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Remember your last job hunting.

What did you do before submitting your CV? Obviously, surfing the net for reviews about the future employer. They turned out to be positive or negative it doesn't matter in fact. The point is that you were looking for it to find out the impressions of real people working in the company. Is it worth to send a CV there and get a job?

Today we choose a product and make a decision to buy taking into account reviews of users from the Internet (comments on review sites, in social networks, publications on Google).

The main goal of SERM is to neutralize the negative in search results and create a positive image of the company/brand/person in the network according to key queries.

*In this article, we discuss methods of dealing with negatives without having to file an application or petition in court.

*All examples of working with SERM - Ukraine's day-to-day realities.

1. Why do we use SERM?

Studying consumer opinions makes it clear the strengths and weaknesses of the product. And from the user’s standpoint rather than product owners.

End-consumers will tell you what to look out for (service or packaging) and what should be optimized or eliminated, and which point could be an additional advantage of the product, even the most obvious at first glance.

The worst example we found is charging an iPhone in a microwave.

Status Labs research data:

  • 85% of the population trust user reviews
  • 85% of consumers use the Internet before making a purchasing decision
  • 80% of reputation damage is due to a mismatch between consumer expectations and reality
  • 60% of customers claim that negative feedback forced them to refuse to purchase
  • 15% of consumers do not trust companies that do not have user feedbacks
  • reviews – 2nd most important ranking factor in local search results
  • Google reviews have a 7% impact on company ratings in search results; 30% say they positively rate businesses that publicly respond to user complaints
  • 74% of consumers rely on social media to guide their shopping.
  • 4 out of 5 say they have received tips on social networks regarding the choice of a product or service
  • 70% of customers who left a complaint are willing to cooperate again if the claim is resolved in their favor

What are the main and disappointing conclusions we should make from this information?

1. 2019… but social networks power are still not appreciated at its true value.

Meanwhile, ¾ users of social platforms are guided by the considerations of others from there.
Only imagine – an overwhelming majority of your potential customers trust social networks, but brands still make light of Facebook, Instagram, etc.

2. Negative feedback for the win!

In contrast to positive, negative has a huge viral potential.
One negative user experience takes away 6 of 10 customers from you.

3. 8 out of 10 people make the final decision based on the judgment of others.

80% of your potential customers!
Is this not a good reason to work with SERM?
People are the end-consumers of the product, it depends on them whether your business will take off or not.

Things you know during reputation monitoring?

  • Product Strengths and Weaknesses.

Consumers are usually very openly express their opinions on the product, and especially the service. Just ask them about it.
This can be a form in Google Forms, a special block with reviews on your site, comments on social networks. Or another one that you’ll come up with.

  • Real customer needs.

The paragraph follows from the previous one – user feedbacks will familiarize you with everything that excites them, real consumers of the product.
So you can get new growth points.

  • Do competitors use smear campaigns.

A large number of samey negative thoughts likely indicate that smear campaigns are used.
A dialogue with dissatisfied customers will provide an understanding of whether the person is real or a bot.

  • Effectiveness of the ongoing SERM.

The result that should be expected from SERM is a drop in the number of negative feedbacks and the appearance of new positive ones.
You should be proactive on the Internet. It’s in your best interest that your audience’s thoughts are positive.
Loyal customers are a reliable source of information and an additional acquisition channel.

Brand advocates are your hidden sales funnel that will make a hit if used correctly (see Statistics data).

2. Reputation tracking mechanisms

1. Monitoring:

  • tracking Google and Yandex search engine results for key queries;
  • collecting brand mentions from all online sources.

Manual monitoring is more suitable for small businesses because the scope of data processing is small. Here you need to take into account all the variations in the spelling of the company name and brand: in English, Russian and Ukrainian transcriptions.
Next to the query tail with a key name, in addition to “feedbacks”, we add: “thoughts”, “rude”, “scammers”, etc. So we will collect even more brand references on the network.

It divides into:

  • fake (which should be removed if possible);
  • real (with which you need to work).

It’s good to use the Google Alerts service – you’ll get a new mentioning of a company on the network from different sources.


The service has downloaded the latest articles for “ITForce” query.

There are a large number of such services in the World Wide Web, as well as Agencies working with such services.

2. Responding.

The response time is 24 hours maximum because the negative spreads fast.
What is easier to neutralize 1 negative feedback or a dozen? After all, you need to agree on the feedback removal or refutation with each author and the web platform. And this is not fast – the user may be offline, or just ignore your message.
The buyer shouldn’t be left alone with the problem. Because we work not only with a specific thought or person but also with those who managed to read unsatisfactory feedback before and after its refutation.

NO to unresponded comments.

3. Official response.

This is the most trustworthy method of responding to damaging information because of its publicity.
Responses from businesses have 2 undeniable advantages:

  • feedback – response to a comment;
  • trust – official review.

4. Seeding positive reviews.

From real users.
The Internet is moving away from ordered paid reviews. It is necessary to encourage customers to leave feedback after the purchase – offer bonuses, points, and discounts for the feedbacks.

3. Negative reviews. How to work with it?

Theoretically, there are 5 ways to deal with negativity on the Internet:

  1. resolving the situation with each client who left a negative comment;
  2. negotiations with the site administration regarding the removal of proven fake comments;
  3. bribing website owners to remove negative reviews;
  4. DDOS attacks;
  5. hacking sites;
  6. initiation of legal action.

We start working with negative reviews with fact-checking:

  • we ask dissatisfied customers for a screenshot of a receipt, order number, information about the time and place of the purchase and other specific data that can be checked;
  • check the reality of the information received;
  • fix the problem;
  • compensate for losses.


  • thanks for the feedback;
  • apologies for such a situation;
  • politeness in communication with the customer.

Further, if:

  1. the situation is real -we contact each buyer and resolve the conflict;
  2. there are no facts – we appeal to the site owners, provide evidence of libel (screenshots of public correspondence with the client, lack of a receipt, order number, name of the customer in the database) and ask the administration to remove the obvious fake.

Usually, the administration of sites goes forward and, if the information about the fake is confirmed, deletes the review.
Bribery, hacking and DDOS attacks are black methods of dealing with negativity. We at ITForce do not use similar methods, we resolve conflicts peacefully.

However, if the negative review contains the name and other personal data of the employee (address of residence, marital status, income), then the disclosure of this information is subject to the law on personal data protection. And this is an occasion for legal proceedings.

Below, we will illustrate the right and wrong response of brand representatives when working with SERM with examples.

4. What is relevant for search results today

  • Reviews in the Google My Business.

Impressions of actual product or service customers are the first thing that users pay attention to.
The key advantage of Google My Business reviews is its authenticity.


Right agency policy – everyone got a response to the cue.


Wrong response, or rather, its absence – no response to customer reviews.

Of course, it is not difficult to register a mailbox and copypaste libel on competitors. And if you set a goal, neglect the time and laboriousness of the method, smear campaigns will finally work.
But there are more real users who monitor their reputation and replenish the Google My Business.

In addition, user comments are also ranked in the Search and the more there are, the company site will be ranked higher in the search results.

  • Information from review websites (,,,,, etc.).

On the screenshot below, we entered a query into the search engine and clicked on a link to the review website.
Link content on 2nd photo.


SERP of the query “crispy reviews”.


The website opened on a link

Here an example of unsatisfactory work with a reputation (we closed the travel agency name in order to avoid unnecessary smear campaign, although this information is for public access).


Information on query “travel agency *** reviews”.

We follow the first link on the TurPravda website and read:


The travel agency responded to the negative impression of the tourist. This is quite right.

For each area – its main review websites, + a few secondary.

The task is to track key players, and these are the first positions in the search results.

User feedbacks on these sites should not be perfect or prettify, but it is better to adhere to a positive or at least neutral focus.
Of course, there is a chance that someone will flip to the 3rd or 5th page and find there information compromising you. However, most users don’t go beyond the 1st page of Google.
You are fully capable of monitoring the main sites with reviews. Yes, it’s rather laborious, but service is first of all.

  • Social network.

Typically, on a query “brand + review” social networks of companies are on the 1st page of SERP (usually Facebook).


Our group on Facebook at the 2nd and 3rd position in the search results on the request “ITForce reviews”

This is the second reason why it is so important to work with social platforms.
Monitoring social networks contains 2 blocks:

  • Customer reviews.

Discuss with each customer not only the possibility of a case writing about the work done but also try to get partners to leave feedback on your cooperation on the Internet.


A good example is the UDC page owner who “liked” the answers. Thus, he gave feedback and showed his interest in people’s feedback.


  • Followers comments on social networks.

It’s VERY important. There should be feedback because customers are your profit. Even such a retail giant like tries to respond to every Facebook comment.


Information is in the public access of profile on Facebook

Here is a bad example of working with a reputation: yes, the company responds to customer comments, but half the time.


Information is in the public access on Facebook

Now, if we remembered Facebook, we should also refer to Instagram. Moreover, Instagram has a simpler SERM mechanism.

A simple “like” a comment gives the user an understanding that you saw his/her reaction. Comment “thank you for your feedback” increases the brand confidence, because this is conversational feedback. A user sees that he/she hasn’t written into the blue, he/she has the company feedback.

Customer-centricity – this is what proactive works and forms the opinion towards the brand means.


Information is taken from public access profile on Instagram @stary_lev

Or here’s a perfect example of working with SERM from another book publisher:


Information is taken from public access profile on Instagram @art.huss

Or you can respond like that (yes, this is not the best answer, but there is one, plus you can continue communication with the travel agency manager in direct).


Information is taken from public access profile on Instagram @accordtur

On the screenshot below – proactive work and the prospect of collecting UGC, to which consumer confidence is higher.


Information is taken from public access profile on Instagram @stary_lev

Screenshot comments from satisfied customers.
Create a separate Highlights on Instagram and fill it with customer reviews. This increases the trust rate.
Below are some great examples of implementing Highlights:


Information is taken from public access profile on Instagram


Information is taken from public access profile on Instagram @oringo_shop

Comments should not be ignored. You have to deal with each and decide a matter in favor of the client.

Next, with examples, we’ll show work with a reputation two years ago: the first company responds to comments from the very beginning of work on Instagram, the other does not.


Information is taken from public access profile on Instagram @oringo_shop

Below is an example of “how not to.”
So, the TM representative responded to user questions. After 8 weeks.
However, none of the interested users will see this answer, because there is no “@” of user nicknames in reply.


Information is taken from public access profile on Instagram

  • Search engine optimization.

Work with external websites containing objective information about you. External links go here too.
The more external websites link to you, the better. Of course, first of all, these should be trust websites.
Fundamentals – Google First Page.


Customer feedback on working with ITForce from

  • Publications about yourself on external websites.

This method still works: guest posts, news, expert opinion of employees.
Any mention of your brand online is a plus for brand awareness.


Reference of the ITForce blog in the article “TOP 500+ Blogs about Internet Marketing” WebPromoExperts

CRM doesn’t contain human tracking tools, a month ago I read an interview with the brand owner, and today I went to the supermarket, and instead of the usual TM of spaghetti, I have suddenly acquired a brand that was mentioned in the article. However, this user came from a specific promotion channel – SEO.


An example is an article about our CEO and CMO, Maksym Yevsiukov, a lecturer at the WebPromoExperts Academy of Internet Marketing, on the WebPromoExperts website

Monitor user feedback as often as possible and respond to their actions. Comments play a decisive role in purchasing goods in 85% of cases.

5. Influencers and KPI for SERM

Of course, every businessman is interested in how quickly investments in SERM begin to operate.
It is promising to form an information field in advance because then work with SERM will turn into a routine and will not take much time. However, if you just started to build the brand image, get ready for hard work, because this process is quite long.

Factors affecting the time to do up the online reputation of a public company:

  • current reputation status;
  • number of reviews in the info field;
  • number and characteristics of compromising sites;
  • number of competitors in the Search.

Be proactive is simpler and easier than fixing mistakes.


Typically, performance is checked by the ratio of negative references to positive. Ideal – less than 1.
You set the reporting period yourself, depending on the schedule. Reconciliation of results can be carried out once a month/quarter, or others.

The weight of the first links in SERP and reviews on the main websites is huge. Getting started with SERM is best with leading sites because it has high traffic and user confidence.


The trend today is work ahead of schedule – monitoring and responding to negative.

The main response method – official company reviews:

  • customer reviews on Google My Business;
  • user reactions on reviews sites;
  • comments on social networks.

Works well:

  • search engine optimization;
  • publications on external websites.

Collect real customer comments on all websites. Publication on public access. Track and upgrade KPI SERM.

And remember the mantra – “NO to unresponded comments“.

We wish you satisfied customers and good feedbacks!

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