As a business owner, there are dozens of different variables you need to watch in order to increase your company’s chances of succeeding. Finding reliable providers and purchasing all the necessary goods at a good price is crucial. But, you also have to take care of the intangible factors that determine how customers perceive your brand, like reputation management.
The concept of reputation management is not new. However, the adoption of internet-capable devices has transformed the way companies build and maintain a good image. Monitoring social media and all other potential channels is challenging, but it’s the only way that these organizations can understand their audience and ensure that they have a good reputation.
At Fannit, we help businesses by providing SEO, social media management, and other services that bolster our customers’ online reputation management efforts. Our team understands the importance of having a good image and ensuring that customers know the benefits of partnering with your brand.
In this article, we’ll go over the definition of reputation management, its benefits, and go over tips to help companies improve their image. Interested in learning more about search engine optimization and reputation management?
Contact our SEO experts at Fannit and we’ll be glad to help.
What is Reputation Management?
The first thing we need to do is answer the question “what is reputation management?”
In the marketing context, reputation management is the practice of influencing a company’s image through a variety of different steps. The main goal of reputation management is to ensure that the data available about your brand is accurate.
You want customers to have a clear idea of what to expect when hiring your business, so the more accurate the information about your brand, the better.
Reputation management can take on many forms, but it’s the process of ensuring that your company has a positive image in the eyes of its potential customers.
Modern consumers conduct a huge amount of research before committing to a business, so the best way to ensure that they find positive information about your brand is to take the time to manage your reputation.
While reputation management has been around a while, today’s version looks a lot different than it did a few decades ago. Some of the most important aspects to keep in mind are:
What is online reputation management? Is it the same as regular reputation management?
Reputation management is all about gauging how a business was perceived by the general public. But, before the internet, this often required focus groups and large-scale surveys, but didn’t always produce accurate results.
So, only large entities had a big enough budget to manage their reputation successfully.
The good news is that the internet has made reputation management more straightforward, and therefore, more accessible. Today, people turn to review sites, local listing pages, and other platforms to express how they feel about a brand.
With the right strategy, organizations can collect feedback directly from their customers and make the right adjustment.
Plus, these companies can also ensure that past, current, and future customers are aware of these improvements as soon as they happen.
There are many different platforms that users can employ to share their experience with your company.
Social media and search engine reputation management are both important, but you have to put in the work and identify the specific platforms that apply to your industry.
For instance, creating a list of all review platforms that specialize in your brand in order to create a profile on each one of them.
Empowers Sales and Marketing Team Members
The right online reputation management tools will allow you to build an image that impresses potential customers, which will simplify life for your sales and marketing team members.
As a matter of fact, if you build an awesome reputation for your company, you’ll empower these team members and provide them with additional tools to exceed expectations.
Essential for a Growing Business
Whether you focus mainly on social media reviews or SEO reputation management, this practice is essential to ensure that your company grows.
There are dozens of examples of large entities going under because of a tarnished reputation. Not to mention the countless businesses that have lost money due to negative information becoming public.
If you want to set up your company for success, you should proactively take the helm and focus on business reputation management. Not only will this help you react faster whenever something negative is said about your company, but it will also soften the blow in terms of how your audience reacts.
And, if you manage to maintain a stellar reputation, you’ll increase your chances of achieving exponential growth organically.
Ideal for Organizations and Individuals
It doesn’t matter if you provide services as an individual or if you have a company with a wide range of offers, reputation management is suitable for any business mod
l. Social media platforms, review sites, and other channels allow you to take control of your brand’s image regardless if you have a team or run a solo show.
With the above in mind, remember that the approach you’ll take changes depending on the type of business.
Individual specialists can always play on the human element and make themselves more accessible to their customers in order to appear more trustworthy.
Businesses, on the other hand, can either opt for a more personal approach or take advantage of the team environment to make customers feel like they have a network of professional experts available.
It’s a Sound Business Practice
While some may question the integrity of online reputation management, this process is a sound business practice as long as it’s performed ethically.
Remember, the goal of digital reputation management is to ensure that the details about your company found online are accurate.
You should not look to eliminate data or hide details about your brand just to increase your earnings.
Instead, your goal should be to deliver the best possible service and be transparent with your customer base.
In many cases, it’s better to address shortcomings than to stonewall critics, so you should take the time to develop a plan that helps you understand how customers perceive your company.
Benefits of Online Reputation Management
At this point, businesses have known for a while that people are more likely to share negative experiences rather than positive reviews. Social media and digital reputation management as a whole can help increase the number of customers that share positive reviews about any given company.
At the same time, this practice can also help businesses monitor what customers are saying, which means that these companies can react quickly whenever something negative is said about their products or services.
By taking control of your business’ narrative, you can ensure that clients understand your values and know what you stand for.
This creates a more wholesome, and often more positive, image for your company, which increases your chances of attracting more customers.
Additionally, the cost of monitoring your reputation proactively is low compared to the amount of money you can lose due to a negative review or inaccurate details.
With the right strategy, you’ll actually encourage customers to share constructive information after making a purchase in order to help other people make the right decisions.
Lastly, online reputation management can actually boost your site’s SEO and social media presence.
Google and other search engines take local listings into consideration when determining your SEO rankings.
If local listing platforms and review websites send positive indicators to search engines, there’s a higher chance of you landing in the first 10 positions (or higher!).
Do Businesses Truly Control Brand Reputation?
Online reputation management, SEO, and the performance of your business are all closely linked.
However, the only way to find the perfect combination is to understand who really controls your reputation.
The fact of the matter is that companies don’t actually have that much control over their reputations. If a client has a negative experience that’s beyond acceptable, there is very little a business can do to stop this customer from sharing it with others.
With that in mind, remember that your reputation is directly related to the quality of your products and services.
If you deliver high-quality solutions consistently, then maintaining a positive image is relatively easy.
Keep in mind that the elements that affect your reputation can be divided into two main categories, which are:
Elements that Businesses Control
Although your image is affected by a variety of elements that you can’t influence directly, there are still some areas that you can actually control. For example, you can control the content you publish via blogs and on your site pages.
Additionally, you also have control over some aspects of your social media profiles, like the contact details, business descriptions, posts, and comments.
It’s true that you can’t remove reviews from a review site or local listing platform, but you can take control of your profile on these platforms and make sure that the company information is up to date.
That said, you have to do this for every relevant platform, so simply identifying the right pages can become a tedious task.
For example, if you’re focusing on online reputation management for doctors, you’ll need to find out which media review and similar websites you need to pay attention to.
It’s usually not a major problem, but it’s worth noting that the actions of a company’s leaders also impact the way the business is perceived.
This is the reason why many prominent CEOs and similar executives maintain a low profile, even if they’re not participating in any activities that may be negatively portrayed.
Factors that Companies Can’t Control
From a marketing perspective, reputation is a volatile element that may seem easy to control but it’s actually unpredictable.
While unwarranted attacks are uncommon, companies still need to monitor all relevant channels to stop inaccurate details from being shared, including social media networks, review websites, and all relevant listing platforms.
Furthermore, remember that the way your company is perceived will vary from one customer to another.
What seems like an acceptable situation for one client may not be the same for the next, so your online reputation management strategy should be flexible enough to allow changes on the fly.
Remember, there are countless elements that can instantly change your company’s reputation.
From a product’s malfunction to writing down the wrong date for a delivery or posting an offensive image on social media, any of these relatively common factors will result in a negative image.
The best way to minimize their negative effects is to have a robust reputation management strategy and proactively influence your business’ image as much as possible.
Reputation Management Basics: What Types of Content Produce a Bad Reputation?
Just like SEO, reputation management can be approached in a variety of different ways.
However, before determining the best strategy, it’s important to understand the different types of content that can give your business a bad reputation.
No brand acquires a bad reputation on purpose, but it’s easy to make the same mistake when you’re not aware of the elements that can give you a negative image.
When it comes to online reputation management, the content a company publishes isn’t usually what gives it a bad name.
There are some exceptions, but in most cases, content that gives businesses a bad name is actually found on third-party sites.
The types of content that produce a negative reputation include, but are not limited to:
Negative News Articles and Social Media Coverage
One of the biggest problems in corporate reputation management is negative media coverage.
As the name suggests, bad media coverage occurs when news channels and other similar organizations publish negative content about a company’s practices, products, or leaders.
The results are usually catastrophic for the business being covered, especially if it provides products and services to a relatively large group of consumers.
Negative social media coverage is also extremely hard to fight, especially if the story being distributed is mostly accurate.
In these cases, brands should focus on addressing the story swiftly and taking control of the narrative by shining a light on the matter.
Unflattering Online Images
Unflattering online images can also portray the wrong image and make consumers feel like your business is not professional or respectful. In some cases, unflattering images can consist of photos of employees or company leaders in compromising situations.
Additionally, tasteless photographs taken inside of your premises and images that contain branded business assets can also completely change the way customers and people in general see your organization.
Remember, the customer journey often contains a research phase and you should assume that all the people looking up your company will be able to find any bad articles as well as unappealing images that are out there.
Inaccurate Wikipedia Articles
In the vast majority of cases, Wikipedia is a great resource.
However, the platform is also prone to having inaccurate data because articles can be edited by anyone who takes the time to submit a correction, including competitors, disgruntled customers, and other people that want to spread inaccurate information about your company.
Not only do companies have to field negative reviews, but a solid public relations plan also should also ensure that all relevant Wikipedia entries contain accurate information.
If not, you run the risk of having people make decisions based on inaccurate details.
Third-Party Blog Posts
The contents of the internet are not proactively regulated by any specific entities, which means that anyone can publish blogs about basically any topic.
Unfortunately, this includes sharing negative information about a specific company.
Business owners can take action in certain situations, but in most cases, negative third-party blog posts are often difficult to deal with.
By partnering with an online reputation management company, you can help businesses take care of a negative blog post and make sure that you have a solid public relations strategy in place.
Scam Site Entries
Scam sites often contain false discounts, promo codes, and similar entries that make a brand look bad even if it’s not related to these fraudulent platforms.
This is a risk that all businesses take after they pass a certain growth threshold, but companies that have fewer resources tend to develop a negative reputation that lingers for a longer period of time.
With the right reputation management software and team, you can ensure that your site stays off fraudulent platforms and increase your chances of building a good reputation.
What Reputation Platforms Do Should You Monitor?
The most important reputation management channel you need to monitor is also the only one you have direct control over: your website.
Again, you won’t purposefully publish content that makes your business look bad. So, you need to pay attention to customer experience and all the elements that affect how people feel on your website.
This includes speed site, design elements, type of language used, the quality of your content, and other variables.
That said, your website is not the only channel you need to monitor.
Third-party platforms that collect customer reviews from your target market also need to be analyzed on a regular basis, not to mention local listing sites and social networks.
A review site is a platform that allows people to share their experience with a company’s products or services.
The goal of these platforms is to help users make an informed decision based on what clients had to say about a business.
Some of the most popular review sites include TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google Reviews. Creating or claiming your profile on all of these is essential.
But, depending on your industry, there may also be more obscure review sites you need to monitor.
Local listing sites are similar to review websites because most of these allow people to write online reviews about companies they’ve hired. The main goal of a local listing site, however, is to help users find service or product providers in their area and provide contact information for these businesses.
As with online review sites, your business may have a local listing profile without your knowledge.
The best way to avoid bad surprises is to adopt a proactive stance, scout out the different platforms that are relevant to your business, and take control of your profiles.
Social media networks serve a huge variety of purposes, one of which is to help people find and connect with businesses that provide the right solutions.
In addition to creating an attractive and functional social media profile for your business, you also need to pay close attention to what your audience has to say.
When using social media networks like Facebook, people can share their experiences by rating your business page.
In other cases, you’ll have to join meaningful conversations, run polls, and find other creative ways to gauge your audience’s sentiment towards your brand.
Reputation Management 101: How to Manage Online Reputation
Most businesses’ long-term marketing strategy focuses on distributing positive content, but this isn’t enough to influence the way people see these companies.
To develop effective plans, companies should work with reputation managers that know how to collect positive reviews and deal with negative reviews properly.
Smaller businesses that have a limited budget can conduct basic Google reputation management in order to boost their reputation. Some of the steps these brands need to take include:
Monitor All Relevant Channels
As we covered before, there are multiple channels that people use to discuss their experience when working with a specific company.
To manage your online reputation properly, you need to monitor review platforms, listing sites, social media networks, and any other channel that’s relevant to your industry.
Monitoring the different channels may be one of the most time-consuming tasks of the reputation management process, but it’s also a crucial step you need to take.
In these cases, reputation management companies can lighten the load because these experts have access to specialized tools and extensive knowledge on influencing consumer perception.
Claim and Create Online Profiles
After creating a list of the most relevant review, listing, and social media platforms, you should search for your business on each one.
Whenever you get a positive result, you should claim the profile to gain control of the information that appears on that platform.
Remember, you don’t have to wait until your company profile is created by someone who wants to share his or her experience with your brand.
Instead, you should proactively create profiles on all relevant platforms and ensure that the information on these pages is always updated.
Manage Reviews and Customer Feedback
Once you have control of all your profiles, you’ll start receiving notifications whenever a user leaves a review about your business. Remember, most sites rely on transparency, so they won’t allow you to change negative reviews.
In some cases, you may be able to get reviews removed if you can prove they are inaccurate or that they come from a competitor, but this usually takes several different steps.
The good news is that you can still take control of your reputation by tapping into your pool of satisfied customers. As long as you deliver excellent service, you’ll have a group of happy customers who would be happy to share their experience with your company.
If you get a bad review, you can always ask happy customers to share their experience in order to remove the negative review from the top of your profile and dilute its effect.
Leverage SEO and Social Media to Boost Online Reputation
There are many different types of online marketing strategies you can implement, but SEO and social media are among the most flexible in terms of required investment.
But, both of these approaches have the ability to generate significant return-on-income (ROI), as long as you have the right plan in place.
One of the reasons why both of these are so successful is because they build a better online reputation for your company on extremely visible platforms.
Search engines and social media networks are among the top resources that people use when looking for a business.
So, your public relations plan should not only focus on finding negative content, but also on leveraging SEO and social media to give your business a better name on search results as well as social platforms.
10 Tips on Improving Your Online Reputation Management Efforts After a Bad Review
One of the biggest challenges with reputation management online is that reviews and similar negative content remains accessible for extended periods of time.
That said, companies that implement a sound public relations strategy can learn to maneuver bad online reviews while publishing positive content in a strategic way to help boost reputation.
Let’s go over our top 10 picks to help you improve your search results and overall reputation after you’ve received bad reviews.
Earn a Good Name for Your Company
This may seem obvious, but it’s harder to build a good reputation from scratch rather than attempting to rebuild your name after receiving bad reviews. In other words, you shouldn’t wait until people start giving you bad reviews to take action.
Instead, you should work on building a great reputation for your brand beforehand, which will increase your earnings and simplify the process if you ever have to deal with negative reviews.
Gone are the days when customers didn’t care where their products came from.
Today, your target marketing will likely demand to know where you source your goods, how fairly you treat your team members, and your stance on other ethical matters.
Instead of shying away from it, you should be transparent about who you are as a business and what your employees stand for.
Monitor the Audience
Maintaining a good reputation online isn’t only about getting positive reviews. Even if you have the highest scores on Yelp and other platforms, one negative blog post or industry report can become a problem.
To truly get a solid idea of where you stand in terms of your target market and overall industry, you should reach out to past customers as well as social media followers to determine how your audience truly perceives you.
Address All Complaints Promptly
One of the biggest mistakes that inexperienced rep managers make is not addressing all complaints in time.
Instead of ignoring them, you should address every message in order to deliver the best possible customer service. Organizations that provide the best support have identified the link between growth and superb customer service, so they know from firsthand experience that reputation matters.
Respond to Criticism
In addition to questions and comments, you should also take the time to address criticism, especially if it’s warranted.
You can take your time when addressing a problem that’s inaccurate
Establish a Good Reputation on Google Search Results
According to Google’s research, 63% of purchase occasions begin with a digital platform.
Given that Google is the world’s leading engine, it’s safe to assume that there’s a strong correlation between how your site appears on the platform’s search results page and your brand reputation management.
Simply put, you need to ensure that the way your pages appear on Google search results increases your chances of getting noticed.
This means implementing schema markup to feature reviews, snippets, and other rich content.
Understand What Customers Like and Dislike
You may have heard that learning about your audience is the best way to build a winning strategy and this concept is especially true if you want to achieve a good reputation online.
Take the time to study your audience and learn something new about these people every day. This will help guarantee that you understand the people that look for your services while boosting the results you get in the long run.
Flag Inappropriate Behavior
Despite the fact that the internet is not regulated in itself, you may still be able to take action whenever a business or individual tries to spread misinformation about your brand.
If you start seeing inaccurate reviews, slanderous materials, and other content damaging your company name, you may be able to reach out to certain entities to get the false details removed. This includes Google, social media networks, and in some cases, the authorities.
Don’t Repeat Mistakes
As with customer services, owners have been attempting to create a positive image for their brands for decades, if not centuries.
To make the most of the collective knowledge available, you should analyze mistakes that you and other companies have committed in order to avoid repeating these in the future.
Call for Backup, When Necessary
Establishing a good company name and taking control of your public image is a full-time task, especially if you’re trying to change a bad perception that people have of your brand.
While keeping this part of your business in-house may seem convenient, it can end up putting a lot of stress on your internal team.
In some cases, the most cost-effective way to handle public relations is to work with a reputation management company that can help you establish a better image and deliver outstanding customer service.
Want to Find Out More About Reputation Management? Contact Fannit Today
As one of the leading online marketing and reputation management companies in Washington, our main goal is to help you manage your digital image as much as possible and ensure that the reviews about your business reflect the quality of your solutions.
If you want to learn more about search engine optimization and online rep management solutions, contact Fannit today. Our team will be happy to help!
More helpful reading: