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What To Do About Negative Online Feedback

Negative Online Feedback and Posts: They Happen To Just About Everyone

If you own a business or are a freelancer, independent contractor, own a small store or whatever as part of your small business empire, then chances are you’ve received some feedback online from customers, both happy and no so happy. No one like getting negative posts about their business, and the question is, what do you do? Even if you do thousands of transactions a month, just a few loud complainers can create an unbalanced impression about your business, with only the click of a mouse and a couple of dashed-off sentences.

And then what? When prospective customers come along and try to find out about you online, they are met with these negative comments. Bad first impression, that.

Think of the time you spend monitoring social media sites like you would a rapid response team — put out any fires before they’re out of control.

This is increasingly a significant problem many small business owners have, because ever more things are migrating online, even the act of complaining. The advent of sites like Yelp and its kin, as well as blogs, tweets, and website comments, gives a voice to people who in other times would have complained to the manager, or maybe written a letter to the editor.

But these days, because anyone can post about your business or product, you simply must have a plan to handle this.

Working on a Three-Fold Solution to Handle Negative Feedback Online

1. Monitor Twitter: By its very nature, Twitter is an immediate medium. People can and do dash off tweets at a moment’s notice and, as those tweets are live immediately, people with a bad experience of your business can share their unhappiness very loudly, very quickly.

That is why it is incumbent upon you to monitor Twitter discussions that mention you or your business, at least once daily. Think of this as your rapid response team, able to put out fires before they burn out of control.

In fact, using Twitter as a customer service tool can be a boon to your business since it allows you to:
• Offer excellent, immediate customer care.
• Build your brand as a customer-centric business.
• Solve problems quickly.

So if this makes sense, then the next step is to monitor relevant tweets. You can do so in several ways:
• On the top, in the search field, your Twitter account allows you to see any mentions of your Twitter name by searching for it directly
• Use Tweetbeep. It allows you to “Keep track of conversations that mention you, your products, your company. .. your website or blog.”

Then the trick is, once you see a tweet that requires your attention, give it your attention.

2. Create appropriate Google Alerts: Of course, people can comment on your business on many sites other than Twitter, so what you also need to do is set up some Google Alerts. A Google Alert will hit your inbox daily or weekly, as you prefer, and let you know who said what, and where, about your business. Again then, the trick is simply to handle any negative feedback as needed, and also, create appropriate, responsive reply posts for other people to see.

3. Set up a Google Profile: As indicated, one of the real challenges in the online universe we live in is that people may see negative comments about your business (due to SEO and other factors) before they see your website or the good news.

That’s where Google Profiles comes in.

A Google Profile is a page you set up using a Google template. Your Google Profile is written by you and in it you can explain what your business is, why it is special, and you can link to your website, blog and so on.

The best part is that your profile is guaranteed to be on any Page 1 Google search mentioning you. How great is that? Guaranteed page 1 Google results is what we like. By taking these steps, you can be confident that you will be able to quickly and powerfully manage your online brand.

 

Got another effective solution for managing Twitter and social media mentions of your business? Why not consider offering us a guest post for The Self-Employed Blog?

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About Steve Strauss

Senior small business columnist at USA TODAY and author of 15 books, including The Small Business Bible, Steve is your host here at TheSelfEmployed.com.


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