Bates: Give your business a regular online checkup to beat negative reviews

Some of us seasoned professionals remember the phrase of long ago, “One person who is happy with our company will tell five people, yet a client who is unhappy will tell 15.”

That was then, but today, one social media savvy, unhappy person will complain to thousands, often with flawed information about how misused he was by your company. You might never know until your sales fall.

Overnight negative reviews on social media can bring a company’s online ratings from high to low. For example, recently I was searching for an organization and bounced upon its Yelp reviews. They were shockingly low, with highly critical statements applying one star for minor grievances. Ipsos Global stated, “78 percent of users consider online reviews in making a buying decision.” Further in the article, Ipsos Global stated, “Organizations should be aware that an analysis of reviews on these sites estimate that fraud can be as high as 30 percent.

Scary. This leads me to my next point.

Search your organizational name on social media weekly. Find out what people are saying about your company. If it is positive today, it might be negative tomorrow. The McHenry Chamber of Commerce discovered this in announcing a country act on Facebook for Fiesta Days 2015. Our Fiesta Days 1980s rock fans vehemently posted “no, no, say it ain’t so.” We could have responded emotionally, but we all know that online debates always make matters worse. Rather than getting into a personal argument with these well-meaning fans, we sat back and allowed others who love country to respond, and respond they did, neutralizing negative statements, and Fiesta Days had a successful country rock night. That being said, sometimes you should challenge, but only with well-researched facts and definitely not defensively.  

Lastly, it’s OK to ask customers that compliment your company to let the world know on social media. Recently, I was asked by an organization of which I am a client to do a Facebook review of the organization. This was because I had positive experiences and my review was needed to neutralize a negative review. I was glad to be asked.   

Online management takes time, and you might groan at the prospect of taking this on. Should you be looking for an online specialist to aid you in this management, please visit our website at www.mchenrychamber.com for providers.

• • •

The Chamber is gearing up for Fiesta Days in July – 11 days of community activities with events that cater to all demographics. Where can you and your organization use Fiesta Days to your advantage?

Volunteer (wearing logoed apparel):

• Walk the parade with a division

• Work the beer tent – need eight to 12 employees

• Work the designated drivers booth

Enjoy for free:

• Bring the family to Music Fest on Sunday. Free to enter the park and lots of family activities available.

• Concert in the Park during the parade marshal celebration

• View the parade

• Attend Arts and Crafts in the Park

Promote your organization through:

• Parade

• Booth at the Kid’s Ice Cream Social at no charge

Sponsor Fiesta Days with some of our new, lower-cost sponsorships. Please call the Chamber for information.  

There is no greater visibility in the community than through showing your support of a popular community event.  

• • •

Mixers in June include the multi-chamber, multi-state mixer June 6 at Alden’s Kennels; Riverside Animal Clinic on June 13; Marketing Connection Group’s mixer on behalf of TLS Veterans on June 20; and 2nd Amendment Sports Mixer on June 27.

Lunch N Learns will be Wednesday to discuss marketing your business and June 28 to focus on your health.   

Don’t forget to attend the next “Never Eat Alone” at Grandma’s Winery and Deli.

Uninvolved? Attend a “Discover the Chamber” in August. Discover how you can make the chamber your best business marketing tool.

More information regarding these events and activities can be found at www.mchenrychamber.com.

• Kay Bates is executive director of the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce. 

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