Managing your online reputation is like saving a computer from malicious hackers and viruses.
Just as a computer owner might install anti-virus software to protect against attacks, organizations should have an authentic, vigilant digital presence to protect against threats that require online reputation management repair.
These seven proactive steps will help you build a positive presence and mitigate the adverse effects of negative links:
1. Google your website. Google your organization’s name and negative keywords associated with it to gauge the perception of your online image. Reputation management and digital marketing experts concur that Google’s algorithm often favors negative coverage, and even mugshots, which can put any individual or company at a severe disadvantage. Negative content—like a rogue employee’s unwise social media post or fallout from a PR crisis—can damage a company’s reputation and its ability to attract new clients.
2. Stay on top of alert notifications. Use keyword monitoring tools to notify you of any activity or information posted about your organization. Google Alerts, a free service, will send an email notification when your organization’s name or news about key employees appears online.
3. Google Local Listings. This service provides a Google dashboard with the exact name, website link, contact details and reviews posted about your business. The platform allows for editing of profiles and feedback ratings for a particular business. A local consumer review survey has verified that “84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and 58 percent of consumers say that the star rating of a business is most important.”
4. Keep an active social media presence. Social media is great for marketing and education, but it’s also a great way to monitor how people feel about your business. Encourage friends and allies to post positive reviews of your business, and take steps to combat negative reviews.
5. Publish positive content. It’s OK to toot your own horn. Consistently post positive content that demonstrates how your business creates value and helps people. Don’t go over the top with singing your own praises, but do highlight your people and products. Telling your story can be buffer your brand against future negative coverage or customer reviews.
6. Pursue a zero-hour response. When someone posts a criticism or complaint, don’t ignore it. Respond quickly and decisively to resolve the situation.
Quite often, people just want to be heard, and quickly addressing concerns with empathy can turn lemon into lemonade and haters into fans.
Make sure you have an internal complaint response and resolution process. Your employees must be coached and trained on the importance of addressing negative reviews in a timely, empathetic manner. Also, do not forget to thank the consumers who have posted positive feedback.
7. Allocate resources. A positive reputation management and crisis budget is important to communicate effectively. This area is worthy of resources, so don’t neglect it.
Updates, promotional advertising and other digital assets that can be found on search engine results require a consistent investment of time and resources. Your online reputation is a potent strategic asset; make sure it’s protected.