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October 31, 2012
A New PR Front: Watch Your Online Reviews
 
So maybe it won't happen often, but when it does, it can be especially harmful. Customers are putting a lot of stock in online reviews. One survey found that consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from a friend. Get a poor one, and what do you do? A column in the Idaho Statesman addresses this increasingly important aspect of Internet PR and marketing. 

The first thing to do is to monitor your brand online. Don't let it fend for itself "out there." Jeanette Duwe, who owns a PR firm and is a former journalist, writes that Google Alerts, Mention, and MyReviewsPage.com are the places to start for online monitoring. Then, should a bad review appear, "respond with a solution." Act just as though the unhappy customer is standing before you. "Be kind and civil," Jeanette advises, "even if the review has your blood boiling." 

Yes, people are people, whether on the web or not. PR principles of empathy and patience apply online as much as off. 

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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