So, you’ve created refreshing and customized brand strategies for your business, and you’ve diligently engineered the direction of your advertising and marketing efforts. It looks like everything’s coming up roses, until one day, people start writing unflattering remarks about your business online.
What will you do then? How will you respond to negative reviews when, for instance, the websites in which they appear do not even provide any opportunity for you to respond? What if the reviews appear in social media sites, where thousands of other customers and potential customers are able to see them?
Online reputation management is key
Online reputation management is the process of improving or restoring a company or individual’s reputation by managing or influencing search results for online queries about that business or person.
Before anything else, it should be noted that you can minimize negative statements about your business by simply ensuring that your customer service and the quality of your products or services are top-notch. It’s going to be hard to put down a good name when so many other people are willing to vouch for it.
Nevertheless, you can’t always prevent people from posting negative remarks about you online, no matter how assiduously you work to provide them a positive customer experience. For example, a person might receive a faulty product after ordering from your ecommerce site. You discover it’s the manufacturer’s fault, but your company bears the brunt of the customer’s ire nonetheless. On another occasion, an awful employee might provide one of your clients a less-than-stellar customer service. Most frustratingly, what if some guy — a troll perhaps —posts defamatory statements about your business for no reason at all?
If these negative comments appear on the first several entries in search engine results pages (SERPs) when people search for you online, then you really must try to counter these entries by increasing the amount of positive information about your business that is in circulation.
What you can do
Create a solid reviews and testimonials page on your website
Who else would be better ambassadors for your business than your employees and those customers who have continuously had positive experience dealing with you? You should build a strong reviews and testimonials page on your website where these people can share great things about your company.
Allow customers to review your individual products on your website
If you have an ecommerce site, you can also include a review module on each of your product pages. If a product receives criticism, make sure to respond to that customer and make a promise to improve on your product or service accordingly. Your products don’t even need to a have perfect 5-star reviews all the time. In fact, receiving less-than-perfect marks sometimes can add to the credibility of your review system.
Create off-site reviews and testimonials
Aside from providing a way for your customers and employees to share their testimonials about your business on your own website, you should also pay attention to what people are saying about you in other websites. Respond to negative feedbacks whenever possible.
Also encourage your long-time employees or customers to rate you and write positive testimonials about your company in platforms like Google Reviews and Glassdoor, as well as in ecommerce sites like Amazon if you sell your products there.
Optimize your social media sites
Official brand pages in social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest usually rank highly in SERPs. Set up as many social media profiles as possible, and make sure that they are updated regularly. Also fill out all your social media profiles completely so as to optimize them for web searches.
In the event that someone writes a negative review or comment about your company, always respond promptly and professionally. If possible, take the conversation offline, and never delete their comment unless it causes offense to your other customers or to the general public.
Create high-quality content
Commit to creating high-quality content that provides value to your readers. You can do this both on your own website or in other websites as a guest blogger. The more top-quality content you produce, the greater the chance that these content pieces will gain more traction among Internet users, thus helping them rank higher than the negative information about your business.
Be listed in reputable directories and business listings
Lastly, also get your business listed in high-quality directories, like your town or local chamber of commerce’s business listings. Also try out websites like Yellow Pages and Yelp.
Remember to monitor what people say about you online regularly and to take the necessary steps to ensure that positive information about your business outranks the negative ones. Online reputation management is a very important responsibility, and how successfully you do it can significantly impact your goals.