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Are Online Reviews Killing Your Business?

Social networking has created tremendous opportunities for companies to market their products and services directly to those consumers they are trying to reach. At the same time, however, such sites have empowered disgruntled consumers, employees, and ne’er-do-wells to post negative reviews, salacious rumors and otherwise nasty comments, often with no basis in truth. Such postings can be incredibly damaging to a company’s bottom line, as potential customers have no way of discerning between legitimate reviews and rotten tomatoes.

It’s not just Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest that you need to look out for. Other sites focused on consumer-to-consumer reviews can be hotbeds of negativity. Google Places, Google Plus Local, Yelp, Canpages, Yellow Pages, City Search, Zagat, and TripAdvisor all give consumers the power to lift up or stomp on businesses they have come to dislike. When you consider that 70 percent of consumers rely on online reviews when making purchase decisions, according to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising study, it’s easy to see how just one negative review can be incredibly toxic to your future success. Four out of five consumers say they reverse their purchase decisions based on negative online reviews, according to a Cone study of online trends.

That’s why it’s important to closely monitor reviews posted on these sites and seek to mitigate any problems as soon as they arise.

Begin by setting up notifications on these various sites, along with a Google Search Alert, so you will instantly know when comments have been posted that reference your company. The sooner you know, the more effective action you will be able to take. You’ll also be better-positioned to nip any bandwagon behavior, as other consumers may read a negative review and seek to add their two-cents.

While you may not be able to have a negative review removed from the site, you can mitigate its harmful effects by launching a reputation marketing campaign that seeks to overshadow negative review postings with positive ones. Invite your customers to post reviews by offering discounts and coupons. Encourage them to give you 5-star ratings. This approach can be especially effective if you focus your invitations on those consumers who have called or written to say how pleased they were with your product or service.

If you don’t feel qualified to launch such a campaign by yourself, there are services that promise to “fix” your online reputation by filtering good from bad reviews. Online reputation management is a fact of life in 2013 and something to which you must pay heed or risk losing your business.

For assistance with all your workplace challenges, contact High Profile Staffing today.

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