What is reputation management? If you haven’t checked lately, simply Google yourself or your company to see what appears in the search engine results. There might be more coverage of your company than you’d expect.

If the information is outdated or negative this indicates the need for reputation management. This is all about influencing the way customers and other members of the public perceive your business.

Read on to find out all you need to know…

What is Online Reputation Management?

Online reputation management takes a proactive stance to monitor information to be found about a person or company online. After all, things said in the digital word are almost always online on a permanent basis. It makes no difference at all if what is said is true or not.

The Internet Archive even maintains a history of internet web pages that are no longer online. This system dates back to around 1995 when the internet first became a commercially viable service and of great interest to the general public.

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They have stored over 330 billion web pages since then. Which means managing your reputation online is essential.

Why Does Your Online Reputation Matter?

Okay, so why does all of this matter? For businesses, the key thing about reputation management is how it impacts your profitability. It’s not just that you want to be liked, it’s that you want to make money.

Reputational damage can harm your revenue streams.

This comes down to consumer behaviour. Essentially, most people are concerned with what their peers think about the businesses they buy from. If you develop a poor reputation, you’ll quickly struggle to make sales.

As such, reputation management is crucial for businesses of all kinds.

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Your company’s reputation can have a huge impact on profitability. Image credit: MyReviewNinja

Proactive and Reactive Reputation Management

There are two distinct categories of reputation management. These are:

  1. Proactive reputation management – Where you try to shape and improve your reputation on an ongoing basis.
  2. Reactive reputation management – When you respond to events, to try and limit damage to your reputation.

In truth, you’ll need both strands. Proactive reputation management helps to eliminate the need for reactive strategies. All the same, it’s only sensible to have a backup plan in place, which is where reactive reputation management comes in.

What is Corporate Reputation Management?

Corporations that interface with the public may have significant amounts of both positive and negative feedback on the internet. Any company that deals with the public will have complaints.

That is inevitable.

However, it is how a company deals with those complaints shows the rest of the public something important.

If the complaint seems like a legitimate one and the company does its best to publicly deal with it in a way that an average person appreciates, then a complaint and the resolution of it can be a positive thing.

This is one reason why proactive management of an online reputation is an important strategy.

It’s also helpful to know how to turn a negative reputation event into a positive one.

This is one of the core goals of reactive reputation management. For example, you might use negative social media coverage to create a positive customer experience, by responding to comments.

Proactive Reputation Management Strategies

There are some standard strategies that any business or person can implement to manage their online reputation. They can either do these things themselves or hire an expert company to do this for them.

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There are a number of ways to shape your online reputation. Image credit: ReputationX

The basic steps of reputation management include:

Create an Online Profile on Relevant Websites

This means establishing accounts on all social media systems and any review websites that relate to the business.

Additionally, establish accounts on trade associations, business credit bureaus, with the Better Business Bureau, with the Chamber of Commerce, and any industrial associations that relate to the business.

Regularly Update Postings on Social Media

Regularly posting on social media allows you to shape your own reputation online. This includes Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram depending on the company’s products, services, and public profile.

This helps you to build a strong image of your company in your customers’ minds.

Place Content Marketing on Websites with High Authority Ratings

There are many websites that have a high authority rating such as Forbes, Barron’s, IBT, TechCrunch, and others. Whenever possible, get quality content articles about the company to appear on such trusted resources.

It is actually fairly easy to do this if you have money to burn. For example, contact a Forbes contributor and ask them to post an article that mentions the company on Forbes in exchange for pay.

If not, you might have to aim a little bit smaller. For instance, taking out PR pieces in local newspapers is an effective way to improve your reputation.

Protect the Reputation of Individuals Associated with the Company

If your CEO has a negative online reputation, this reflects poorly on your company. To be effective, you want to track any mentions of anybody associated with the company in a powerful way and that includes major investors as well.

One way to do this is to have guidelines in place for what your employees should post on their social media platforms. These days, it’s not uncommon for someone to lose their job because a social media blunder has called the company’s reputation into question.

Reactive Reputation Management Strategies

There are a number of effective ways to respond to events which may harm your reputation. Here, you’re either trying to limit the damage, or swing events in your favour.

Responding to Complaints

Be as diplomatic as possible when responding to poor reviews. Reality dictates that you can never make everyone happy but potential customers at least need to see that you tried your best to diffuse situations with unhappy customers.

This can happen on both social media and the review site. Be courteous and professional, and respond to each bad review.

Don’t make the customer feel like they are being ignored. You have less control over the bad press, but you can still take matters into your own hands when customers are unhappy and going straight to Yelp instead of you.

Follow up with the customer in private when appropriate. The public needs to see how you are dealing with the situation at hand and that you are indeed going out of your way to please the customer.

Even if the customer will never be satisfied, people will see that you made the effort.

Always respond on the review site first so people can see you take action: they can’t see an email. If the problem is persisting, follow up with the customers in private when it is appropriate to do so such as offering a unique discount code or a refund.

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Responding to complaints can turn bad experiences into a sales opportunity. Image credit: DigitalSilk

Dead Cat Strategies

Sometimes, the best solution is to simply drown out any negative press you’ve received. One way to do this is to use deadcatting.

This comes from the world of politics. Essentially, if there’s something you don’t want to talk about, you raise more newsworthy, but less damaging topics. The name comes from throwing a dead cat on the table to avoid awkward dinner party conversations.

Content is king when you have loads of bad press and reviews that need to be drowned out in the SERPs.

Challenging bad reviews can be a dead end.

When you’re getting bombarded with them to the point that your profits are being smashed, you need to create a great deal of content. Blog posts, images, videos, stories, anything that has the potential to be shared and linked to a lot.

Good content will rise up in the search ranking and bump the bad reviews and press of that first SERP. Those things won’t go away completely, but most people won’t look past the first page.

As an added bonus, because of the long-term value that content has, it will keep visitors going to your webpages long after it’s been posted.

How to Manage Your Reputation Online

Every person, company, or organisation relies heavily on maintaining a good online reputation and can benefit from engaging a company like ProfileTree to help manage their online reputation.

After all, it is vital to have a system in place to both monitor online reputation and respond appropriately to any derogatory information or complaints.

The reassurance, prevention of damage to your reputation and understanding of what’s being said about you or your company online could become an essential asset to your business.

To find out more about your online PR, speak to ProfileTree today.

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