In the modern business environment, almost nothing is as important as your online reputation. The impression your customers get from your website, social media accounts, online reviews, and general digital presence can make or break sales. A strong, positive online reputation can lead to business pouring in, while a black mark on your virtual record can drag you down. Take control of customers’ first impressions of your brand with professional online reputation management.
The Role of Online Reputation Management in Business
The business-customer relationship has changed enormously over the years. While in the past it was difficult for customers to express their concerns, today it’s easy. With just the click of a button, an angry customer can post a scathing business review that thousands of other web users see. If bad reviews or other negative online press gain enough traction, these are what can pop up when users search for your brand or keywords, not your website or social media accounts.
Adding to the importance of a positive online reputation is the trend toward consumers only supporting brands they trust. According to predictions by Forrester, 2018 will be a “year of reckoning” for brands that have lost love from consumers. Customer trust and experience are more important than ever – arguably the most important focus areas for a modern business. Customers are engaging with brands more often through outlets such as social media. These outlets provide a great opportunity to win over consumers, but the risks are just as great as the rewards. One misstep could derail a company’s online reputation.
When consumers blacklist a company for poor customer service, low-quality items, or other mishaps it puts that company in a tough position. Negative reviews can stay on the internet forever. Although some positive outcomes can arise from a bad review, such as consumers seeing your company as honest and legitimate, too many marks against you can sink your brand. Online reputation management is the key to balancing company transparency with positive publicity. Having a plan in place is critical for any brand that wants to remain in consumers’ good graces.
3 Key Elements of Online Reputation Management
Online reputation management encompasses a variety of tasks and strategies to put out public relations fires and boost a brand’s reputation. Each company’s strategy will differ according to individual goals and the buzz that’s already circulating. Good online reputation management relies on reacting well to what people are saying about your company, or not reacting at all when appropriate. Reputation management takes a proactive approach to minimize the odds of taking a misstep that costs you millions. The following are key elements most online reputation management plans will include:
- Social media monitoring. Social media is a major source of negative press for brands. When customers aren’t happy, they tend to express themselves over Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or other social accounts. Social media management (SMM) involves constant monitoring of a brand’s social accounts and immediate reaction to negative posts, when appropriate. SMM can involve creating content strategies, engaging with consumers, gaining insights into what people are saying about a brand, and using research to create more effective social media marketing campaigns.
- Review monitoring. Negative posts on social media are dangerous, but generally will not appear in a Google search for your site. Negative reviews, on the other hand, can appear in the first page of search engine results pages (SERP) and remain online forever. Review management can involve steps to either smother or delete negative content to give your company the clean slate it needs.
- Public relations assistance. Another potential source for negative online reputation is bad press. Negative media attention can be a public relations nightmare, leading to severe drops in business and profits. It might be true that some bad publicity can be good for business, but in general unfavorable media coverage of a brand can negatively impact the company’s bottom line.
Online reputation management is not just about hiding bad things. This is unrealistic, not always possible, and can hurt your brand. Instead, it’s about responding to issues in a way that puts your brand in a positive light, no matter what the circumstances. Your consumers have the right to express their opinions about your brand – even the negative ones. Instead of ignoring negative press, deal with it in an appropriate and reputation-boosting way with good online reputation management.
How to Boost Your Online Reputation
Defending yourself against a potential onslaught of online backlash can feel overwhelming. You can’t simply make the bad press disappear. Instead, you must deal with it in a way that leaves your brand’s reputation intact. The key is in how you react to negative sentiments and posts about your business. The following are proven ways to persevere in the face of negative media:
- Consistent SEO. Search engine optimization (SEO) is vital to the health of your brand’s reputation. Even before anyone has anything negative to say, SEO can help customers notice your company and increase organic brand awareness. After something happens to negatively impact your online reputation, aggressive SEO can increase the rank of your positive content enough to suppress or replace the negative.
- Removing negative reviews. It may be possible to remove a bad review if the customer said something false about your brand, included inappropriate language in the review, or if it’s clear that the customer intended to damage your online reputation instead of to tell the truth. Discuss your options for removing reviews with your online reputation manager.
- Constantly monitor your reputation. Your online reputation is forever. The best way to stay on top of changes and challenges is with constant monitoring. Prevention is always better than trying to repair a damaged reputation. Hire someone to manage your social media accounts, reviews, and other online elements and react as fast as is appropriate. Delaying your response to a negative comment could hurt your brand, while sometimes it’s better not to say anything at all. The right management company can inform your online reputation strategy.
One of the most important things to remember is to keep your emotions in check. Don’t give in to the desire to lash out against a customer who said something negative. This can only sink your online reputation further. Instead, work out an appropriate response to put out the fire with your online reputation manager.
Why Invest in Online Reputation Management Services?
A positive online reputation can work wonders for your brand. Today’s consumers place more and more weight on social media posts, customer service, and consumer reviews. Make sure to position your company in a way that will allow it to succeed with help from a professional online reputation management company. Trusting the professionals is important for something as critical as your brand’s reputation. Otherwise, you could make a fatal error from which your brand can’t recover.
Vizion Interactive offers a variety of social media management solutions, including social media auditing, promoting, and monitoring. We can help your company develop the ideal strategy for you, as well as introducing special tools that can help you manage your reputation and quell bad press. No matter where you stand in the online community or what your goals are for the future, our certified experts can ensure your company has the best reputation possible. Our social media, SEO, content marketing, and public relations managed services can give you everything you need for positive brand recognition. Call (888) 484-9466 to learn more.