Online reputation management services have become less of a “nice-to-have”, and more of a necessity. As our lives becomes more enwrapped in the internet and social media, businesses need more than an online presence — they need a top-shelf online reputation.
For many, your online reputation is the only reputation that matters.
Why is your online reputation so important?
Your online reputation is your Good Housekeeping seal today. For instance, 92% of B2B buyers reported using online research at some point during the purchasing process. If your online reputation takes a nose dive — due to critical comments or negative publicity — you can be sure it will turn off your potential buyers.
Unfortunately, in our internet-based world, people feel no shame in overtly and maliciously criticizing a person or company onlline. So how can you combat this trend without being drawn into an internet battle?
How do you keep one person’s extreme opinion from harming your entire business? What should you do if negative news begins to circulate about your business? You can make online reputation management part of your ongoing solution.
There are many parts that go into building a good reputation. Let’s look at how you can manage your online reputation effectively and boost your overall B2B marketing strategy.
Businesses need more than an online presence. They need a top-shelf online reputation .
15 Powerful Tips and Tricks to Use When You Need Online Reputation Management Services
1. Earn the Respect of Your Audience
Respect is a precious commodity for all businesses — especially when it comes to online reputation management. Listen to your propsects and customers, and be responsive to what they tell you, good or bad. You can also win respect by being consistent — don’t say one thing and then do another.
2. Monitor Your Online Reputation
In order to stomp out criticism before it reaches damaging proportions, you need to keep track of it. Respond quickly to negative comments or criticism before these become too much to handle. You can do this cheaply and simply with Google Alerts — set up an alert for your company name and personal name, then monitor it regularly to see what comes up.
Beyond negative remarks, monitoring your online reputation will help you to be more available to your audience. Some buyers in the process of evaluating your company will take to social media networks like Twitter and Facebook to ask questions. The amount of time it takes you to respond to these questions can either boost or hurt your reputation. Assign someone to monitor your social media accounts for questions or comments, and respond promptly.
3. Don’t Hide Criticism
Be transparent . This means owning up to criticism as well as praise. If you try to hide or delete critical remarks — which will inevitably catch up to you — people might wonder why you did it. They may even suspect there was some truth to it.
Transparency is the signature of a trusted and reputable company. Negative remarks are considered a part of life, and don’t necessarily harm your reputation. How you respond is often more important than the remark itself — as we’ll discuss later.
Transparency is the mark of a trusted and reputable company.
4. React Quickly
When criticism or bad publicity first spreads, journalists will look for any response from you on the issue. If they don’t find any, people assume that a lack of response points to guilt.
Spare yourself by responding as soon as a negative comment or review comes to your attention. Even a “We are looking into the situation” can keep a negative comment from exploding out of proportion.
5. Be Polite
Remember, any comments you make on social media or online review boards will be read by others. And people will draw conclusions based on the way you respond.
No matter how rude or unwarranted the negative comments are, your business will be held to a higher standard. A polite response may be hard to think of, but in the end it will be a boon to your online reputation.
6. Beef Up SEO
SEO is a great weapon to combat bad publicity. When used correctly, SEO can give you elite first page status on Google. This is where people go to for top, trusted businesses. Make sure your business appears there to quench any lingering doubts in the minds of potential customers.
But what if the bad publicity appears on Google’s first page? If you can’t resolve the negative comment and get it removed, then seek to push it off the first page with more positive results. For instance, you might…
- Register your business with directories with high page ranks
- Send out press releases on a regular basis
- Guest blog
- Comment regularly on other blogs
- Create profiles for your company on social and other networks
7. Spring Into Action Against Illegitimate Attackers
When someone takes illegal steps to damage your reputation, don’t be afraid to take action. When you or your company are slandered, you have the right to sue the person responsible. Reserve this option for extreme cases where the accusations are extremely damaging and completely false. If it’s simply a negative comment or review, use some of the other methods listed here.
Quick action on your part will put out the fire, and show others that there wasn’t any truth in it.
8. Own Up to Mistakes and Learn From Them
It’s only human to make mistakes. Don’t act ashamed of simple mistakes by hiding away from them. Instead, own up to them. When you get criticism from legitimate sources, take it and learn from it. When you handle it this way, your earn more respect.
When you get criticism from legitimate sources, take it and learn from it.
9. Encourage Positive Reviews
As we said before, reviews are a natural part of the modern business scene — whole websites are dedicated solely to business reviews. Encourage happy customers to post reviews on such sites.
10. Showcase the Positive
A great way to combat negative comments is to place positive comments front and center. Case studies and customer testimonials are a key way to do this.
Ask your current customers if they would be willing to share some of their experiences of working with your company. Ask them what problems led them to seek out your product or service, and how your company has resolved those challenges. These personal details, especially when shared in your customer’s own voice, can beef up your online reputation and diminish the impact of any negative comments.
11. Use Images to Your Advantage
We are officially in the visual age — where many people want to see what a company is more than read about it. And many people draw conclusions based on a company’s or individual’s images.
A great way to boost your online reputation is through posting images on your social networks. Use images that represent your company and brand well. This could be a current project your company is working on, or a charitable event that involves your company.
If this is more about your personal brand’s reputation, then include images with a more personal feel. You could include a photo of you with your family, or showing what you do in your offtime. Remember, though, that it should paint you in a positive light.
12. Share Your Personal Side
Potential customers don’t want to think about companies as cold and distant — they want to know the people behind the company. This doesn’t mean you have to flood the internet with personal details about yourself. But you do want to share some minor personal details.
Let your audience see your personality, whether it’s in your content or social media networks. Do you have a particular sense of humor or personality quirk that sets you apart? Share that. Are you passionate about a particular cause or hobby? Let your audience know.
These small details make people feel like they know you — and will make them less likely to listen to negative comments.
13. Create High Quality Content
Your content can be a tremendous boon to your online reputation, helping you become an industry thought leader. The more you can position yourself as an authority within your industry, the less likely any negative comments will be taken seriously.
Start by answering the most common questions that people ask your company. If they can readily find the answers to their questions, it will cut down on criticism. Create a wide range of content — some short posts that answer simple questions, and other, long-form content such as white papers and eBooks that go more in-depth into industry issues.
14. Guest Post or Be Interviewed by Respectable People
You can use somebody’s positive reputation to boost yours even further. It’s human nature to group people into categories. You can use this to your advantage by associating your name with a well-respected name in your industry. Offer to guest post on someone’s blog, or be the subject of an interview with a popular host. Your high quality content can help make this happen.
15. Bring in the Professionals
PR agencies that specialize in online reputation management services can truly be your ace in the hole. These agencies are fully prepared and experienced to pounce into action when a problem arises. They know what to do — and more importantly, what not to do — to protect your business from any reputation damage.
Don’t just use these professionals when problems arise. It’s better to get out in front of the problem by working with professionals to build a solid reputation right now.
Key Points to Remember…
- Never hide negative remarks or reviews. Transparency will earn you respect.
- Monitor the internet and social media for any comments on your company — and be quick to respond.
- Always respond politely to negative comments; don’t sink to the level of the commenter. Your courtesey will position you in a positive and respected light.
- Hire a capable agency to manage your online reputation even before negative remarks surface, and be even more prepared to deal with criticism.
Your company’s online reputation is an important component of your B2B marketing strategy, and needs constant attention. When done right, a good online reputation will attract new customers to your business, and support your future goals.