Few worse things can happen to a small business or startup than getting a string of negative reviews online. Many of us now live our lives online; if someone wants to leave feedback about your business on a user generated website, nothing is stopping them from doing so.
When it comes to repairing, protecting, and managing your online reputation, it’s essential to give the right people the right task. Hiring a dedicated online reputation management company can be a wise course of action, particularly if you already have a large and rapidly growing online presence.
“Managing your online reputation should be an integral part of your company’s growth strategy. Online reputation management is not just about fixing negative search results – it’s more about avoiding them in the first place” says Anthony Will, CEO & Co-Founder of Reputation Resolutions, which has been selected as one of the best online reputation management companies in the United States.
We have compiled a list of 5 tips to help you manage your reputation online.
1. Claim Your Online Profiles
The first step towards managing your online reputation is to build a robust online presence in the first place. If you don’t have a powerful enough presence in the digital world, you won’t stand a chance when it comes to defending your brand against negative content.
Make sure you claim online profiles on all of the popular and relevant social networks, directories, and other platforms. This way, you’ll be able to give yourself a place to reach out to customers and build (or rebuild) your brand’s reputation.
You’ll also want to be present on all of the major consumer review sites for your area and industry so that you can review and respond to feedback. For example, if your business is in the catering or travel industry, you’ll find that much of the feedback about your venue lives on Tripadvisor.com.
2. Know What People Are Saying About You
Many small businesses seem to be completely unaware that they have already built up a bad online reputation. However, if you don’t know what people are saying about you online, you won’t know what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong.
Fortunately, online reputation monitoring is something you can safely automate using a tool like Google Alerts or Disqus. For example, using the Disqus commenting system, you can receive a notification every time someone replies to a post or up-votes some of your content. You should also perform a daily check of your Facebook and Twitter pages and any other networks.
3. Respond to Queries and Negative Reviews
Negative feedback can be deeply unnerving, especially for small startups that are working hard to establish themselves. There’s no doubt that a few negative reviews can quickly kill a business. However, even in the worst-case scenarios, it’s how you handle such a disaster that matters most.
If you don’t respond to bad reviews or your customers’ complaints, you’ll only annoy them more and, consequently, your online reputation will plummet. It should go without saying that customer feedback and negative comments should be responded to immediately. It can be difficult not to take offense or take criticism personally.
That being said, being diplomatic and approaching each situation individually and with great care is essential for recovering your reputation. The general public and your potential customers will appreciate it immensely.
4. Craft Relevant Content
As the lifeblood of any online marketing strategy, it’s ultimately your content that helps define and build your online reputation in the first place. Without content, your brand’s voice will quickly be drowned out in search engines by the competition. Thus, it’s just as crucial that the content you create is relevant and targeted.
At this point, it’s essential to make a clear distinction between sales content for outlets such as landing pages and ad copy and content written to inform and assist. Having plenty of the latter will help you build up a reputation as a brand that nurtures and respects its target audience.
There’s also the all-important social element. Others can respond to your content by way of things like blog comments and social media posts, giving you a chance to get involved in the conversation.