as these things are done in a professional manner, audiences can be more forgiving than you’d think when you’re actually responding to their issues.
You must also ensure to monitor these things frequently. You can use free online tools like Google Alerts that will send you an email every time Google finds a new mention of a particular keyword in search results. For instance, if your business is called ABC Records, then this would be the keyword term that you want to be alerted for.