Managing Your Online Reputation

Do you know what people are saying about your company online? Are you monitoring social media and user-generated reviews on Google or Yelp? If not?and the reviews are not favorable?they could be hurting your marketing efforts and your bottom line.

Online reputation management is growing in importance as more and more people research a company online before they set foot in the door. And if they are in your neighborhood, they?ll use their smartphones to do a quick search before deciding where to go. Online reviews can have a significant impact on your business, and its important for you to know what is being said and to have a plan to mitigate the effects of negative reviews.

Basic Online Reputation Management

To understand what customers see when they search for your business online, do a quick Google search. Identify which links are appearing first, take note of any negative articles or reviews, and create an unbiased assessment of your company?s online image.

You?ll also want to check social media for anything people may be saying about your company, employees, or industry. Identify all locations where your customers are talking about your business, and monitor conversations. In some instances, you may want to respond, especially if the bad review is a result of a misunderstanding.

Search Engine Reputation Management

A solid content marketing strategy will help boost company-generated content in search engines and will help limit the importance of third-party websites that may contain negative content. It is a carefully balanced formula?you will want to deliver your message to the correct audience without drawing attention.

Generating positive news about your company that highlights your company?s efforts to address customer concerns serves a dual-purpose?it counters negative comments about your company while educating new customers without directly drawing attention to the issue.

Create targeted press releases or blog articles that address critical perceptions of your company. Highlight employee benefit programs, sustainability efforts, quality standards, customer service training programs, and any other issues that may have been criticized or could be about your company. Anticipate the possibilities, and create a plan to address these issues.

Creating content that ranks high in search can help bump some negative, third-party websites off the first page of your search results. The more positive news you share about your company, the less likely it will be that potential customers will see negative or inaccurate information about your company.

Social Media Reputation Management

Claim all your company?s social media accounts, and post frequent updates to them to benefit your search rankings and to bump negative comments. You can also use social media as a customer service tool. Several companies use Twitter to receive and reply to customer complaints or questions. Responding to these complaints publicly may earn their business, as well as the business of their friends who see your interaction.

Be open and honest in your response, and you may want to offer a discount or refund to the unhappy customer. In the world of online, instant reviews, it?s always best to mitigate the situation so everyone walks away happy. Some battles, however, are not worth fighting and could do more harm that good. Choose wisely, and don?t feel like you always have to win.

Online Reputation Management Tips

Managing your company?s reputation online can be a tricky business, but a strong marketing strategy can help mitigate the effects of negative press or bad reviews. Keep a close eye on what people are saying about your company, including your products and employees. Utilize your content marketing strategy and social media to promote your content, boosting your search engine ranking and credibility.

Engage with your customers online. Oftentimes customers will post a negative review after bad experience or misunderstandingjust to be heard. Make sure they know you are listening, identify the root of the problem, and offer a solution.

Never post fake reviews about your company, or negative reviews about a competitors? business. You can encourage your customers to post reviews, and many businesses will offer an incentive or discount for returning customers who provide feedback.