Jon Baker helps professional service firms grow from 5-50 employees. In this business development clinic, Jon explains how to deal with negative comments online.

Many firms and professionals are wary of social media, because they are worried about what may get written – and what will come back to bite them at a later date. In fact, this anxiety is often a large reason why many firms don’t let their staff use Twitter or LinkedIn at work.

If this fear is something you can personally relate to, then you need to learn the five-step process to managing your social media reputation. A client implemented this last year and within weeks of putting it into place completely stopped a known troublemaker from taking regular potshots at the firm. (You may find our FREE relationship planning worksheet useful)

One of the best things about the online world is the reach you can get with it. One of the worst things about the online world is the reach you can get with it – and the fact that you can never quite know who is reading your stuff. If you do decide to engage online, there will be times where you tread on a sensitive spot and it will result in a difference of opinion. Sweeping things under the carpet, or ignoring them, will not help you or your firm prosper. We operate in an online world where people talk about you, whether you’re listening or not.

5 step process to managing your social media reputation

  1. Be listening: Set up relevant searches for your brand on Twitter and Google alerts, watch out for anything potentially damaging online. This allows you to manage your reputation, even if you’re not otherwise active on Social Media.
  2. Deal with it, quickly: If you discover something negative don’t avoid dealing with it! If you do, people will assume you’re guilty! Address the issue publicly; show you’re interested, listening and that you care.
  3. Accept responsibility:  If it’s your fault, own up! The best of us can make mistakes once in a while. It shows you’re human and more importantly that client satisfaction is important to you. Have you ever been unhappy with service you were given? I suspect non acceptance, a defensive attitude or being secretive would have made it worse.
  4. Apologise: A genuine apology makes the world of difference. No excuses; thank them for bringing it to your attention. Show the world that you want to make things right.
  5. Solve the problem and get offline: If it’s easily resolved, offer the resolution and say you will call them. If you can’t solve it easily, make a clear public statement that you want to call them to solve the issue. Reaching out and attempting to make things right gets noticed by others who are watching the exchange. Once it is offline then deal with it properly and fully, as I’m sure you would do normally.

How do you deal with online issues? Have you or your firm got a process for dealing with online complaints or negative feedback?

Click here to download our short free guide to creating a LinkedIn profile to make sure you are not losing business or job opportunities. (email required)

About Jon Baker:

Jon BakerJon Baker is a Business Coach, Sales Trainer and Experienced Public Speaker who specialises in working with partners and potential partners from small firms – typically up to 10 partner practices. He helps the professionals with 5 to 50 staff improve their performance and grow their firm, sustainably, profitably and whilst enjoying the experience.

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