The walls between online and IRL (in real life) are crumbling. What people are saying about your company online matters in real life. Reputation management in the form of reviews, comments and videos posted online can have a big impact on not just your reputation but your bottom line as well.
So how do you make sure your online reputation is solid? Here are four online reputation management steps to take to help improve or maintain a great online reputation.
Monitor online comments
It’s important to understand what’s being said online. Monitor web pages like review sites, social media and neighborhood groups to keep an eye out for postings about your organization. Because it can be time consuming, many companies don’t prioritize this. But consider it a wealth of candid information that can be used to make improvements across the organization. You may uncover the next great opportunity for your business.
Respond in a polite and timely manner
When appropriate, respond to online comments — the good and the bad. This outreach shows a commitment to your customers. Respond in the same way a customer service person would on the phone or in person. And remember, you are not having a private conversation. Keep your message positive and try to connect offline if it requires further discussion. Messages that come off as defensive or aggressive will not be received well by current or potential customers.
Clean up false information
Nobody wants to see negative comments or bad reviews about their company. But everyone has a right to their own opinion. You can’t force someone to remove or change a comment unless it is illegal in nature. Potentially illegal content includes things like false information, intent to harm a company’s reputation and defamatory language. Legal action can be taken against comments like this in order to have them removed.
Promote positive content
A study of Google search results found that individuals view less than 2 percent of searches below the top five results on the first page. If the first page of search results about your company includes negative information, it’s time for a concentrated SEO strategy to push those results to a different page. Focus on increasing the search rankings of positive information from your own website or credible third-party sites.
As more and more people search for information online before picking up the phone or visiting a business, the importance of online reputation management will continue to increase. Following these steps and remembering to be proactive, transparent and positive in your communications will go a long way to building and keeping a good reputation online.What happens after the phone call: Reputation management in the online world