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5 Online Reputation Management Tips for Your Business

Tue, Apr 16, 2013

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You might have thought that managing your reputation in the real world was difficult, at least once upon a time. But the unparalleled connectivity provided by online and mobile platforms has proven that controlling your company’s virtual image is much harder to accomplish. Now people in the UK, China, Nigeria, and Argentina can comment on your company and consumers all over the world can access their commentary, positive or negative. Your competitors can hide behind the anonymity of the internet and voice criticism, founded or not. In short, your online reputation could be in shambles despite a hard-earned, positive reputation in the real world. It is for this reason that you must do everything you can to control your brand image in the virtual arena. And here are just a few tips that will help you to build and support an online reputation that will serve to further your business on every front.

  1. Raise awareness. You can’t hope to deal with a bad reputation if you don’t know what people are saying about you. So start simply enough by doing a Google search for your company. If you’re lucky, you’ll find only the content you have created. If you find nothing at all, you’re clearly doing something wrong. But if you discover negative press, you’re in real trouble, because that is exactly what prospective customers are finding when they search for you. Becoming aware of these issues is the first step towards improving your online reputation.
  2. Play to your strengths. It’s important to know your niche and to toot your own horn. No company is perfect and you are bound to face criticism. But when you know what you do well and how to market yourself appropriately, you can shine in the online arena and counteract any negativity that’s coming your way. Instead of spending your time and energy arguing with detractors, pour your efforts into creating a positive online image that’s bigger and louder than the negative one so that you can ultimately drown it out.
  3. Control content. You cannot stop others from voicing negative opinions of your company. But there is quite a lot of content you can control. For starters, you can buy up branded domain names to stop others from squatting on them and creating negative associations with your business. The same goes for social media profiles. You can also address unfounded and even libelous reviews and commentary by going to the source, asking for items to be removed, or even speaking directly to bloggers to see if you can possibly change their minds or get equal air time (so to speak). But if all else fails, you have to remember that you have just as much of a platform as your detractors, and you can use it to create and push content that presents you in a positive light.
  4. Be proactive. It’s not enough to optimize your website and try to quash negative press. You also need to reach out to consumers via social media platforms. Of course, you can’t be expected to operate on every social networking site, but you can select a few that offer the best opportunities for outreach and put your time and effort into using them to build a positive brand image and connect with current and prospective patrons.
  5. Hire a pro. You might not be keen to shell out the dough for an online reputation management service, but if your virtual image is suffering, it could have a marked impact on sales, especially if you do little to correct it. You may want to hire a firm that is dedicated to cleaning up your online reputation and promoting you in a constructive way. If it boosts your popularity and sales it’s worth every penny.

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