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How to Fix Your Businesses Online Reputation

By BlogNo Comments

Has your business or your brand recently received negative reviews that have caused your reputation to plummet? Look no further. This article is a great guide if you find yourself in this situation.

Everyone knows that one of the most important things for your business-and your brand-is your reputation. In addition to your reputation, it is also imperative that you have a positive response when faced with negative feedback and controversy online.

Even large, well-established corporations face obstacles while trying to maintain a positive reputation. During this age of social media, where posting takes seconds and negative reviews spread like wildfire, it is important to understand that one social media post has the opportunity to change the perspective of your brand within minutes.

While it is true that reputation will plummet faster than it takes to be fixed, it is important to take your time while planning out your next steps and consulting the right company if you find yourself in this situation.

Constantly Monitor your Brand

It is important to stay on top of monitoring the feedback that your brand receives. Even if your reputation is a good one, you should actively be taking steps to minimize the possibility of a negative review adversely affecting your reputation.

This may be accomplished through the hiring of a reputation management company like Repute PR.  Our reputation management professionals are able to monitor the mentions of your name or your company online and alert you and your company to any negative press you may receive.

One of the best ways to monitor your brand is to look at the search engine results pages (SERP) and utilize Google Autocomplete. This service helps you look out for negative stories and reviews and take a more proactive approach to maintain your brand’s reputation. If you discover negative reviews, you can use Google Analytics to look at your site’s traffic.  This data may guide you to the possible issues.

Address Complaints As Quickly As Possible

When looking through your reviews, it is important that you address complaints in a timely manner.

Some social media users expect a response in under an hour, and most expect a response in under 24 hours. Statistics also show that unhappy customers will share their experience with up to 15 people. These statistics demonstrate how extremely important it is to respond quickly and effectively–working with customers to help solve the issues at hand.

A negative post on social media has the opportunity to reach a large population in a small amount of time, so your response must address the complaint, show sympathy,  and effectively try to change the person’s perception of your company.

While these comments have the power to hurt your reputation, you should never delete the complaints. If you delete someone’s complaint or question, you are at risk of tarnishing your brand’s reputation.

A useful tip is to make sure that you are regularly checking your customer support email. If you have an influx of messages from angry customers, you should have your support team analyze the comments and save them to a document or spreadsheet.

This will allow you to organize the comments and reviews and will help you identify the common traits among the complaints. You must reply to these customers during this process. Communication should be your number one priority.

Plan Your Strategy for Social Media

It is important to brainstorm ideas and strategies to address any negative situations the comments identify. Often, a company will respond immediately before giving thought to its message.  This may do more harm than good. Sometimes, it is more beneficial to post a statement immediately after a situation, but it really depends on the particular case.

Often, it is better to wait to really think about what you want to say and to let the public cool down a bit. You should work with your team to assess the damage that may be caused by the statement and identify the outcome you are looking for from your response.

According to Entrepreneur, the hardest part of this process is understanding the pre-work and after-effects of communicating with the media.

If you find yourself in this type of situation, you should work on improving your image through your actions rather than with just words.  Hiring a reputation management company can help you gain insight and perspective into the situation.

One technique that some reputation management companies may utilize is hiring a trusted journalist to tell the story to the public in the way that you want it to be portrayed.

Think About Your Company Values

What is one of the most important values that people look for in a company? Trust! Your customers’ trust is imperative to being a successful company. So, regaining your customers trust has to be a priority.

Responding to your customers in the most appropriate way is necessary to regain their trust and fix your reputation as a business and as a brand. Even if you are able to regain customers’ trust after your crisis, it is not the time to relax.

After experiencing relief from a crisis, it is essential that your company exemplifies the core beliefs that are stated in its mission. Your company should be especially focusing on the feedback from the past and becoming the best possible version of your brand.

This is a great moment to share with your customers all the progress your company has made over the years and your commitment to the issues and beliefs your company stands for. Repute PR is a great resource when it comes to managing your company and thinking about its reputation and our professionals are available to help you manage your online reputation.

Think About the Future of the Company

Now that you have successfully gotten past the crisis, what should you do?

In order to maintain the future of your brand, you need to plan and think about the reputation you want to uphold and how you are going to sustain it. It is necessary to evaluate the crisis and see what you can do differently.

Establish a plan with your reputation management company to address future issues.  That way, you and your company are ready if another issue were to comes along. Another important step is to have a concrete plan in place to ensure that something like that does not happen again.

Tips for Expanding Your Business Online

By BlogNo Comments

“The only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

– Mark Zuckerberg, founder, Facebook

It now seems that anything you could ever desire can now be purchased online and shipped to your front door.  Now more than ever, online shopping is relevant and trendy, many people opting to do most, if not all, of their shopping online. 

Many small businesses, however, are being left behind in this age of the internet, and those not yet ready to take the steps to expand their online presence will lose out on a lot of money they could be making.

Whether you are simply growing your brand or planning to sell your products or services online, the internet can be a great tool for expanding your business.

But there is a lot more to going online besides getting a website and putting up content or an online store. 

Here are some tips for expanding your business online. 

Choose the Right Platforms for Website

Creating your website can be one of the most important steps when expanding your business online. But before you can create a stunning website that’s sure to draw your audience in, you need to make the important decision of which platform to use for your website. 

Some platforms cost more money or are not intuitive to use, so making sure you do research and pick the right platform for you and your business’s needs is vital. 

You also want to make sure you pick the right hosting company with an affordable plan that suits your business’s individual needs. 

If you are unsure where to start, Repute PR can help you build a stunning website that will fit your brand’s specific needs.

Web Design is Important

Now that you’ve decided on a platform and web host for your website, you have to create and design it. 

You don’t need a website that is professionally designed, although it may look stunning, as that can cost a lot of money that small business owners can’t afford. When starting out online, using ready-made themes, which many platforms offer, can save time, money, and look very attractive. 

Website design is about more than just looking aesthetic. It’s about functionality, making sure your website is easy to navigate, making sure there is a balance between minimalism and clutter, with not too much empty space, but not so full that it feels claustrophobic. 

You also want to be selective about color themes, graphics, and the overall layout of the site’s functions. 

Even more important perhaps, is making sure your website looks and functions as good on the computer as it does when viewed on mobile devices. Many people use their phones and other mobile devices to surf the web, and you want to make sure when they look at your website that it looks good and is easy to navigate, or else they won’t stick around. 

Use Social Media

Social media is a great way to build your brand without spending any money. There are tons of different social media platforms to choose from and creating profiles on most of them is free and easy. 

You can use your social media accounts to share your website’s blog posts or bring awareness to your brand through engaging content.

It’s important to know who your target consumers are, as different audiences gravitate towards different platforms. Facebook is most commonly used by women ages 30-50, whereas TikTok is most commonly used by both men and women ages 18-29. You can look up the demographics of different social media platforms online and make your decision on which ones to use based on that information. 

Create Content

This goes for both your website’s blog, and your business’s social media accounts, but creating engaging content for your audiences is a great way to expand and promote your business online.

When creating content, you need to focus on engagement, consistency, and quality. 

You want your audiences to engage with the content you create, which can be done by creating polls, quizzes, and contests. Interacting with your audiences can help make them feel like they matter, and that they are interacting with your business on a more personal level. 

Putting out content consistently is also important. On social media, things move fast, so often you need to put out content daily to keep up and remain relevant. When creating blog posts and other such content, you may not have to post as often, but making sure you are consistent about how much you put out in a certain amount of time is key to keeping your audiences reading and engaged. 

If you need help staying relevant and keeping up with the fast-paced world of the internet, Repute PR can help you to develop and distribute new content about your brand and your accomplishments with their Targeted Media Campaign Package

Lastly, you want to create quality content, by avoiding turning your posts into commercials to sell your product, as that can be a turn-off for most audiences. You instead want to focus on creating content that is relevant to your business, adding in “calls to action” that were at all relevant, and keeping your content organic and personable. 

Manage Your Brand’s Reputation Online

 

“Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealised, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character and no public trust.” 

-Richard Branson

With the rise of social media, blogs, review websites, and other such digital platforms, keeping a good reputation for your company and brand is all the more important, especially when expanding online.

Social media can help you to connect with your audiences, and build their trust, but it can also be used by others to slander and spread rumors and bad reviews about your brand, which can greatly reduce the number of people who buy your product or service, and can influence people’s opinions when looking up your brand online.

It can be difficult to manage your brand’s reputation online, so many businesses turn to reputation management services to help bear the burden of maintaining a clean and healthy reputation.

Reputation management services, like Repute PR, can help you build your brand, showcase your successes in the nation’s leading news publications, suppress “bad news” in the media, control what shows up when people look your brand up online, and even recruit loyal customers to give praise to your brand through online reviews.

If you are interested in the services a reputation management company can provide, then contact Repute PR, to find out everything they can do for you and your brand. 

Use SEO

Creating great content is important, but if nobody is visiting your website, then it doesn’t matter. 

Search engine optimization has become a very relevant topic in the world of content creation, and if your website is not optimized for search engines, it can be hard for your audiences to find your website at all. 

Results found on page two of Google are 75% less likely to be clocked on than results featured on the first page, and 18% of people searching are likely to click on the top result, which means your website is doomed unless you can get it higher on the results page. 

There are tons of resources online that can help you learn how to optimize your website for search engines, but if you don’t have the time to invest in learning SEO, then hiring a professional to help might be a good idea.

Repute PR can help you with SEO, powering up your visibility and ensuring you are at the top of the results online with their SEO Juice Pack.

Make it Easy for Users to Contact You

If you want to bring in more customers online, then it is a good idea to have a simple and easy way for visitors to your website to contact you. If visitors to your website have a difficult time figuring out how to get a hold of you, they may get frustrated or feel that your company doesn’t care about them. 

You want to make contact information readily available all over your website and even on your social media, making sure it is highly visible and easy to find. 

Be aware that if you are putting down your contact information but are not responsive to those various forms of contact, then you could be putting your business’s reputation at risk, so make sure you use contact information for emails and phone numbers that are going to be monitored and responsive.

Another way to make it easy for users to contact you is by using contact forms, which can greatly increase the fluidity and ease of contacting you on your website without having to go to a separate tab or pull out their phone. 

Build Email Lists

Many of the users who visit your site will never come back again, meaning that if you do not get their email addresses, then there will be no way to contact them in the future. 

An easy and cost-effective way of keeping in contact with users even after they have left your site is through their email, so building an email list is crucial. With access to their direct inbox, you will be able to announce content, services, and products, ask for feedback and increase engagement across all of your online channels. 

An easy way to start an email list is by offering something for free to your potential users and consumers, asking for an email address in return. This free thing could be a product, a coupon for your products, or a free trial of some service you offer. 

Improve Site Speed and Performance

In a study conducted by Microsoft, it was found that people could only focus on one thing for the span of 12 seconds in 2000, dropping to 8 seconds 15 years later, meaning that the attention span of the average person is decreasing. 

This means that your website has very little time to show visitors what your business and site have to offer them in order to convince them to stay. 

In another study conducted by Aberdeen Group, they found that “A 1-second delay in page load time equals 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and 7% loss in conversions.”

Because of this, it has never been more important to improve the speed and performance of your website. 

Depending on the platform your website is on, there may be tools to help this process, and there are tools online to check the speed of your website as well to make sure it is running fast. 

Focus on Your Target Audience

You wouldn’t want to be catering to an audience of middle-aged women if your product or service is for adolescent men. You also wouldn’t want to be catering to the entire world when your product or service is niche and mostly purchased by a specific audience. 

You need to have a good idea of who your target audience is, that way you can better focus and cater to them. Although you may have some consumers who are outside of the target audience, it is better, and more profitable, to focus on who your majority of consumers are. 

Once you know who your target audience is, you can use this information to better create content that will interest them, use social media platforms that they use, and advertise on sites and in ways that would attract them. 

Partner and Network With Other Brands

A great way to increase your profits, as well as your audience and potential consumers, is to network or partner with other brands. 

Reaching out to complementary businesses and brands who are in your industry, but not necessarily competing with the same buyers, can help to get your brand out in front of consumers who may not even be aware of your brand yet. 

For example, a wireless network operating company could team up with a smartphone company, each promoting the other’s products or services as complimentary for their own.

By partnering with complementary brands, you can piggyback off their consumer base, so long as you are also promoting their brand as well. It needs to be a symbiotic relationship, otherwise, it won’t work. 

Reach out to Influencers

With the rise of social media, there are a surprising number of influencers out there, each on their own platform, from famous and influential YouTubers, to up-and-coming TikTok stars. 

You can reach out to these influencers, either to offer sponsorship if you can afford to, or to offer a free product or service you provide, in return for them reviewing it on their channel, or mentioning your brand to their audience. 

There are loads of videos on YouTube that are unboxing products sent by companies they are working with, and having influencers create engaging and fun content using your brand, products, or services, can not only help expand your audience but also show the quality of your brand. 

You can reach out to creators directly, or via Facebook for Creators, and start working with influencers, but depending on how big their audience is, it may cost more to work with or sponsor them. 

How to Manage and Repair Your Business’s Online Reputation

By BlogNo Comments

The internet is a vast network of positive and negative information. We use it every day, but we tend to brush over how enormous it has actually become, and in a place with more than 1 billion sites, making an impression can be difficult. So let’s go over how you, as a business owner, can get your foot in the door. 

Developing an Online Presence 

Developing an online presence requires techniques from digital marketing. It happens largely through three things: a website, social media, and content creation

Step One: A Website 

The first step towards a concrete online presence is a website. Having a website gives you a home base to reach out to sponsors, draw in customers, and show your product to the eyes of the world. Of course, you are free to customize, but there are a couple of principles of good web design that you should keep in mind.

A good website will have a clean design that reflects your company’s product. For example, if you sell hiking gear, it’s probably best not to design your site around images of Los Angeles. Stick to a scheme that reflects the kind of service you offer, and if you have a logo, build off of it. 

A simple design also ensures that your website is easy to navigate. Too often, customers open a site, only to find that the button they’re looking for is hidden somewhere deep in the pages. Your website’s home page should give easy access to the basics of what people want to know: 

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • How to contact you

The homepage of your website is like an elevator pitch to the visitor, but you have around 2 seconds to catch their interest. You don’t need to include all of your information on the first page, but make it easily accessible from there. Make those 2 seconds count. 

Creating a visually appealing and intuitive website that can catch the attention of your viewers may seem overwhelming, and if you feel like you don’t know where to start, then Repute PR might be able to help you with your website building needs.

Step Two: Social Media 

Once you have a website, it’s time to publicize it through social media. Places like Facebook, Instagram, and even TikTok have become increasingly popular marketing tools among companies.

The usual route is to take out paid advertisements through places like Google Ads, but more recently, businesses have taken to creating social media accounts themselves—this option is great because it comes at no additional cost to you. 

When using social media as a platform for self-promotion, it’s important to consider your target market. Facebook tends to draw older users, perhaps with families and established jobs already. Instagram is largely used by people between 15 and 35; TikTok usually indulges younger generations, up through college students. 

Social media is a great way to bulk up your website’s following, so it’s important not to include too many details when using it. People scroll through social media as a way to relax—providing an excess of information can feel overwhelming and actually drive them away from your page. Instead, stick to the basics of what you can provide, use visually interesting images, and link your website (either in a post or in your profile) so people can find out more information for themselves. 

Step Three: Content Creation 

Good work! You’ve established a website and a social media page. Now, you need to fill them with something. That’s where content creation comes in. 

Website Content: On a website, your best option is blogging. Besides being a way for you to show your product, websites let you keep in touch with your customers and tell them about your progress. You can also use a blog to provide information about your field to your customers. 

You have a wide variety of options here: you could answer commonly asked questions or stick to a list-style article. For example, if you sell hiking gear, your website could host a blog with posts like, “What should you never bring on a hike?” or “The 10 Best Hidden Trails in the US.”

Blogging is also a great option because it increases traffic to your website. Instead of just being a business, you’ve now become a source of information and entertainment to your visitors, and this will help boost your ranking on a search engine result page. 

Social Media Content: On social media, you’re almost required to have more fun. People turn to social media for fast-paced entertainment, so your content needs to conform to that. A great way to do this is to follow trends but with your product in mind. And it’s okay if things get humorous here. 

A company that’s done a great job with social media is Ryanair, an Irish airline. Though getting bad press in Europe because of their low-cost style, Ryanair’s image has soared online due to their TikTok profile. They follow popular trends but do everything with airplanes—and the comedy that creates has garnered them millions of views on their videos. 

If you don’t consider yourself particularly social-media-savvy, it could help to start with a trend watch, and you’ll begin to get a feel for what kind of content your business can create. 

Maintaining an Online Presence 

Though creating a website or social media platform may be a one-time thing, you need to consistently update your content and marketing strategy to maintain your online presence. There are three main ways to do this: customer engagement, revisiting content, and getting in the news

Method One: Customer Engagement

On the bottom of Dunkin’ receipts, there’s often a QR code. If you scan it, it brings you to a survey about your customer experience at that particular Dunkin’ store. It gives you the opportunity to voice any complaints, but it also allows you to say you enjoyed your experience. That’s what customer engagement is all about. 

Customer engagement is particularly important online due to the fast-paced style of the internet. Consistently getting traffic to your website will help you stay afloat in the long run, especially as you’re continuing to build your brand. 

It also helps to build rapport between you and your customers. People like to feel in control of their experiences, and if you provide them with the option to give you feedback, they’ll be grateful for the trust they can build with your business. 

But the satisfaction survey is not the only way you can give your customers a say. Many small businesses turn to raffles and giving away some of their products as a way to hold publicity and make their customers share their content. Let’s go back to our hiking gear business to see how this might play out. 

You’ve noticed that a particular water bottle you sell is a customer favorite. So, on social media, you advertise that you are doing a giveaway of five water bottles! Of course, your company is able to afford not getting profits from those 5 bottles—otherwise, this deal would not work in your favor. But you say that to enter the giveaway, one must like the post and tag two friends. 

People who want the bottle will do these two things because they’re simple enough to do, and it garners traction for your site. You choose five lucky winners from those that participated, your company gets boosted online, and your customers are happy that you’ve engaged them. It’s a win on all sides. 

Method Two: Revisiting Content

You’ve spent a lot of time developing content to establish yourself on the web, so it’s not surprising that you need to keep doing it to keep your place. Of course, fresh topics, like your newest product launch, or a new sustainability initiative your company is taking, are great things to write about. But there’s no harm in revisiting topics you’ve already discussed (and it’s less work, too!). 

Editing and republishing old articles on a blog is a great way to boost your rankings in the eyes of the internet algorithms. Fresh traffic to an older yet revised page tells search engines that your content is consistently needed by readers. This is what’s called evergreen content, and it’s a resource you can continually use. 

Revisiting old posts is also a good way to do site maintenance. Sometimes links or images get removed, in which case your article is left with its most important source leading to an error page. Or perhaps, you might find a post that is no longer true, in which case revision is welcome. 

Finally, it sends a message to your customers. It is correcting data, updating links, and revising sentences that show you pay attention to how this website is presented to them. It’s all about the customer experience, and doing this shows them you care about it. 

Method Three: Get in the News

Easier said than done; it would seem. But it might be the solution both you and a journalist are looking for. 

Like business blog writers, personal blog writers and journalists are always looking for topics to cover, although their content tends to be more topical than evergreen. So if you reach out to them and say you have a topic, they’ll often be more than willing to hear you out. 

Good times to contact the media are when you’re doing something completely new. Things that are big changes for your business, like releasing a new line of products, starting a new political initiative, or hiring a new group of people, will be fresh stories that they are more likely to pick up on. 

Start by looking for local or online-based writers, and get a feel for their style of content. It would be difficult to pitch a story about new hiking boot technology to a journalist who writes about French politics. It will also help you, once you do contact them, to be familiar with their work because this establishes rapport. 

Whether you call or email, there are five basic steps to follow when contacting a journalist

  1. Who and what: establish why you’re contacting them. 
  2. If you’re on the phone, ask if it’s a good time: journalists have a lot on their plates, so respecting what time they’re able to meet is a good first step in. 
  3. Why them: tell them you know their work, and that is why you think they’d be a good fit for your story. 
  4. The story itself: pitch your idea! What’s so special about your new product line or initiative?
  5. Ask if they’re interested: if they are, great! If not, don’t take it personally, thank them for their time, and move on to the next one. 

Contacting the media is an interesting process because you often don’t know whether you’ve been successful until the words “yes” or “no” come out of their mouth, but getting in touch with journalists is a crucial way to expand your customer base. 

Sounds like a lot? An incredible amount of work goes into growing and maintaining a business reputation. So much so, in fact, that there are companies who can do it for you

The Benefits of a PR Company 

Working with a PR company allows you to focus on actually building your business. They have teams that can more intricately follow these techniques and even used more advanced ones, like whisper campaigns and SEO writing. But they can be expensive when you’re just starting out—so when do you know you’re ready to work with a PR company? Is it worth getting one?

Repute PR states that their three-step process of reputation management is to tidy it up, broadcast it, and then protect it. For these three steps to work, they mostly need to build off of a reputation you’ve already created. So it’s best to follow the steps outlined above to give yourself a reputation to work on until you feel that it’s concrete enough to be improved. 

But once you reach that point, it is absolutely worth investing in a PR company. The third step of Repute PR’s “Formula” is to protect your reputation—that isn’t something you can easily do on your own. Reputations are built over long periods of time, but they can be damaged by an unseen event in a matter of days. 

Working with a company like Repute PR ensures that you don’t have to worry about that. We specifically have a crisis management team that can take matters into their own hands if you run into unexpected trouble. The relief of being able to focus on what you’re putting out, instead of what everyone on the internet thinks about you, is definitely worth exploring as a business owner. 

What methods have you used to grow an online reputation?

How to Increase the Number of Google Searches your Business Gets

By BlogNo Comments

Improving your business’s position on the Google search engine takes optimization, time, and strategy. It helps in finding new customers, attracting local businesses, boosting your online reputation, and ultimately increases leads and sales.

A dedicated team like the professional reputation managers at Repute PR can help you accomplish these goals.  It is up to you and your PR team to put the effort into driving more traffic to your website by targeting the following key areas:

Keywords

The words and phrases that are typed into your Google search box are the words associated with the websites that come up after you press “enter.” These websites are ranked based on the relevance to the keywords, the reliability of their content, and their structure.

With that said, you need to include the right keywords in the right places within your business content that target what your potential customers are searching for. Using commonly searched words on your website will make your business more likely to rank higher on Google.

You can use a keyword rank checker to learn about your site’s usage and gauge your audience’s search patterns to know where to improve. Looking at social media conversations is also a helpful way to gather personas and see what language your customers use to talk about your business.

Using these target words and phrases will additionally help build trust between you and your customers, which also plays a role in Google ranking. Optimizing informational keywords in a language your audience understands makes your customers realize that your website is there to educate them rather than to show off, which will increase visits back to your site. 

Backlinks

Getting a high authority and trusted website to link your business is essential in placing high in Google rankings because it exposes your content to a new audience, increases your site’s credibility, and brings in traffic.

In order to achieve this factor, you need to focus on building your network and creating mutually benefitting relationships with local or similar businesses, in addition to newspapers, blogs, and directories.

Contact Repute PR to get your success in the news. The more eyes you can get on your site, the more likely other writers will link it in theirs. 

Quality Content

Giving searchers the most relevant and useful information is the most obvious yet important step in maintaining a high Google ranking. Not only is it about stuffing your site with keywords, but proving yourself worthy of that keyword over time.

The relevance to certain keywords, as well as the reliability of that content, is how your site can gain value and have users stay on your site longer. Build your site over time and keep it fresh with new and in-depth content. In other words, don’t let your site get stale.

Continually improving your content and growing the number of resources your site provides will help you get to the top of Google search results, and Repute PR can help your company achieve this through our digital marketing services.     

Local Search

Setting up local listings for your business through Google My Business helps obtain more backlists that will rank your business higher in local results and bring more customers to you.

As a local business, using geographic keywords in page titles, links, and your content strategy is essential to let Google know that you are prominent in that location.

It is not only important to generate a local listing in the first place but to keep your listing up to date, accurate, and active to get a higher ranking business. Concentrating on niche topics is also a good way for your business to stand out of the crowd, not because you meet more needs but because you meet a special need. 

Mobile Responsiveness

In today’s digital world, nearly 60% of searches are from mobile devices. With that in mind, Google now factors mobile responsiveness into its ranking criteria. If your website doesn’t comply with mobile use, a large section of your audience will be missed.

Ensuring that your customers can perform any task on the mobile version that they could on their desktop is key to maximizing Google searches, considering the majority of people who surf the internet on their mobile devices.

To go along with optimizing mobile use, it is important for your site to optimize speed as well. Having a slow site can jeopardize your Google ranking and drive customers away, which is why you should continuously try to improve your site’s performance by making image files smaller and streamline your web content

Positive Reviews

Getting your site featured in top Google reviews is helpful to establish trust between potential customers who are reading about your business.

85% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, which goes to show that your company’s best marketers are your existing customers.

Glowing reviews of your site can help in boosting your online reputation and ranking higher on Google searches for reliability, so it is important to ask your loyal customers to put in a good word.

Repute PR can also help you and your business foster these customer relations and gather essential reviews to feature on your website.

This way, Google searchers can come across your name with a pre-existing notion that your website is relevant enough for them to want to search up again. Keeping Google reviews positive is essential for your business, and you can find out more on how to get rid of the negative here. 

What to Do When Ex-Employees Damage Your Reputation

By UncategorizedNo Comments

Everybody likes positive feedback. It’s just the way humans work. So, naturally, negative feedback can be a bit nerve-wracking. Especially if you’re a business owner, and it’s coming from an ex-employee. But fret not: there are ways to save your reputation, and here is a step-by-step guide to help you.

How Does It Happen?

Threats to your reputation can come in a variety of ways, but mainly they happen online. After all, that’s the quickest way for your ex-employee to get their opinion heard. 

So on what kind of sites might they put their thoughts? 

The easiest option is to leave bad reviews of your business on websites like Yelp. Before trying new restaurants, for example, people often flock to the Yelp page of their place of choice to determine whether it’s worth going. A bad review here will immediately push away potential customers.

If your business isn’t on Yelp, they might simply resort to Google reviews instead. The first thing that comes up when searching a business on Google is the location, the hours, and two to three reviews.

Often, Google will select two good reviews and one bad or mediocre one, just to highlight all opinions—if your ex-employee’s review is displayed on the front page of your business’s Google search, you’re already two steps behind. 

Another place ex-employees might turn to is social media. Twitter, especially, is known for getting information around as quickly as possible—should your ex-employee put their opinion there, it will instantaneously be circled around to your potential clients. 

A subtle advantage of social media is the people behind the usernames. While a Google review is seen by many, social media allows other people to circulate your ex-employee’s post and even respond to it.

Word gets around quickly here, and many people take sides immediately whenever there seems to be an argument forming. Because of this, social media is dangerous territory for negative opinions to be floating about. 

Both of these methods of damaging your reputation pertain mostly to your customers, but ex-employees can try to dent your corporate reputation, too.

Bad reviews on websites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor will deter potential new employees, preventing you from growing your company. These posts damage your personal reputation more than that of your company from the customer’s perspective, so they require a different kind of solution. 

The final kind of reputation damage an ex-employee can do is taking matters into their own hands. Leaving bad reviews and social media posts helps them voice their concerns, but they rely on other people taking their points at face value to detract from your company. These kinds of damages, you can seek out and repair. But if employees are angry enough, they might hit your company directly. 

Take, for example, the case of AshleyMadison. This Canadian dating app is marketed specifically towards people in committed relationships looking to have affairs. Naturally, then, information secrecy is essential. But one former employee, disgruntled, hacked the company’s database and put the profiles of nearly 37 million people at risk of exposure. Such a direct hit to the company’s core value of secrecy is far more damaging than a bad review. 

However, none of these examples are intended to frighten you—there are ways for you to prepare and protect yourself against these reputation scandals and ways to repair them if they do happen. 

Preventative Measures

In order to make things easier for yourself, it’s best to input some preventative measures before and while letting employees go. 

  1. Pay attention to their concerns. If employees continually voice their concerns about a particular aspect of your business, consider addressing it or finding a way to compromise with them. Any bone they pick with your company now could turn into reputation damage if they are fired. 
  2. Give them notice. Catching somebody by surprise, especially with their termination, is never a good way to leave on good terms. Take the time to sit down with them and explain the situation, and give them ample time to put their future plans together. 
  3. Be firm, but be kind. Hearing about one’s termination is never an easy thing to bear, so it’s best that you do it in good standing. Be kind to your (now ex-) employee, even if you don’t think they deserve it. From a legal standpoint, the less you say, the less can be held against you if it escalates. 
  4. Be generous with severance. A reasonable severance package, combined with a kind notice, could be enough to prevent future damage to your reputation. However, if you feel the need, including a nondisclosure agreement as part of the severance package is smart. This prevents the ex-employee from saying anything you don’t want, and they get a generous sum of money for their trouble. 
  5. Always keep yourself covered. Consider talking to your legal counsel, or consulting a reputation management company like Repute PR, to ensure you’re covered if anything does arise from the termination. It will make any necessary legal troubles far easier to deal with in the future. 

Even with these preventative measures, however, some damage might slip through the cracks. What do you do if a bad review is already out there or an ex-employee’s claim is making its way through Twitter? Don’t worry—you still have options. 

Two Types of Bad Press

Figuring out how to deal with negative backlash to your reputation online is an intricate process, but the basic first steps are deciding what kind of backlash it is. 

There are two main kinds of backlash, and the first comes purely from anger. Largely an extrapolation of fact, this kind of ‘bad press’ is the ex-employee letting off steam. They aren’t voicing any legitimate concerns. Their comments are mainly filled with upset words, not upsetting feedback. So, these are easier to deal with. 

The second kind, however, holds some value. Such reviews might come from ex-employees who have mentioned these concerns in the past but feel that not enough has been done about them. For instance, if they’ve discussed wanting to decrease the company’s carbon emissions, that could become a topic of review. 

Though the ex-employee might be angry, that is not their driving force. These opinions, then, are more difficult to scrub off the internet because they hold some weight. Especially in social media circles, opinions that want you to change your company’s model somehow will circulate more. 

What Can I Do? 

Your most likely first option in both cases is to get the review or post removed. If it does not voice a legitimate issue that you can respond to, there’s no reason for it to continue making its rounds through the channels of the Internet. Posts on social media can be reported as harassment—if its language goes far enough, you could even argue that the post is defamatory. 

Reviews are slightly more difficult to remove because most reviewing platforms value showcasing all opinions. However, you can report the review and ask for it to be taken down. This guide to removing Google reviews can help you figure out the steps. 

If the review or post contains the second kind of backlash outlined above, however, deleting it may not be in your best interest. This could be read as the company trying to cover up a legitimate viewpoint.

Instead, try responding to the comments and see if they hold any weight. Make sure to keep it professional when writing your responses—again, anything you say can be used against you.

Express thanks that they’ve brought their concern to your attention, and then outline what your company is doing about it. If you’ve decided not to follow through with their concern, give them a legitimate reason as to why not. This will help boost your image of caring about your clients’ and employees’ concerns. 

If you cannot respond to the review or get it removed, your third option is to flood your company with positive reviews instead. With more and more positive reviews of your service online, people are less likely to pay attention to the one drastic negative comment.

You can do this by implementing a short survey as a part of your service to your customers—if they genuinely enjoy their experience with you, they won’t mind filling out a quick form to give you that feedback. 

If you need additional help controlling and mitigating the damage to you and your business’s reputation, Repute PR may be able to help.

In the Long Term

Of course, continue to keep an eye out for new negative reviews and deal with them as we’ve outlined above. But it’s important to check in with those you’ve decided to respond to as well.

Let us take the example of decreasing carbon emissions again. Make a point of periodically updating your client base with your progress in this vein, for instance, when you’ve installed solar panels as your main energy source.

Be sure to also respond to the comment that brought it to your attention to let them know you’ve taken their concern seriously. 

Too Much to Handle?

Keeping up with every review on the Internet is exhausting, especially if you have other pressing matters to handle within your business. It could be worth hiring a reputation management company like Repute PR to handle the bad press for you. 

Our team consists of professional writers, attorneys, and consultants, all of whom can help you respond to bad reviews. While our attorneys and consultants can keep you legally covered, our writers will help you draft responses to any reviews you wish to take seriously. Our services can be completely tailored to what you need. 

And it’s never too late to reach out for help. Even if you’ve suffered a crisis at the hands of an ex-employee, Repute PR can put your reputation back together. Our crisis management programs will help you remove bad reviews and build back your confidence through whisper campaigns and friendly media. No matter how bad things seem to have gotten, you’ll be in good hands. 

What feedback from employees and customers have you used to improve?

How to Fix Your Restaurant’s Bad Reputation

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Dealing with Criticism

Negative criticism is inevitable, and it’s important to learn how to deal with it properly. However, not all negative criticism is there simply to discourage you (more on that later); it can be necessary feedback that’ll help you improve. 

Constructive criticism is there with the intention to help you improve and it should be viewed as such. Look for any recurring elements (i.e., complaints about the service during a specific shift, customers regularly disliking a certain dish, something about the atmosphere or cleanliness, etc.) and decide what needs to be improved upon going forward.

Given the anonymity allowed via social media, there will be many individuals who will take that opportunity to be as unhelpful, hurtful, and vitriolic for one reason or another. Unfortunately, these kinds of responses may be inevitable. What is important is not allowing these responses to get to you and being able to maintain your composure.

Here are a number of tips for your consideration:

Keeping a Cool Head

It’s always important to remain free of bias and be impartial when evaluating your reputation. Getting clouded by impulsiveness will prevent you from being able to make proper judgments which run the possibility of worsening your establishment’s reputation further. Having a plan can help you keep that head cool and Repute PR can help with that.

Responding to Criticism

Responding to criticism is a good idea, but it must be done in a civil manner. Learn to figure out how to break down the negative reception in more practical terms and use that as the basis for improvement.

Best to also remember that as a business owner, the reputation of your restaurant affects more than just you. It also affects each of your employees and business partners. A business is not a monolith or product of a single person’s efforts and talents. As such, you should keep the livelihoods of everyone you work within the mind in how you conduct yourself online and offline.

Be Honest and Have Integrity

You must be willing to take an honest look at yourself, your employees, and your business.  No improvement can come if there is no honesty or self-awareness.  It might be hard to acknowledge problems in the same way it can be hard to acknowledge negative criticism, but those problems cannot be resolved until they are dealt with properly. It is imperative that you be willing to maintain a sense of integrity as well. Without some level of integrity, you won’t be able to maintain positive relations or trust.

Always Strive to Improve

It seems like a no-brainer, but you must always be looking to improve instead of resting on your laurels and falling into complacency. Just because things might be going well doesn’t mean they will always stay that way. There will always be some level of hardship or competition, and staying vigilant is imperative.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” or so the saying goes. But fixing and improving aren’t necessarily the same thing. Consider the feedback you’re currently getting and see if there is anything you may not have realized, and use that as a jumping-off point. Similarly, you can also look at the feedback your competitors are getting and see if any of it applies to you or can be used to further improve your reputation.

If it seems like you’ve thought of everything, diversifying your network and portfolio is an excellent way to open the door to new opportunities. By having newer and different perspectives around, you can find newer and different solutions than what you may have thought of before. Everyone has something to bring to the table, and it is the leader’s job to make the best use of that something.

Using Social Media

Social Media is an excellent tool for connecting with all sorts of people. This can be used to expand your network and thus expand your capabilities and consumer base. Just as whatever happens inside the restaurant can affect its reputation, whatever happens on social media can do the same.

It’s imperative that you understand how the world is connected via social media and keep that in mind because whatever happens in the restaurant can end up on social media and spread quickly. The reverse is also true; a good social media presence can help bring in more customers.

A few different social media platforms that can serve as helpful tools for you:

  • LinkedIn – for searching out and hiring potential employees and partners;
  • YouTube – Good for content creation and advertising;
  • Twitter – For conversation, advertising;
  • Yelp – A crowdsourced review site on various businesses;
  • Facebook – Platform for advertising, recommendation, platform for discussion.

Reaching Out to People

When reaching out to people, especially if someone posts a negative review or comment that you’d like to address, remember to be civil. When addressing criticism, it is important to address their points and argument and not to attack their person or character. Instead of simply denying or refuting their points, use those points for feedback and consider offering them an alternative menu item or free meal assuming they are reasonable about their points. Only reasonable people can be reasoned with after all.

No matter how unreasonable one may seem, sometimes a, “Thank you for bringing this to our attention,” can go a long way to quell the negativity. Try seeking out someone you can trust such as ReputePR and ask them to give you an honest assessment of your work.

Getting Reviews Removed

On review sites like Google Reviews or Yelp, you can have particularly harmful reviews taken down or marked as spam if they aren’t constructive or accurate. However, sites like Google will review each claim, so it’s wise not to abuse this. When addressing a reasonable negative review, it’s important not to take a combative approach as that will only make the reviewer less likely to change their tune. Consider showing humility and apologizing for the issue. Maybe even offer them a free meal on their next visit.

Don’t Pay for Fake Reviews

It should go without saying, but paying for fake Yelp reviews is a terrible idea. Not only is it against guidelines, but people will find out, and it will be held against you. Yelp reviews do hold a considerable degree of influence over a restaurant’s reputation, and taking advantage of them will only end poorly for that very reason. 

What you should focus on instead is on improving your services and fixing your mistakes. Do not mistake the symptom (bad reviews) for the cause (some problem with your restaurant or business).

Identify the Root of the Problem

Once you’ve figured out the problem, figure out what caused the problem in order to fix it. If the problem is related to a certain menu item, consider revising the recipe or inspect what it is your chefs are doing. If the problem is related to a specific location, then it may be best to reassess that location’s operations. Understanding whether or not the problem stems from a more systemic or operational issue is important to differentiate because it may require a substantial change in how you run the business going forward. 

Consider this: problems are like weeds. If you let them be, they will keep spreading beyond your ability to control them, and they won’t go away until you pull them up by the roots. Once again, finding a third party to act as a fresh set of eyes can be a very useful tool.

Maintaining a Positive Online Image

Maintaining a positive public image will require constant diligence and research. Not only will you have to maintain a welcoming atmosphere within the restaurant, but you also have to maintain a positive social media presence. The current social media landscape is one that rewards constant, consistent engagement. Consider using your social media account to humanize your brand to present a positive image. Consider creating a persona much like Wendy’s Twitter or allowing your staff and customers to participate just like Kohls Inc. This works as an excellent avenue to connect with your customers and make them more likely to return and recommend your restaurant to their friends and families.

Remember to be Earnest and Sincere

Whether it is reaching out and responding to critics, connecting with your customers, or even communicating with your own employees, honesty is the best policy. Remember to communicate your intentions clearly and concisely. Giving feedback is as important as receiving it. Remember to be as impartial and level-headed when offering criticism.

People are not to be treated as a means to an end and shouldn’t be treated that way. Take care of the customers, and the business will take care of itself. People will respond better when they know you have their best interests in mind. As having a social media presence will bring you closer to your customers, it also means that customers will be more likely to respond to you more as if you were a close acquaintance.

Market Research: Do Your Homework

Times are changing and will keep changing. Part of being diligent involves market research. Not just researching reviews, but you need to take current and upcoming trends into mind as well. Not just what are your competitors doing and what are people saying about them, but what are people saying in general.

Any good business person will be quick to adapt to the times, and restaurant owners should be no different. Knowing how to go with the flow and anticipate change will get you through the tough times. A business exists to provide a service for its customers. Always be on the lookout for new ways on how best that service can be provided.

Getting People to Come Back for More

Keeping people coming in sounds like a no-brainer, but how do you get them to come back? The best way is to make it easier and more rewarding to come back to the restaurant. Changing up the menu every now and then (i.e.having certain menu items available during the holiday season) or having some kind of loyalty program (such as allowing for a free meal after getting ten holes punched) can serve as an excellent way to reward regular and loyal customers while offering an incentive for becoming one.

While managing a social media presence, the best way to go about it is to use it as an avenue to further customer engagement outside the restaurant. A number of people already have social media accounts they engage with frequently, and it shouldn’t be difficult for them to use their accounts to engage with your brand as well. The key is to create avenues between the customers and further engagement. The easier and more rewarding it is to engage with your brand, the more customers will be willing to come back and spread the word about how much fun your brand is.

How Repute PR Can Help You

Sometimes, the path forward isn’t clear, and you’re at wit’s end. Hiring a reputation company. ReputePR can help clear that path.  ReputePR can research your brand and figure out what exactly you need to do in order to improve that reputation. ReputePR can help remove negative material, assist in improving search engine optimization, and use media relations outreach and online affiliate programs to help promote your best moments.

Repute PR is a results-driven PR and Reputation Management Agency.  We believe in making sure our clients excel in what they do.  We treat our clients’ bottom line as if it were our own and deal with their crises with an all-hands-on-deck approach and an ownership attitude that lets our clients thrive in any environment.

Repute PR does this by bringing an array of talent and expertise to the table.  We galvanize teams that understand our clients’ industries.  Our firm is composed of professionals with expertise in business, law, journalism, press relations, campaign management, marketing SEO, and branding.”