Forward > Thinking Fridays: How Safe Is Your Reputation?by Anvil on May 15, 2009Online Brand Management
Everyone hates having a bad reputation. Whether you were that kid in gym class that smelled funny or were that guy that parked in the boss’ parking space on accident, we all have our stupid moments and just hope that those mistakes don’t ever come back to haunt us.
With the social web growing rapidly every day, this has become an even bigger issue. While before, companies could care less if they angered a few customers, this is a luxury that cannot be afforded anymore. This is because the voice of the consumer has become powerful and cannot simply be swept under the rug.
At the last Searchology event, Google announced that they were going to make their dominant search engine even more customizable. They accomplished this by adding a plethora of new features and filters to the search results pages, including the option to search by reviews. This means that if someone wants to search Google for only reviews of a product, service, or business and nothing else, they now can.
To enable this, search for anything with a name-brand on Google and when the results appear, click on the “Show Options” link. This then allows you to narrow down your search results by video results, forum results, or reviews. Once you’ve selected one of those options, you can narrow it down even further by selecting a date range for how recent the results shown will be.
Here’s an example:
These new features make searching for reviews much easier than before. However, this also poses a potential problem to businesses that regularly see negative reviews written about them. I know that many companies focus solely on the first page of organic results. As long as nothing negative shows up there, they’re ok, right? Before these changes, this was sometimes true as the average searcher would rarely explore beyond the first page. With these new customization filters, though, you never know what readers’ will stumble upon. Negative press that was previously buried deep in Google could suddenly become visible again.
Reputation management has become more difficult as a result of these changes. The general strategy hasn’t changed, but the timeliness has. If your company responds to negative reviews, this now needs to be done more immediately as you want to make sure your owner response to a problem is just as visible as the negative review is. People appreciate knowing that a company is addressing negative feedback and acting on it, so do this!
You need to manage how people feel about you; don’t let the consumers bully you around and break down your reputation. Waiting for a problem to go away is not an option, either. Knowing what customers are saying and responding to it quickly is even more important today than it was yesterday. Are you confident in your brand’s reputation? It may not be as safe as you think.