Managing Your Reputation - In An Online World
I am inspired to write this post because of a heart wrenching blog that I read this morning from Outspoken Media. This blog reminded me of one of the most common questions that we get when clients are assessing whether or not to use social media for their practice -- "What if someone says something bad about me?"
Despite our individual thoughts on the matter, we are living in an increasingly less private world. The more we engage with the Internet and social media sites, the less private our lives become. Let's face it, even with Facebook's privacy settings, we all know that there isn't any TRUE privacy when you're online. But, that is a risk that most of us are willing to take. The key to success? Be smart. Don't post things online that you don't want your mom, grandma, spouse (or ex-spouse's attorney) or 6th grade teacher to see. More importantly, don't post things online that you don't want your potential clients or patients to see.
Because people are now more comfortable being online and expressing their opinion openly, they are also willing post reviews and comments about their favorite (and least favorite things). This includes the services they use. And, because of this candid feedback, consumers now rely heavily on the opinions of others when considering a certain service or product.
However, some clients are often afraid of sites like Google Local, Facebook, Twitter, etc., because of the potential for bad press. So, how can you make sure that people don't say anything bad about you online? You can't. There is no guarantee that someone will never say anything bad about you. However, as long as you strive to provide the best service and care to your patients and clients, all the while being an honest and upstanding part of your community, people are highly unlikely to talk badly about you. And, if you're not doing this, then you need to read this blog.
If, on the off chance that you get a bad review, the first thing you must do is address it head on. Don't hide, don't make excuses, don't retaliate or do anything else that could further exacerbate the situation. If you ignore it, the problem won't go away and could potentially blow up into a much bigger issue. If you take nothing else from the blog about Tanner and Air Canada, take this -- You cannot hide online. People are very vocal and active in standing up for what's right.
This post is not to create a fear of using social media sites. It should be inspiring. The Internet, and social media, is not going away and there are incredible ways to leverage social media in your Web marketing strategy. Look at it as a useful, and pretty much required, tool to do business in today's world. Accept the challenge and move ahead. And whatever you do, don't forget to have fun!