In Marketing

It’s a sure bet prospective guests or clients are turning to search engines and online reviews to learn more about you. What do they find when they search your business or destination? Use these strategies to knock down the negative and keep results relevant and positive:

1. Know everything that’s said—every day.
Many simple, user-friendly solutions are available to set up daily alerts and feeds that catch every mention of your company, domain and employees. This lets you respond to issues that you may not have even known about previously. If you’re not already doing this, we recommend you start with these services:

Google Alerts: Set up a free subscription to track Web results, blogs, news and more. (Hint: You can also use it to keep up to date with the latest on your competition or in your industry.)

Twitter Search: This simple way to search Twitter offers an advanced search option to enter specific keywords, names and places—even whether a tweet is positive or negative.

Technorati: This search engine is useful for finding any mentions of your blog. It searches by looking at tags authors have placed on their websites.

2. Be proactive and act quickly.
Like other rules of good management, “Don’t wait until you have a crisis” applies to your online reputation. When you discover an incorrect or negative comment, quickly send a courteous message to correct it. In the case of review sites, such as Trip Advisor, immediately post a response to any negative review, in which you acknowledge the person’s issues, apologize if necessary and outline how you have remedied or plan to correct the issue. Occasionally, a very brief response to a positive review is appropriate too. If a couple posts comments about having the wedding of their dreams at your resort, thank them and wish them a happy life together.

3. Don’t be shy about soliciting positive comments.
When your customers tell you how much they appreciate your service or products, thank them and ask them if they’d consider posting their comments online. If they’re unsure about where or how to do this, take a minute to explain the process. You can also encourage your employees to motivate appreciative customers to post their reviews.

4. Get support when you need it.
If you’re already multi-tasking, it’s easy to push reputation management down your long to-do list. That’s a mistake. If you can’t make time for it, seek professional online reputation management services. Our agency, for example, manages the reputations of several prestigious resorts, monitoring their online reputation and presence in leading social media sites and posting responsive and constructive comments prepared by professional hospitality writers.

5. Know the real rewards of reputation management.
Beyond keeping your online reputation in positive territory, managing your reputation is simply a best practice that will pay you back in spades. You’ll see your business through your customer’s eyes. You can increase your credibility with prompt and responsive replies to your customers. The feedback will show you areas in which you can improve your services. And you can share comments with your team and find new ways to exceed your customers’ expectations.

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