This is the newest member of our family, a pitbull named Chili Rosebud. She’s a daddy’s girl.
The notorious “pitbull” has a bad reputation, though that’s begun to change thanks to organizations like Pinups for Pitbulls and Animal Farm Foundation. I know how awesome a pitbull can be – and maybe you know – but even one article about the “vicious” breed can influence the opinions of adopters and lead to more homeless dogs who get put to sleep.
Your wedding business may get stellar feedback, but even ONE bad review can kill your revenue.
In a world where a bad review is only one angry tweet away, how do you protect yourself?
You need to monitor your online reputation so you can initiate damage control FAST in the event of unhappy couples or a bad review.
7 Ways to Protect Yourself
#1 – Google Alerts
Create a “Google Alert” for your name and the name of your business. This means that anytime Google comes across these terms online, you’ll be notified by email or RSS feed at the frequency of your choosing.
Choose the option “as it happens” to be notified immediately when Google finds something new, unless you have a very common name, in which case you’ll get constant notifications about what your doppelgangers are up to.
#2 – Check comments on your blog posts daily.
Disgruntled clients or competitors are likely to share their complaints as a comment on your blog posts. Make it a habit to review them regularly.
#3 – Monitor your social media accounts daily.
Log into your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus accounts (and any other social media services where you maintain a presence) and review your comments and messages for complaints so you can address them promptly.
You can consolidate all these accounts in one place by grabbing the RSS feed for each and adding it a feed reader account such as Feedly.
#4 – Check TweetReach once a week.
TweetReach allows you to search the name of your business or @tags on various social media sites. It makes it easy to monitor any buzz about you.
#5 – Use Ice Rocket to search blogs, Twitter and Facebook.
Ice Rocket allows you to search three of the most likely places where people may leave unfavorable comments about your business in one convenient search.
#6 – Take ownership of any free listings for your business where you can be reviewed.
Services like Yelp! and Merchant Circle allow customers to add profiles for businesses they’d like to review. If your business doesn’t already have a listing, this means they can add one and post a bad review…and you won’t be notified.
Claim any review listings already in existence and connect your contact information so you’ll be notified of any new comments or reviews.
#7 – Add the RSS from any popular local chat rooms or blog comments to your feed reader.
If your wedding business is often commented about in the forums of bridal websites or on wedding blogs, grab the RSS feed for these and add them to your feed reader for convenient weekly scanning.
It makes sense to monitor the “usual suspects” in your wedding market so you can react quickly to any complaints that pop up. Learn more about how to add RSS feeds to the Feedly feed reader here.
Unfortunately, most review sites don’t allow you to immediately remove a bad review, especially if it’s been posted by a legitimate client. Check the sites’ policy to see if you can post a response or dispute the review.
In the unfortunate event that you find an unpleasant comment about your business, do the following:
- Contact the client immediately. Many bad reviews or unfavorable comments can be “cries for help.” Reach out to the client, apologize for any way in which you may have fallen short, and make it right.
- Wait 24 hours before responding to a bad review. It’s easy to get emotional and post something you’ll regret. Wait until you have a cool head and have your most level-headed friend proof your work before posting a response.
- Don’t fight down with bad mouthing competitors. Never respond to “trolls” or gossips who are beneath you; engaging them in an online duel only gives them what they crave – attention – and makes the situation worse. Keep your cool and deal with bad mouthing competitors by taking the high road.
- Push your bad reviews down the search engines. A bad review looks ugliest when it’s on the top of the list. You can “cover it up” by getting your biggest fans to post a positive review that pushes it down the list. Learn more about what to do if you get a bad review here.
- Learn to recognize “bad clients” before they become bad reviews. Some trouble clients will never be happy, no matter what you do. Watch out for the signs it’s time to fire a client so you can avoid conflict before it begins.
Monitoring your online reputation is a necessary part of running a wedding business today. Keep your eyes on social media, reviews and what’s happening in the blog-o-sphere so you can react quickly and keep your name in good standing.
How do you protect your online reviews?