The Internet gives you access to a wide audience that can help you spread the word about your business and build your brand. But just as the Internet has the potential to benefit your business, it can also hurt it and leave your brand image in shambles.
Companies live or die by what is said about them online. In just a matter of minutes, an upset customer can write a horrid review of your business and it can spread like wildfire.
Online reputation management enables you to repair small issues before they grow out of control.
The first step in building a positive online reputation is to keep track of what is being said about you, your company, and your products or services online. You can monitor your online reputation by regularly searching for keywords related to your brand on search engines and signing up for Google Alerts, so you receive a notification every time your brand is mentioned.
If you proactively monitor your online reputation, you’ll be able to react to what is being said about you immediately. And don’t just react to negative feedback – show your customers that you appreciate their positive comments by sincerely thanking them. You can also share positive comments you’ve received via social media to further enhance your brand image.
Get Active in Social Media
Register your company’s username on social networking sites, like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, which tend to rank well in search engines. There are new social networks cropping up each day, so if you don’t act quickly, somebody else could claim your company’s username on a popular social network.
Creating profiles on various social media sites is a great way to control the search results for your company’s name. It will also ensure that customers know where to look for official information and updates from your company.
A growing number of consumers are turning to social media to share their brand experiences. Use social media as a medium for communicating with customers, providing customer service, and responding to comments, both positive and negative.
The worst thing you can do is ignore negative feedback!
When somebody posts criticism about your company, take the time to apologize and tell your side of the story without sounding arrogant or defensive. By responding cordially to the complaints of disgruntled customers, you’re at least showing the world that you’re aware of the negative feedback and are willing to resolve the issue.
Enhance your brand’s online reputation by making an effort to answer questions and help people whenever possible. The more positive, helpful comments you make on blogs, forums, and websites in your industry, the more positive occurrences of your brand there will be online and the more resilient your company’s reputation will become.
Post Content on a Regular Basis
Google and other search engines favor websites that post fresh content often, so make sure you post frequently, even if it’s just a small update about your company. If you create and post original content on a regular basis, it will rank higher than content about your brand posted by others.
Edward Kundahl, Ph.D., M.B.A.