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How to Shield Your Brand’s Social Reputation

Mom taught me not to care about what others think. She also said that sticks and stones could break my bones, but a bad name… Well, that could never hurt me.

How to Shield Your Brand's Social Reputation

As it turns out, mom was wrong.

Entire product lines have been wiped out. Vacation destinations and hotels have been left with only the sound  of crickets, simply because a group of customers rallied together and called them a bad name. According to eMarketer, consumers trust other consumer reviews nearly 12 times more than do the manufacturers own celebrity pitches and technical jargon. A company’s worst nightmare is for a customer to say, “your product sucks, and I’m going to tell.”

If it concerns your customer, it should concern you. This is a tough lesson to overcome for those of us who still look up to mom’s advice. The simple truth is that your brand… your reputation… Is on the line each and every time a customer walks away unhappy.

It’s not only the negative reviews that can hurt your reputation. Unanswered questions can be just as bad. According to New York University, as many as 90 percent of your customers will be less likely to buy from you if you leave unanswered queries on your blog or website. Rather than talk about how great your brand is; show your customer how important they are, and how significant it is that they be a part of it.

There are three ways to accomplish this.

3 Tips on Shielding Your Online Reputation

1. Monitor Your Brand

You wouldn’t leave a five-year-old in a swimming pool unattended, and in today’s social marketing platform, you shouldn’t leave your image without keeping an eye on what is being said about it, both good and bad. Remember, a poor review is always only one Tweet away, and 40 percent of these come from mobile devices.

2. Quick Response

When a customer is unsatisfied with your service, you still have a chance to turn things around. In fact, you can make a negative situation into a positive, just by taking the necessary effort to make sure that each customer complaint is handled promptly. 90 percent of disgruntled customers will stay with a company, so long as their complaint is resolved promptly. Even more amazing, 50 percent will become an advocate of your brand.

3. Personal Attention

The automated service center has devastated consumers by de-humanizing their problems into pressing numbers on their telephone until they become so frustrated they just hang up. Today’s consumer wants you to speak to them in their language. They want to know you care.

You only get one shot at your brand’s reputation… Make it count! And don’t be reactionary it a time of crisis, build equity through a proactive approach to fortify your reputation, or it can easily be toppled. You know what they say about first impressions, and its amplified online.

Guest Author: Mark Nicholson is the founder of reactorr, an online branding/search and social marketing consultancy where his blog about online branding reputation management and social media lives. He can be found on Twitter @markjnicholson .

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  • Duh!  It is common sense but one we don’t often think about it until it is way to late.  Thanks for the reminder and the great post.

  • Duh!  It is common sense but one we don’t often think about it until it is way to late.  Thanks for the reminder and the great post.

  • Amy

    The difficulty with online brand management is that it can be a 24-hour job, but most companies don’t have the resources to staff it full-time. Smaller businesses need to be extra careful to monitor overnight activity when they come in in the morning. 

  • Common sense is the least well developed of our senses and articles like yours are a good reminder of the business basics we need to attend to online. 

    We cant embrace the internet and just focus on the amazing reach it provides to get people interested in a product, company or service in the first place. There is another side to reach, and as you say, the reach of certain feedback can be a lot stronger and deeper than businesses might expect. 

    Such a tiny percentage of readers are motivated to leave positive comments even about things they really like or view points they agree with, and sadly, but importantly, the small percentage of a customer or reader base who decide to post complaints have an even louder voice than the service or company being complained about.  

  •  So true Jeff. Our customers are part of our company – whether we like it or not. We love using reputation and loyalty when in our favor, but you are correct – it swings both ways. Prevention is best – having a constructive mission and product is a great start, then defend and respond as required. Thanks for the great articles Jeff.

  • Also, remember that haters are going to hate. If you get 100 raving reviews, you’ll get a couple of complaints or hate post. If it’s a valid complaint, remember you have the power to redress it. If it’s just a hate post trying to undermine you and your business, then “kill them with kindness”. Do not lose your cool- ever.

  • RobG NJ

     Over the years a local used car dealer has received about 10 positive reviews and 1 negative reviews on Yelp.  The Yelp filter has suppressed (filtered) the 10 positive reviews but not the negative one.  The dealer has made numerous attempts to reach the ‘customer’ associated with the negative review, but the individual has evidently refused to respond.
    This type of behavior on Yelp’s part seems unfair (to filter so many positive reviews, and to not take into account that the ‘customer’ refuses to allow the company to try to address a complaint.  This business has an A+ on BBB (unlike most car dealerships).  What is your opinion on Yelp hiding behind an automated filter without providing a manual verification process for certain circumstances?

    • Interesting that Yelp would “filter” the results of positive reviews. That seems counter-intuitive to what Yelp is all about, and I have never experienced any filtering on the site. Can you share how you know they are doing this? 

  • Short but Important article, especially Point no. #2 Quick response