Online reputation management is becoming increasingly important for businesses around the world and the way you handle yours is pivotal. Putting it plainly, online reputation management (ORM) means taking control of online conversations between your business and potential customers.
While one should never expect bad things to happen, anticipating certain situations is a given. In business, things break or need tweaking which you can fix later but that approach doesn’t work for your online reputation. You should always give your company’s digital presence enough time and attention before a crisis hits.
People give feedback in different ways and when handled incorrectly, could harm your business. Many new and existing customers rely on online reviews from other customers when buying products and for that reason, it is essential to maximise positive reviews without ignoring negative ones. You need to handle negative reviews in such a way that it won’t put others off. Here, we look at four ways in which you can protect and improve your business.
Suppress Unwanted Data And Optimise Content
According to research from Hubspot, 75% of users don’t even scroll past the first page. Remember, your online brand is essentially your whole digital footprint and that means every news article, blog post, video, social media post, Yelp review or other information about your business on the internet.
Every piece of online data influences your overall presence but none more than those on the first two pages of search engine results. Do a regular Google search of your business name to help manage the content you want to show and suppress.
More often than not, an online reputation management consultant can design campaigns to suppress unwanted data. This aims to create positive content that is in line with the brand. The subsequent press and media are effectively optimised to rank higher on Google search results. At the same time, all unwanted content is pushed out and a new reputation is created.
Fully Understand Who You Are As A Brand
Brands often want to build a positive online reputation but they don’t always know where to begin. Real brand building is more than just removing and suppressing harmful content as it focuses on aligning your online image with your brand. It is impossible to accurately specify your brand without determining your goals first.
Make the time to truly visualise your ideal online reputation and ask yourself these questions what you are trying to communicate and who your target audience is. Once your intentions are clear, you can then create content that supports your brand voice and highlights your business’ success.
Always Be Proactive And Monitor Online Reviews
When things are going well, brands often ignore their online reputation but when a problem arises, things can deteriorate very fast. All of a sudden, the information about you online can impact how the media, your clients and even personal relationships react. Brands must always remain vigilant and proactive by staying on top of their digital footprint before anything goes wrong.
If you don’t have an online presence at all or a negative reputation, any crisis can quickly become a top story. On the opposite end, if something bad happens but you have a well-established, authentic and positive reputation, the event will barely register. In this situation, the negative press will be managed without making any noticeable waves.
The biggest mistake anyone can make in a crisis is to respond without thinking things through. Be ready to accept and learn from negative feedback, make improvements where necessary and always be honest. Respond quickly and positively to poor reviews as how you deal with negative press could have a major impact. As the saying goes: “It is often easier to build a good reputation from scratch than fixing a bad one.”
Use The Right Strategy And Tools
As you develop a strategy to manage your online reputation, you need to understand the different tools and methods at your disposal. While press media is a powerful tool using a Public Relations firm, insufficient optimisation could lead to the press not even showing up in any search results.
Online Reputation Management takes a whole different approach with an objective of ensuring that all existing online content remain consistent with your brand goals. After designing a campaign, ORM companies often work with PR firms to create positive content. From there they use a variety of methods to make sure that the good publicity consistently rank on the first two pages of search engine results.
One way to monitor online reputation is through keyword mentions on using Google Alerts for example. Simply sign up for a Google account (if you haven’t already) using a specified email address to receive alerts. From there, type the keywords you want to monitor into the white box at the top starting with, “Create an alert about …”
And don’t forget the importance and power of social media. Maximise your accounts including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram to get your brand message across. However you wish to manage your online reputation, authenticity is essential. One way to look at your brand’s reputation is like a portfolio of your most prestigious work.
Always Be Listening
Many brands forget that customers are the best people to help make improvements to a business. Sometimes keeping quiet and listening is what it’s all about. Set up a system to genuinely listen to and engage with your customers.
You could even be proactive from time to time and ask them for their opinions through an online survey. Just make sure you respond to the answers by posting results or updates about what you learned from the exercise. More importantly, if change was needed let your customers know that you’ve listened and what you’ve got planned.
If you need help or advice on managing your online reputation, we would be happy to help. The team at WSI eMarketing will help you implement quick-fire strategies to raise the profile of your brand while also working on long-term options. Give us a call today to find out more! We also specialise in Social Media, Marketing Automation and Video Marketing among others.