These last four principles are fairly straightforward and fit well together. Try to consider them all together. Naturally, nothing here is a hard and fast rule. Situations involving online negativity have varying degrees of severity. By obeying the previous rules and staying active online, however, you and your company should develop a strong sense of what is and is not legitimate. This will help your when determining the best course of action. Try to handle each case on an individual basis. People often don’t realize the sheer amount of feedback a company or public figure can receives and how long it takes to sort through.
6. First Impressions
For better or worse, many people don’t look much beyond the first page of a Google Search result. That means if there is a large amount of negative content out there
online about your company then that is likely to be the first thing users see.
First impressions form immediately and can be very difficult to change. The best thing to do is monitor your Google search results and make sure you have plenty of positive online content with your name on it. This will provide a buffer of sorts to negative posts, driving them down to the bottom of the search results.
7. Cooperate to Form Solutions
This one is linked to 5 put takes it a step farther. Try to look at criticism as a chance to improve. Your audience has given you direct feedback and said that there is something that they do not like. It is a good idea to consider changing your policies if it is possible to do so. If it is not possible, then address concerns a explain why. This may be an opportunity to work with the public to reach a moderate solution. This can improve your image, not only be appealing to the public but involving them in the process. This can turn critics into defenders. Obviously, there are some whose complaints will be illogical or disrespectful. However, it’s usually pretty easy to tell what the difference is between valid criticism and being an online troll or flamer.
8. Undermine Your Opponents
You’ve been reasonable and respectable but negative attacks continue to persist. Some online critics take advantage of anonymity. They can be persistent, malicious, and even destructive. Respond to harsh, negative attacks by undermining your opponents validity. If someone is plastering the net with malicious and inaccurate information to try and defame your reputation, counter with simple truth. Share the facts. If you believe the critics actions to be illegal, bordering on slander or harassment, then press charges. Do not allow the truly malicious to bully you or drag your reputation through the mud. Most of these spammers rely on anonymity and will disappear if they think there is a chance they might suffer any real repercussions.
9. Keep Improving
This one is a fairly straightforward principle and relates well to principles of transparency, cooperation, respect for critics. If you know your company has truly made a mistake, own up to it and then try to improve your performance. Doing so may seem like it will hurt your reputation but it will also improve public trust. In fact, it offers you the chance to redesign your product or image into something the customer may find more appealing. Be open to feedback and willing to improve. You may find yourself better off than when you started.
10. Professional Guidance
Professional PR firms make money for a reason. While the steps above are a solid guide for basing your strategies, if you have a serious problem or are having trouble getting the kinds of results you would like to see then you should consider contracting a professional PR firm or Online Reputation Management Service. These groups know their stuff and can provide either full service or simply consultation. It may be pricy, though, and you must consider if the gains are going to be worth the cost. Just try to remember that a solid reputation is a valuable thing.