Your Online Reputation
Reviews, Forums, Social Media… They all play a part in what is found on the Internet. So who is saying what about you and your business?
The Importance of Your Online Reputation
Word of mouth has been in the past the most effective way of damaging a business. But this was very limited and not very fast. However, word of mouth includes chat forums and Review websites, Blogs, videos and so much more. It’s a fact that a viral campaign (good or bad) can spread worldwide, very quickly. Forums can be viewed and interacted with from all over the world. This means your online reputation can be damaged by anyone in any country. Consumers can now share their grievances online, and many people will add their issues if they feel they have a story to tell in order to pass that story along to others. If your name begins to appear on review sites like theirs, these pages may start to appear high in the search results pages. The end result is that if a potential customer searches using your business name or personal name then they could be seeing negative reviews and not your internet marketing message.
Discover Your Online Reputation
It is sensible to first discover whether there are any negative results already in place that you need to counteract. Start by Googling your name or the name of your company. Any aliases, trading names and abbreviations that you also used should be searched. Also, search for your names using quotation marks and without them to get a broader but more accurate picture.
Monitor Your Online Reputation
It is important to remember that the situation can change overnight. Set up Google Alerts so that you receive an email whenever your name or the name of your company is mentioned in blogs, article directories, and other websites. You can also create RSS feeds with sites like Technorati and other major news sites too. Monitor your own websites, blogs, and forums because these are likely to be the first place that most people will look to post their concerns. Talk to us to learn more about how you can improve your online reputation and leverage the integral relationship between your business and your customers.
Identify Actions needed.
The first thing to remember, regardless of the internet marketing steps you take, is to always take a professional approach. Address any legitimate complaints that are raised. If however, you find comments that are untrue and unproven, there are other actions that you can take. Email or write to the owner of the website where the comment is placed, detailing the situation and requesting that they remove or amend the comment.
There are laws that govern online defamation but if you can get a comment removed, this is always the best route. Legal actions can be seen as negative as people will mention free speech etc, having the comment removed quietly is always the best solution.
Manage Your Domains
Some disgruntled customers and even former employees have been known to purchase similar domains to your own (like the .com when you own the .eu) and post harmful information or reviews there. Other possible domains may be yourdomainHELL.com or yourdomainBADNEWS.com. These should show up when searching for your company name. If you can buy as many domains for your businesses as you can. Even if you don’t use them they won’t be able to be used against you. Also, many popular websites have different websites using a miss-spelling of the popular site’s name. Make sure you don’t have any of these which would reflect negatively on your website. E.g. a copy of your site with negative content.
Create a Positive Reputation
Even businesses that operate purely offline could find they are the subjects of poor online press. Create a simple website and become an active member of the community around it. This can help build you a reputation as an industry expert or authority and it can ensure that any negative reviews posted in the future take a back seat to the good reviews.
Ongoing Online Reputation Management
If you can run your business without making enemies or mistakes then it is highly unlikely that you will ever be on the receiving end of bad reviews. However, mistakes and accidents happen, and situations develop from even the most unlikely things. Try to fix any disagreements before they get out of hand. So if you have a problem that means you can’t meet your expectations as promised then tell your clients, potential customers, and your employees. Learn more about how social media marketing can help establish or improve your company’s online reputation.
Improving the Search Results There are many ways that people search for information on the Internet. Some people will search for your business name by typing it directly into the browser bar and adding .com (or similar) on the end. Some will use search engines to search for your website and relevant reviews. Some use social networking sites or review sites that they use most commonly. This all adds up to one thing: most people use search engines to search for information.
By using a search engine optimisation (SEO) campaign you can perhaps dominate the search results with your website, blog, and social network pages (like Facebook, Twitter etc). So when anybody searches for your company name, you have more likely to control the results that they see.
Managing Your Reputation Online
Managing an online reputation could become a full-time job but should be considered a part of your digital marketing strategy. There is great value in using the Internet as a research tool and this is a trend that is still growing. You need to have a website of your own and if you don’t already manage your reputation online then you should start. A good online reputation can assist in developing new relationships and generating new leads.
However, a poor online reputation could lose you money and the longer you leave it, the more difficult it becomes to control and recover. When someone is looking at a product online and they can’t touch or see it they trust people’s reviews more than your description. That is why a good reputation is critical. Visit our site to check out how your business can stay up to speed with today’s digital media technologies.