Online reputation makes a direct impact on how other people see you. One bad review is enough to ruin your brand’s reputation and business.
Look at what happened to Nestle. When countless articles were written on the several health hazards of Maggi, people stopped consuming it. News, articles, and bad reviews tarnished Maggi’s reputation and dropped Nestle’s profits during that period.
Nestle is back with a bang. But they had to pay a heavy price for it. They had to create new catchlines, publish articles, clear several tests, and promote Maggi in a completely new way in the social media.
Prospective clients, customers, and employees always give a huge importance to a brand’s online reputation. They check if there are negative reviews and Rip Off Reports on your company’s name before working with you.
What is online reputation management?
Online reputation management is all about ensuring people find only good things about your company when they are looking for you on the Internet. Online reputation management is all about making the best impression on the prospective and existing clients when someone is looking for you on the world wide web.
Common online reputation management problems people face:
- Hate websites
- Personal scandals
- Negative comments
- Fake profiles
- Trademark infringement
- False information
- Corporate scandals
- Industry perceptions
- Competitor attacks
- Squatted usernames
- Squatted domains
Should individuals be bothered about online reputation management?
Never ever think that only companies should be bothered about online reputation management. As an individual, you should also be concerned about your online reputation because it makes a direct impact on your personal and professional life.
Most people consider the Internet as the most valuable source of information about an individual or an organization. 97% of people read online reviews on a company before working with them. 70% of employers reject a candidate because they have read bad reviews about them online.
The Internet is watching your every move. Your friends, colleagues, landlords, friends, and significant others are watching you online through social networking websites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.
If anyone writes negative reviews about you online, it can get you into a serious trouble in the long term. You may not get a job even after cracking the interview or you may not get an apartment you wanted.
So you should see what people are talking about you online. If someone has posted wrong and negative comments online, take steps to correct the inaccuracies. Otherwise, you may lose everything you earned in this life.
Strategies to manage your online reputation management (ORM)
Are you an entrepreneur or a businessman? If so, you should manage your brands online. Clients give a lot of importance to things posted online about your brand. A bad online reputation can lead to a loss of credibility for your company. Will that be good for your business?
Here are the 15 strategies to monitor or manage your online reputation.
1. Set up Google and Yahoo alerts: Type the name of your company in Google and Yahoo search engine. Check out the results. You’ll get a brief idea about what people are saying about your company. Next, set up Google and Yahoo alerts to get notifications in your email whenever something is posted about your company on the Internet. You can easily track video results, news, blogs, and group results.
2. Create a profile on social media networks: Social media plays a big role in making or destroying the reputation of your business. The photos and updates you post in the social media profile help to build the online reputation of your business. Whenever someone searches for your business in Google, Yahoo or Bing, your social media profile gets displayed in SERP along with the other information.
Create a profile of your business on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Quora, and Linkedin. Check out the reach of your social media posts every day.
3. Post original content: People love to read original, unique, and scannable content. So always post informative and original content on the social media. Make sure your content is easily scannable. People should understand the subject easily. If the information is vague and boring, people won’t read it at all.
4. Focus on content marketing strategy: It’s important to determine what your audience wants. Check out the latest trends and find out what your audience wants. Next, create a content schedule to determine when and how often you want to post something online.
The biggest challenge of creating a content schedule is that you need to come up with different content ideas immediately. Use different content marketing tools to know what the audience wants and churn out content that appeals to the masses. Select the platform where you want to promote the content. Decide the date when you want to publish the content.
If you’re writing something on how to avoid accidents in Diwali, then make sure you publish it 2 weeks before Diwali. People wouldn’t read this content post-Diwali or at any other time.
5. Respond to reviews: Respond to all the reviews – both negative and positive. Appreciate the positive reviews and give effective solutions. In case of negative comments, give a prompt reply. Make sure you don’t delete the negative comments. It creates a very bad impression on your customers.
Contact the person who has given a negative review of your product. Try to sort out the problem and request him to remove the content. If he disagrees, then give a reply with a promise to solve the problem as soon as possible. This can help to neutralize the content.
6. Submit Press Release: Check out the Press Release submission guidelines and develop content on the latest update in your niche. If you have recently launched a product, create content on that. Describe the utility of the product and how you’re planning to improve it. If your company has recently received an award, then you can highlight it in the Press Release.
Press Release helps to build your online reputation. Curate quality content and invest money if required. Some websites may charge money for publishing your Press Release. If the website is good, then don’t hesitate to invest money.
7. Create a blog and maintain it: Another simple way to prevent bad reputation websites from getting a high Google ranking is to maintain a blog. A well-maintained blog can help your website to rank in top 10 and have a strong leverage for your brand that you can easily utilize whenever someone tries to ruin your reputation.
For instance, suppose you run a small restaurant in Mumbai. Someone spreads this rumour that you serve substandard food in your restaurant. This makes a direct impact on your reputation and many customers may stop ordering food in your restaurant. What can you do in this situation?
You can write a blog post on the steps you take to serve superior quality foods in your restaurant. You can upload images of the raw materials and the key ingredients used in different food preparations. You can also upload pictures of the kitchen where chefs different kinds of dishes. If you don’t have time to write a blog post or upload pictures, then simply shoot a video with your smartphone. Show how foods are prepared in your restaurant. Upload this video to your blog and Facebook. Live videos and testimonials can help to neutralize the negative publicity.
8. Apologize when you’re at fault: Make a genuine apology if your company is at fault. If your company has done something wrong, apologize to people who have been directly affected by it. Be honest and transparent when you’re apologizing. This can help you to handle the crisis efficiently and reconcile with your customers.
Make sure your apology is authentic. Don’t apologize just for the sake of apologizing. Fake concerns and apologies are not at all appreciated. A simple ‘Sorry’ won’t help to pacify your angry customers. Your apology letter should appeal to your customers. Mention in the apology letter about the steps you’ll take to rectify your error.
9. Be always polite when you’re online: It’s very tempting to get into arguments when someone makes provoking or nasty statements against you online. Be patient and have a cool temperament. Don’t make harsh or rude comments online. Nasty comments can be the ‘kiss of death’ for your company. Worse, you could be wrong actually. When you lose your temper, you could end up saying things that ruin your reputation.
Even if you’re angry, be extremely polite in your online interactions. Control your temper. Your professional and polite behaviour may help you win more customers in the long run. Don’t be harsh or rude just for being ‘right’ in an online conversation. Take prompt actions to solve a problem.
People will always judge your online interactions. They will always have an opinion. What can you possibly do? Be smart. Avoid taking hurtful comments too seriously.
10. Create a profile page in Wikipedia: This is an excellent online reputation management strategy since a Wikipedia article always gets the top rank in Google and Yahoo. It is informative, useful, authentic and highly valued by all the major search engines.
It’s tough to create a page on your business in Wikipedia. Your page should be informative and noteworthy. There should be legitimate links and verifiable sources. List your major accomplishments there. If your company has won an award, mention it there. Remember one thing, Wikipedia’s editorial team can delete your page if your achievements are not properly mentioned on the page.
11. Create a Youtube channel: Create a Youtube channel and upload videos that talk about the positive achievements of your business. Youtube videos can help to repair online reputation. Keep your videos brief since no one has time to watch a one-hour long video unless it’s enough content to keep eyeballs glued to the screen for 60 minutes. Give useful information and be professional.
12. Organize seminars and conferences: Seminars and conferences are a direct way of interacting with your audience. Many times, you’ll find celebrities organizing a press conference and giving clarifications on a controversial topic where they are involved. You can do the same thing. You can organize a seminar and give a speech on a topic you’re an expert in. If someone has tried to destroy your brand’s reputation, then give your side of the story in the conference. Record it in a video and upload in Youtube.
13. Monitor your employees online: Employees know the dirty secrets of your business. You can control them when they are in office. But can you control or monitor them outside office premises? Can you control them especially when they are online? You can’t.
Be extremely careful at the time of hiring employees. Check out their social media profile before calling them for a job interview.
But how will you control employees who are already an integral part of your company?
You can use Mention.com to monitor the online activities of your employees on social media. Set up alerts so that you get a notification when anyone mentions your employees. This will help you get an idea of what your employees say about you and your products online.
It isn’t good to doubt your employees. It isn’t good to monitor them all the time. Just ensure you have a system that helps you get live updates about your brand from the web. Your ultimate goal should be to build a brand and protect its reputation.
Encourage your employees to share something wonderful about your company on social media. You can ask them to give positive reviews in Glassdoor or Twitter or Facebook. Create a set of rules your employees need to follow and also let them know about the repercussions of any misconduct. Give an open platform to your employees for sharing informative content.
14. Remove negative links: This is a tough act to follow. Removing a negative blog post, image or a link is very difficult after it’s published. You can contact the blogger and request him or her to remove the post. Explain how your business is getting affected by it. The webmaster can reject your request straightway. But that’s the risk you have to take. Be sensitive since you could make the situation worse by insulting the author.
If the blogger or a webmaster has published a wrong story, then you can send an email and request him to delete the post. If there’s anything that can help to prove you’re right, then send it to Google.
15. Create website profiles for all executives: You have to manage the online reputation of the key executives working in your company. It’s true people research the online reviews of a company before doing a business with them. But it’s equally true that people research the executives at the company.
The key performers of your company should have a clean reputation. Follow these tips for maintaining a clean reputation for all the executives.
- Create a dedicated bio page for each executive on your company website.
- Get media coverage about the executives
- Publish articles, press releases, and blog posts
Whenever someone types, “XYZ, Managing Director of ABC” in a search engine, they will see the executive’s bio page on the company website. This helps to build credibility and trust for that executive.
Don’t get confused between ORM and social media management
There are many people who get confused between ORM and social media management. They feel that both are similar concepts, which is far from the truth. Online reputation management involves social media, but that’s not everything. Online reputation management is beyond that. Online reputation management is about building a brand that people would like to engage with.
ORM is also different from SEO. So don’t get confused between these 2 also. SEO is mainly concerned with increasing a company’s website traffic. ORM is more than that. ORM is about monitoring content on various websites, including those not controlled by the company. It focuses on improving star ratings on consumer-generated review sites.
Tools you can use for online reputation management
Here are a few tools you can use:
- Twitter Search
- Google Alerts
- Yahoo Alerts
- Social Mention
- The Brand Grader
- Similar Web
- Get Five Stars
Online reputation management is a big task. Once you build an online reputation for your business, it is compulsory to maintain in a proper way. If you have a vast experience in digital marketing and branding, then do the task yourself. If you don’t have any experience, then hire a credible digital marketing company which offers best online reputation management services at an affordable cost.
Don’t think about money. One of the best investments you can make is into your own reputation. Online reputation management is not just about publishing content online. It is a process that needs a vast knowledge of search engine optimization factors, choosing the best platform to publish content and maintaining strong relationships with media properties. It’s best to not to do it alone.