All it takes for the reputation of your business to be tarnished is one cranky customer with a personal computer.
Customers have no shortage of places to post negative comments and reviews online. Slander sites such as Complaints.com and Ripoff Report even encourage visitors to vent about their bad experiences with businesses. Local review sites like Yelp and Google Maps have separate sections where users can leave reviews that have high visibility. Plus, social media sites and blogs provide numerous opportunities to share information about services and products.
Online reputation management is a productive strategy that allows a business to protect its brand in the digital world. This involves initiating conversation and developing positive interactions with clients and customers.
Online reputation management is essential for any business in today’s marketplace. More business owners are employing online reputation management services to protect their business’s reputation. In a recent survey by the Society of New Communications Research, 74 percent of consumers select brands or companies based on customer experiences posted online.
First of all, you must examine your company’s online reputation. You should always pay close attention to the online discussions about your business whether it be on a forum, social media site or review site. You may find out more about your business than you may have learned from in-person interactions or surveys.
Then, perform a thorough inventory of all online assets that are related to you or your business. First, sign out of Google and do a search of both your name and the name of your business. If the content is abusive, illegal or contains personal details, it can be reported to the company hosting the content. Requesting that search engine remove certain results will generally only work if private information (e.g. social security number) has been posted.
In terms of creating positive awareness about your business, it takes considerable time and energy to monitor and maintain a positive online reputation. When opinions are expressed on the Internet, it leaves a significant first impression. Most consumers rely on page one of Google search results. According to a study performed by Chitika, more than 90 percent of Internet users stop after the first page of Google search results.
Google Alerts is a free tool that will help you monitor what is being said about your business in realtime. Scouring through Google’s massive database of Tweets, Facebook status updates, reviews, blogs, forums and other sources of content. After identifying your results, you need to evaluate their impact on your business and decide how to respond and participate.
Social Media Profiles
You MUST establish a presence on the leading social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus. By regularly building up a positive review profile, it will help dilute any negative content that has been posted. Keep in mind that it’s extremely difficult to eradicate negative content, but it can be shoved down far away from the first few pages of results. Internet users rarely search past the second page of results, so it will seem like these results don’t even exist.
If you’ve won awards or accolades, search for articles about these accomplishments and link to them from your social media profiles, blogs and sites. You should be proactive and begin developing a positive online reputation for your business before a problem occurs.
Websites and Domain Names
In addition to developing social media profiles such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube that rank highly on Google, build your own website with a domain name. The best-case scenario is for to purchase the .com of your name. If this isn’t available, purchase the .me, .co, .us or .net version. Hundreds of new domain extensions are hitting the market in 2013. If your name is not available, you still have a chance to secure a decent domain name.
As a further measure, establish a blog on Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger or another blogging platform. The subject of this blog matters far less than your ability to post regular content. Remember to add videos and photos when establishing these assets. Ensure that videos and photos are tagged, titled and uploaded with your name on all of your social media sites. These digital assets will help to push neutral and/or negative search results from the first page.
Update the website consistently with new, relevant content. Link it with your various social media profiles. If your business holds a superlative rating from the Better Business Bureau, link to your profile on their site.
Online Reputation Management Companies
Regardless of size or industry, your business must maintain solid online reputation management to continue producing good results. An online reputation management company such as Reputation Management Guys or Reputation Advocate will have knowledge about how the Internet works and be able to unroll extensive monitoring programs. These experienced professionals are a primary source of assistance in terms of addressing any negative content under your name or the name of your business.
Online reputation management acts as a necessary defense to defamatory content about you or your business. The idea of online reputation management is to control information that prospective customers might see. In recent years, numerous companies have been formed with a focus on online reputation management.
When consumers perform a search for your business’s name, they will develop an opinion based on the first few search results. If your website is buried in negative ratings and reviews, these consumers will turn away from your product or service. Online reputation management is an ongoing process that is critical to the overall success of a business. Results don’t happen overnight.