Online Reputation Management

With emerging competitors in your industry, it is a critical time for business owners in the travel and tourism industry, to manage their brand and reputation to ensure they stand out in the crowd.  With social media it has become increasingly harder for brands to “appear” seamless.  Everyone has an opinion, and given a keyboard and mouse, they will use it in any public domain.  Why is this a big deal?  Ultimately, a damaged reputation will damage sales.

Managing customer feedback

It may be impossible to remove negative feedback from websites, but it is not impossible to manage your reaction and management of the comments made.  Although most conflicts can be managed with a tactful response that reassures the customer, it can be beneficial to hire a PR specialist for consultation or ongoing support.

Removing Facebook Content

It is strongly advised that you do not remove negative comments (this function is possible on Facebook, for example.)  because it then instigates more negativity from the customer who posted it.  The best solution is to diffuse the situation how you would in any face-to-face circumstance.
The impacts of removing a comment can lead to the person re-posting as well as getting their Facebook friends involved.  Not only does this spread the negative news to their friends, but increases the public thread visibility in news feeds. (Click here for an article that explains this ranking system)

As a Business Owner with a Personal Page

It is important as an owner that you have strong privacy settings on your page, and ensure you do not post family photos.  Another way to avoid this is hiding “tagged photos of you” which will limit who you are visibly connected to.  It will also limit how people can find you.  Another way to do this is to disable the function that allows people to search for your profile in Google. (Learn how here)

Ivana Taylor, publisher of DIY Marketers, offers these tips to safeguarding your online reputation:

“1. Set up Google alerts for your name

Head over to the Google alert page, and in less than 10 minutes, you can establish a name alert. This way, you’ll always be aware when something is being said about you online—positive or negative.

2. Complete those social media profiles

This is something that many employees and business owners fail to do, Taylor notes. “If you don’t exist on LinkedIn and Twitter, or worse, your profiles are incomplete, it leaves the barn door open to trash your reputation,” she says. “After all, if someone says something bad about you, and people search social media and see nothing or something incomplete about you, then whatever that person has written will carry more value.”

3. Create a flood of positive content

Think of Google as your home page, Taylor advises. “When someone searches for your name or your company name, what they see on Google will form an impression of you,” she says. “So if you constantly create content that’s credible and valuable and reputable, then a single negative post or comment will simply get lost.””  (Article)

Another way to increase positive feedback is to ask for customers to post testimonials on your Facebook page.  Create incentives and competitions, or alternatively with permission post testimonials written in –store.

So remember, it is better to have your voice heard, to regularly update your online platforms, and have a strong presence, than leaving it open for others to create your reputation for you.  Write out your objectives and what you don’t want to happen, and create a strategy based on those factors.