With this post, we introduce a new writer to the Posirank.com blog – Joseph Bradford. Joe is one of our “aces in the hole,” so-to-speak, and is our in-house, staff go-to guy who exclusively handles all of our incoming reputation management service orders. In this post, he speaks directly from his area of expertise in RM in a very understandable way. If you manage sites for others or just your own site, you need to stay on top of your (or your clients) online reputation. . . . Rob Andrews, VP Operations, Posirank.com.
In the current digital world, how you’re perceived online can greatly impact your business potential. Thanks to the rise of social media, every customer has the ability to influence the perception of your brand – from negative reviews, posts on message boards or blog posts.
But how does one go about combating negative results that can affect your bottom line? Thankfully, reputation management gives you the ability to ensure that your online presence isn’t damaged by disparaging content.
What is Reputation Management?
Reputation Management is a way of controlling what results customers see when they search your brand online. This could be from ensuring that all sites associated with your brand drown out negative reviews and more, to simply ensuring that if a review is negative that it isn’t malicious or harmful.
How people perceive your brand – whether it’s an employer researching you for a prospective job opportunity, a politician running for office or a company selling a service or a product – can have a direct impact on your bottom line overall.
P.T. Barnum once said that there’s “no such thing as bad publicity.” However, I’m sure even Barnum would change his tune and recommend reputation management if he were living in the digital age. Online reviews now carry a lot more weight than they used to.
According to Bright Local, a Local Consumer Review Survey from 2017 showed that 97% of consumers surveyed looked online for a local business in 2017, with 85% of those consumers trusting an online review as much as they would trust a personal recommendation. Publicity – good or bad – matters in how your brand is perceived much more than the actual content of your website.
Types of negative content
Say someone googles your brand name and the second result on page 1 has to do with a client who was upset with previous service. Sites like Ripoff Report and Pissed Consumer make it incredibly easy to vent frustration with a company.
Frustratingly, Google has a tendency to rank those reviews pretty high, especially if no care has been taken to cultivate your online reputation in the past. Negative reviews are going to happen – you will never make everyone satisfied with your service. That’s life.
Sometimes those reviews aren’t honest and aimed at taking your business down as much as possible. Harmful content is posted and taken as gospel by potential customers, detrimentally affecting your bottom line. Additionally, negative press can scare away many customers.
Some angry clients will even create ad hoc websites bent on burying you in a deluge of negative press. These are the types of content to look out for when policing your online reputation.
How do you combat negative results?
Dealing with negative results can be a hassle, especially on your own. Anyone with a social media account to have an active voice, affecting your overall online reputation.
As a result, managing all the potential mentions of your brand can be incredibly tedious. However, with the right help and tools, you can combat some of the worst examples of harmful results.
- Respond to criticism politely and timely. Being able to respond to criticism in a way that makes your company look good helps assure potential customers that you take feedback seriously. Respond to criticism in a timely manner, addressing concerns and explaining how you can fix the problem, or if you disagree with the issue.However, be polite and empathetic the whole time. A combative company looks like one that cannot take feedback and will make people less willing to trust you with their issues if they should arise.
- Have an aggressive SEO plan. Addressing client concerns doesn’t get those results off the first two pages of Google, however. Have a plan in place to boost positive results – either first party pages such as blog posts or your website, or third party like a social profile or news article – is key to ensuring that your image is as good as it possibly can be.
Treat the first page of Google as your business card. Everything a client sees on there should convey trust and quality. Aggressively tackling search engine issues isn’t easy – or even quick in some cases, however it is key to ensuring your reputation management efforts stand the test of time. (PosiRank can help here!)
Knowing which sites to rank on Google’s first page matters too. Profiles such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and more rank exceptionally well and can help frame your overall page one presence. Additionally, using sites such as WordPress.com, Vimeo and Google + to boost your company can help solidify the bottom of page 1, pusing negative results towards page 2.According to an article by Search Engine People, 75% of clicks go to the first page of search results. Owning page 1 can pay dividends towards ensuring your online reputation is where it should be.
- Reaching out to review sites to take down harmful reviews. There is a difference between a negative review and an outright harmful review. A negative review that conveys truth, especially one you can respond to and set aright. Some sites are willing to pull reviews if they are untruthful and it’s worth reaching out and getting those pulled.
This goes a long way in framing your business more positively. Reaching out and getting untruthful and harmful reviews taken down is a key part of any great reputation management plan.
Ensuring your online reputation reflects a positive image can help to lock down prospective clients for your business. It can even help lock down a job offer with a picky employer. The time and energy your pour into this can go a long way in helping build the right reflection of your business.
It’s not easy, but reputation management is definitely worth the effort. Treat your page 1 results like you would any outward facing marketing for your business. Just remember – if you need help with your reputation management needs, PosiRank can always help!
Featured image via Pixabay