Business owners (as well as individuals) often underestimate the importance of online reputation management. Many executives believe reputation management is solely for companies and brands struggling with various forms of online “bad press.” They assume that, as long as no one is saying anything negative about their brand, there is little else to do to build a credible online identity.
Acknowledging unfavorable critiques does have its place when shaping your online image. However, it’s only a single component in a viable management initiative. No matter the size of your company, every review, post, and comment has impact and influences the way others perceive you. In order to develop a dynamic, cohesive, and, most importantly, effective reputation management strategy, you have to go beyond merely reacting to negative content; you must also suppress and replace your “bad press” with authentic, positive posts that ultimately shape public opinion and define your brand.
Don’t risk a passive approach with your online image; proactively protect your reputation to build, manage, and sustain a compelling brand identity that resonates with your targeted demographic using these key strategies:
The first step in protecting your brand starts with taking an honest inventory of where your business currently stands with all forms of online press. When you run a quick Google search, are you happy with the results? Are the search returns negative? Or, worse yet, non-existent? Recent Google statistic reports indicate that 75% of all users never scroll past the first page of search results, making what they find about your brand on the first two search pages vital to your digital presence. Get a firm handle on your current situation and devise a plan to accept what you must and post what you should to command consumer attention, push down unfavorable comments, and create a virtually impenetrable force field of positive content on those first two critical search pages.
This may go without saying…but, we’ll say it anyway; the best way to encourage affirmative online commentary is to conduct business with integrity. If you’re building your corporate image, make client satisfaction and bringing top-notch products/services to market your top priorities. If you’re an individual, ensure your public associates both your personal and professional persona with credibility and honesty. Identifying specific areas of improvement in how you conduct business can keep you focused as you strive for excellence in your particular vertical as well as organically bolster your virtual standing with consumers.
Reading undesirable reviews can be stressful, especially during the beginning phases of brand building/restoration. Business owners worry that a single harsh post instantly unravels any image repair efforts they’ve made up to this point. Fortunately, it is possible to strategically use constructive critiques to your advantage. How? By developing a strategy for a prompt and professional response. Acknowledging adverse remarks shows buyers you are listening, care, and want to do better for them; it also increases the chances that formerly disgruntled customers may actually start writing supportive reviews about you.
As a business owner, you are virtually synonymous with your brand. What people say online about you personally has to bear on your professional identity. Register your name as a web domain to ensure no one else does it first. Additionally, personal websites often receive a high “domain authority” – a key consideration when developing an effective reputation management strategy. Domain authority is the weighted value assigned by search engines to a particular site. The higher the domain authority, the greater its strength and visibility with browsers, making personal websites a vital reputation management resource. Once you’ve registered your personal site, you can officially take control of the online conversation. Optimize your pages with relevant, affirmative content (think experience, awards, press releases, and recognition) that shapes and defines your brand shows up on those first two ever-important result pages, and subdues older, less favorable posts.
Speaking of domain authority, social media is a powerful, yet often underutilized, marketing resource that yields ample online credibility. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Business, LinkedIn and Pinterest all have the highest domain authority standing possible and get top billing with search engines. Establish your pages and take charge of what people read when they look for you. It’s critical to develop a social strategy that floods search results with uplifting, encouraging commentary that repairs, builds, and safeguards your online identity.
Successful online reputation management is a marathon…not a sprint. The search engines are fickle beasts that demand constant content or they’ll quickly deem your brand yesterday’s news and begin giving credence to naysayers who will, inevitably, post critical commentary. Once you repair and/or build your brand image, you have to continue to define and protect it for long-term, sustainable results. After you’ve set up your websites and social media pages, it’s time to start posting…often. Get and stay active within your online community by constantly publishing relevant blogs, press releases, and articles to ensure you stay connected with customers and firmly in control of the buzz surrounding your brand.
Repair Bad Reputation specializes in helping individuals and businesses protect their online reputation. Contact the team today for more information.