You and your employees work hard to keep customers happy. You connect with each of your customers and tirelessly develop new products and services to meet their ever-changing needs.
However, even with the best customer service, every business is bound to hit bumps along rocky roads every now and then.
A customer may post a negative review on a listing site for the whole internet to see. Or a less-than-flattering story about your business spreads far beyond what you expected.
That’s where online reputation management comes in.
It’s time to improve your online reputation management strategy or suffer the consequences. While the search world keeps changing, most businesses still employ the same strategies with diminishing returns. If you aren’t changing your strategy to stay current with the latest SEO trends, then get ready for some headaches.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Your online reputation determines how potential customers see and perceive your business when they stumble upon it or search for it online. Consequently, online reputation management proactively influences the type of information that people will find about your business.
For instance, various strategies and techniques can help you push harmful and damaging content further down the Google search results by ranking your site’s quality content or other more desirable material above it. Why is this crucial? Because the top five listings on the search results page receive almost two-thirds of the clicks. If bad business reviews get buried down, online users will never get to see them.
However, online reputation management is not just about managing content in search results. It’s also about managing the less-than-desirable reviews you get and encouraging satisfied clients to contribute positive comments and feedback. This also means addressing any false or negative comments and actively monitoring mentions of your brand on social media and other websites. You respond to negative comments and react appropriately to stories in the media that paint your company in a bad light.
Why is Online Reputation Management Important?
Here are some reasons you need to update and improve your strategy now:
The Mobile Surge
Each year, more and more of the world’s population is using smart phones and other wireless devices to access the Internet. This means more users are utilising mobile devices to look for company names and create reviews and other content in a hurry. Google has begun optimising results for content that’s mobile friendly. You need to be more vigilant about online reviews affecting brand-targeted searches, and get on the mobile bandwagon.
The Rise of Social
Social needs to be part of any marketing strategy and is important to successful reputation management. Social profiles eat space in the Google results, strengthening your company’s online reputation. Google relies heavily on social signals to determine page rank. If your company isn’t using social at this point, it’s time to change. Secure profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Google+.
The Google Curb
Since the Panda and Penguin updates, Google has been going after link spam and content farms much more aggressively. Not only are their algorithms getting more complicated, but the search engine is releasing warnings and punishing sites that don’t adhere to their guidelines for quality websites. If your reputation management strategy has used arguable tactics, it’s time to update it to avoid penalties that could leave your site open to attack.
Online Reputation Management Strategies You Can Use
With the sheer number of social media platforms, business listings, and other sites where your brand can be mentioned, online reputation management might seem daunting.
But don’t worry—we’re here to help! Here are four solid online reputation management strategies you can use to manage your brand’s online reputation.
1. Answer Promptly and With Empathy
Often, the best online reputation management happens before a negative review or comment is posted. When customers ask questions, whether by posting on social media or messaging you in private, make it a habit to respond right away. If you don’t reply to customer concerns quickly, a private message can easily turn into a negative public statement.
Answering with empathy is equally important. Let your customers know that you are genuinely invested in solving the problem at hand and that, ultimately, you are there to help.
2. Address Negativity Up Front
It can be tempting to ignore or discount negative reviews and comments from customers. After all, responding to them might just draw in more unwanted attention. But the truth is, you’ll be doing your company a disservice by not replying to unhappy customers.
Addressing negative comments and reviews is an effective way to show to customers that even if they have an issue with your products, services or company, you’re there to take care of it and solve the problem. This is good PR and will only improve the trust and loyalty of your patrons.
So when customers leave negative reviews and comments, make it a habit to always respond. Address their issue with determination and patience. Lack of response from your end will come across as a confirmation of the issue or problem at hand.
3. Own Up To Your Mistakes
If your company faces scrutiny for perceived or actual scandal, it’s always good to apologise. Showing remorse will diffuse your tension with customers and strengthen your relationships with them. It also shows potential and current customers alike that your company is transparent and honest.
Craft your apology with an authentic intention to own up to and resolve whatever concerns you’re facing. Directly address the main issues raised and describe in full detail what plan to do to resolve the situation.
4. Stay on Top of Your Search Results
Most digital marketers think of SEO simply as a way to gain organic traffic and keep their brand visible on search results. But it’s also a crucial tool for minimising the visibility of negative content and press associated with your business.
Ideally, you want your web page to show up first when an online user searches for your products or company name. After all, the number one search result receives more than 31% of all clicks, and users are more likely to click on the first and second search result than on a link that’s 10 positions down. This is because it’s a psychological game – they trust the results that are on top.
Another way to improve your rankings on search results is by encouraging satisfied customers to submit positive comments and feedback on business listings and review sites. This will ultimately improve your average rating, which is what online users see before clicking in to browse through individual reviews.
Online Reputation Management: Your Key to Upholding Brand Image
It’s do or die. If you don’t manage your online reputation now, then it will haunt you in the future. It’s either you proactively control it, or allow it to do the same. By managing your reputation actively, you can minimise negative customer feedback and maintain an excellent online presence that’s aimed for success.