Online Reputation Management Blog

Online Reputation Management for Contractors

reputation-management-for-contractorsContractors sometimes have a tough job making a strong statement online in a business typically earned via word-of-mouth. Because of the importance of word-of-mouth marketing, maintaining your online reputation is especially important. Most consumers will look to,,, and for information on potential contractors.

Once you acknowledge that customers will scrutinize your every move, you can find areas to focus on to enhance your online profile and focus on reputation management.

Electricians, plumbers, HVAC Contractors, and General Contractors, roofers, concrete contractors, rooters, garage door installers, handymen, water damage restoration specialists know that protecting your business from negative online reviews is critical for your business.  Equally important is how you react when you receive a negative online review.

So what should you do when your small business is attacked on an online review site?

1. Respond to negative reviews: Most consumer review sites will not delete negative reviews of your business, no matter how many times (or how nicely) you ask. But most will allow you to do is respond to the negative reviewer. You can either respond publicly, or send them a private message. Always aim to fix the problem, not place blame. Someone’s mad that the paint bubbled? Offer to fix it for free. Is someone because your crew tracked in mud? Then apologize and offer a cleaning service. Not only will you fix the problem with the former customer or client who has the problem, but you will prove that you are a contractor who listens to his customers and fixes issues as they arise.

2. Highlight the positive: As you know, customers like to complain about project costs and timelines. It’s always too expensive and takes too long. To combat the negative reviews, make sure there’s a lot of positive information about you online that will fill up the first page of a Google search. Make sure your business has profiles on all major social media sites, consider blogging about your area of expertise, and buy your own domain name.

3. Ask clients to give you an online review: Another way to combat those pesky negative reviews is to get your happy and satisfied clients to write you positive reviews. These reviews won’t erase the negative reviews, but they can work to provide some balance. Promoting positive online reviews is a key part of business reputation management.

4. Hire an online reputation management company: A search engine reputation management company can help you bump up the positive reviews while burying the negative mentions of you and your company. By taking the first steps of creating optimized business profiles and developing a process for promoting feedback from your customers online, you can strengthen your positive online image.

Online Reputation Management for Accountants

Reputation-Management-for AccountantsI’ve heard that online marketing for accountants is very difficult and it is hard to get your message across in a marketplace where the cheapest provider of tax services often shouts the loudest. One way to showcase your business is to be aware of your online reputation and work to strengthen it.

Reputation management will enable your business to achieve success beyond word-of-mouth marketing and help you win new business from a simple Google search.  Below are some tips on how to manage your online reputation and find online marketing success.

1. Read online reviews.  Not just of yourself, but of your competitors, too. Check out,, and to see what your customers are saying about you. Are the reviews positive? Great, you know you’re on the right track in providing excellent service to your clients. And if you see any negative reviews, use them as an opportunity to better yourself in a particular area. Reply to the negative reviews (some sites allow you to do this privately, which is always preferred, or you can do it publicly) and respond directly to the negative feedback. Work with the customer to get them to give you another chance to make it right. Even if you’re not given the chance, demonstrating your willingness to face the problem head-on will give you credibility in the online world.

2. Ask clients to give you an online review.  To ensure that there are more positive reviews than negative, ask your clients to review your services online. But, don’t proactively offer this option to every single client; rather, ask those with whom you’ve developed a great rapport and who was really happy with your work. The positive reviews will attract new clients.

3. Network via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.  Start a Facebook page just for your business and use it to engage with your clients. Offer incentives to your clients, like early bird discounts during tax season, and deals if you’re retained for multiple projects. Social media management services are also available to help busy professionals. To prevent your clients from learning too much about your personal life, be sure to set your personal Facebook account settings to private.

4. Start an accounting blog.  Use this as an opportunity to educate your audience and gain new clients. Corporate reputation management experts have been using blog marketing to help clients spread their message and build a loyal following. Offer troubleshooting tips, from how to file your taxes to taking advantage of deductions and credit available to the small business owner to how to set up your payroll system. Don’t give away all your secrets, but give enough information to make yourself stand out as a credible industry expert.

5. Hire an online reputation management firm.  When in doubt, ask for expert help. A top-rated online reputation management firm can help you push positive mentions of you to the first page of a Google search, while burying any negative mentions.

Interview with Crisis Communications Expert Mark Lambert

I’m excited to invite Mark Lambert to join us for an exclusive interview on our Online Reputation Management blog.  Mark is president of Lambert Media, a communications consulting firm based in Louisiana. Mark has nearly three decades of communications experience, including several years as a reporter, editor and news executive in the print and broadcast fields and as the communications director of a large Louisiana state agency during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Gustav.

What is crisis communications?

Crisis communications is the process of making people aware of your point of view and persuading them to accept it in the midst of circumstances that are harmful or have the potential to be harmful to your reputation.

What are the biggest mistakes you see people and companies make when dealing with the media?

There are many mistakes people make, but most of them boil down to a lack of respect for the people with whom they should be communicating. This manifests itself in several ways, including:

  • a terse “no comment”
  • a prepared, distributed statement full of “lawyer language,” i.e., a bunch of hedging and passive-voice phrases that serve no purpose but to give the client wiggle room.
  • lying
  • half-hearted attempts or no attempt to show sympathy for victims
  • hiding from the media or not making key executives available
  • finger-pointing, blame shifting or transparent attempts to downplay present or future damage

How important is social media to your reputation management strategy?

I find that my clients are interested in social media more as an ongoing marketing tool than as a key communications strategy tool. However, more people are starting to understand the power of social media, and as it becomes more evident to key executives and administrators that social media can be a powerful and versatile tool, they become more willing to allow it to be a part of their strategy. The issue often is that top executives tend to be older and not as adept to social media as are the middle managers. I find that I have to persuasively pull some of my clients into social media.

What is the first thing a company should do when there is a PR disaster?

Ha! In my media relations seminar, I tell people the first thing they should do when there’s a crisis is to lock the lawyers out of the room. Many CEOs, executives, administrators, etc., are so focused on some inevitable looming court battle years down the road that they fail to see the problem in front of them. They lawyer up and inevitably make the situation worse.

The first thing a company should do is to stop acting like a corporation and Be Human. Demonstrate sympathy and caring for any victims. Get the facts, identify who your stakeholders are and communicate to those stakeholders in an appropriate manner. It is important to have a crisis communications plan, but it’s more important to be flexible to changing events. Too many crisis communications plans are so detailed and rigid that they fail to take into consideration that a crisis is a dynamic event.

How can CEOs help build and repair corporate reputation?

They have to have a vision of what their company is, and they have to share that vision with their employees, customers, vendors, etc. If the CEO says his company wants to be involved in the community in a positive way, how can he show it? Does he give his employees paid time to volunteer in schools, work at a food bank or at an animal shelter? Does he encourage customers to do the same through company-sponsored programs? You can fake a reputation for awhile, but if it’s just a stunt, you will be busted. Be real, and walk the talk.

What can employees do to help their company during and after a PR crisis?

This may sound harsh, but I believe the best thing employees can do is to hold their company’s leadership accountable for doing the things the leadership says it is going to do.

What can companies do to better prepare for a public relations crisis?

A crisis communications plan is a must. A good plan should:

  • detail the various stakeholders and message vehicles
  • lay out a simple org chart with duties relative to the crisis so employees know what to do and what is expected of them
  • identify spokespersons and guidelines
  • identify a specific communications vehicle (newsletter, intranet, e-mail) for employees

Many plans overlook the importance of communicating internally in a crisis. You have to let your own people know what is going on, and you should give them a channel of communications that is separate from the general communications vehicle.

Interview with Crisis Communications Expert Allison Dean Love

We kick off the New Year in high gear on our online reputation management blog with an exclusive interview with Allison Dean Love, President of Allison Dean Love Consulting, LLC.  Allison has more than 20 years experience in public relations, marketing, media relations and communications, including crisis communications. With more than 8,000 interviews and media relationships worldwide, she conducts media relations and crisis communications training for a variety of clients in insurance, engineering, construction, government and nonprofit organizations. [Read more…]