Online reputation management is the practice of monitoring the Internet reputation of a person, brand or business, with the goal of suppressing negative mentions entirely, or pushing them lower on search engine results pages to decrease their visibility.

We all know how fast a nasty rumour can spread. Thanks to social media, these harmful conversations can spread faster than wild fire and even have a global reach.

Your business can receive negative attention for various reasons. You might have angered a consumer, have a jealous competitor looking to humiliate you, or have a vengeful ex-employee who wants to grind an axe on head. Below is an article I found on Mashable with 7 Rules for Responding to Customers Online.

By now it’s clear that negative online sentiment cannot only damage a business’ reputation but also its bottom line. You don’t get many chances to address a vocal, disgruntled customer or correct a fake, perhaps competitor-generated, social media review. And silently ignoring social feedback from customers is never an option.

That said, too many companies have fallen prey to the idea that robotic responses “cover their bases.” They believe they’re on top of their social media presence because their corporate marketing department is monitoring brand references and aggregating metrics. But those actions do not focus on improving the customer experience, which is ultimately what affects a company’s revenue.

Here are seven social media management rules to prevent your employees from becoming response robots and incite them to respond in a way that boosts customer loyalty.

1. Be Timely

The right underlying technology solutions can help a company monitor what’s being said online and immediately alert property managers to a new social post. Instilling a culture of urgency among employees is important when closing the loop on social reviews. Not only is one customer watching — so is everyone else. You don’t need to respond to every post, but it’s also important to respond to both good and bad posts because it shows future customers how involved you are. For example, scathing reviews that are tempered with rational, genuine responses are much less potent in deterring future customers.


2. Don’t Auto Respond

Every response is visible in stream, and the presence of scripted responses will quickly become apparent to followers. If your responses seem automated, they won’t seem genuine and you might as well not respond.


3. Leave it to the Frontline

The employees who are closest to your customers are the best at interacting with them, either online or face-to-face. Getting your frontline of employees on board with your social media strategy invokes a strong sense of urgency to fix underlying problems. Because of social media’s transparent nature the frontline will appreciate the importance of improving the customer experience. Best Western responds to well over a third of their TripAdvisor reviews (above the industry average) to foster customer rapport.


4. Don’t Get Personal

Remember to keep your tone professional. Picking a fight online is a great way to start a PR massacre. GoogleBoners Barbecue if you doubt it. It may seem unfair to businesses, but the customer is always right, at least on these forums.


5. Keep Responses Short

Social media venues are built for skimming and quick conversations. The social attention span is tiny and your responses aren’t only for the initial reviewer but for future consumers. Don’t kill the mood.


6. Thank the Customer

Give credit when an issue is uncovered. Domino’s Pizza did a good job engaging customers and employees when customer comments about product quality were left on social sites. Embracing social feedback made the company look good.


7. Fix Issues

Walking the walk is crucial to the success of your customer experience management campaign and, ultimately, your bottom line. Over time, companies that have the same issues over and over again will not only have bad social scores but will show customers they are incapable of improving. You don’t want to be written off as a lost cause.