Speech Bubble

As the digital world becomes integrated in our lives we take to the internet to research and find things out, whether it’s the next watch we are going to buy or if it’s to see reviews about a movie. It is one of the greatest technological developments of recent times.

A place where you can find out almost anything.

People like to talk online and sometimes they will talk about you or your company. Review sites are becoming ever more popular, Trip Advisor was built completely around the model of reviewing holiday and leisure destinations. People are naturally risk averse – we like to be sure that we aren’t wasting our time and money on something that we may have a bad experience with.

It is becoming very difficult to hide mistakes and bad reviews online. A client I have worked with has hundreds of people through its door daily, nearly all of whom are happy customers. However there are situations where someone is unhappy and they are usually the ones to shout loudest about it online.

Proactive or Reactive?

When it comes to managing how you or your company appears in search it is very much about being proactive. If you have hundreds of happy customers daily or weekly – make sure the world knows about them. So when there is that inevitably unhappy one who is having a bad day and decides to take it out on you, they will be drowned out by the sea of good reviews.

It is easier to build a good foundation than to fix one that is crumbling. I often advise clients that building up dialogue with their customers is essential in making sure that if anything does happen then the customer will come to them for a solution before giving them bad reviews.

Being proactive means, making sure that good press is going out constantly, flood the search results with good things. There are sure to be plenty of things which you haven’t thought about telling the world about, if there aren’t then start doing more! Sponsor a charity, sponsor employee’s when they do charity events, there are endless opportunities for good press which your marketing departments can think up.

Another aspect to being proactive is transparency. There is merit to dealing with criticism publically and addressing problems. Though at the same time you don’t want the first page of search results being all problem resolution.

Social networks and social media offer great opportunities for marketers, especially in gaining feedback and customer insights. The biggest problem, and the biggest barrier to entering this online world, is that we might not like what we hear.

- Daniel Rowles, Chartered Institute of Marketing