When you think of digital marketing strategies, what comes to mind? Most likely you’re thinking about the actions you can take to promote your business and brand, like blogging, SEO research, and keeping up with your social media accounts. This is all well and good, but in each of these examples, you have the ultimate control over what is said, or shown, about you online. But, what about all of the things you can’t control?
Bad reviews on well-known review sites, a listing on RipoffReport.com, some less-than-desirable pictures that make their way into the online public arena, or perhaps a full on product-bashing video that goes viral on YouTube? These scenarios can be devastating to all of the positive momentum you have built thus far. In these cases, reputation management is key in order to make your way through the muck and emerge all nice and shiny again.
Here are 6 ways you can work to protect your online reputation, and stop negative fodder from gaining momentum.
- Hire a professional reputation manager. There is a reason why Public Relations is a multi-billion dollar industry. If you are running a successful company, you don’t have time to also run the advertising side of things, not to mention dealing with reputation management when something goes awry. Even if you did have the time, there’s a good chance you don’t have the know-how to do it right. That’s where professional PR firms come in. Our job is to manage your online reputation, promoting the good, burying the bad, and keeping your business’s brand growing in a positive direction.
- DIY reputation management. If you aren’t ready to enlist the big guns, you can sign up with affordable sites, like BrandYourself.com. You can register three sources, like your website and LinkedIn profile, and it provides suggestions/repair tips. However, as your company grows, you will probably need something more powerful.
- Be everywhere. The key to being found by search engines, is to have lots of quality content in as many locations as possible. This includes your own website and blog, of course, but it also means being visible on a variety of social media sites, such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Vine and Instagram, etc. The more content you produce, the more likely potential web searchers will find the good stuff about you, rather than the few negative comments or reviews that might be floating around out there.
- Don’t take it too personally. Negative reviews are bound to happen, but when it gets too personal, business owners have a tendency to over-engage, which can come across looking petty or immature. Your best bet is to not respond at all, if it’s an obviously outrageous complaint/rant, or take care of it professionally and efficiently. This is the path to reputation management that impresses the masses. Also, make sure you say, “thank you!” and engage positively with customers who post positive reviews.
- Buy Yourself. Well, your domains, that is. Make sure you own the YourCompanyName.org, .com, and .net domains if they’re available, and then post quality content to keep them visible on the search engine radar. You can buy them via GoDaddy.com
- Sign Yourself Up. List your name, your company’s name, and any other names you want to keep track of on Google Alerts, Newsle.com, and Mention.net. That way, when any name you register appears in a news article, blog, or social media site, you’ll be alerted.
At the end of the day, the key to reputation management is providing so much great, relevant, informational content out there that a few negative postings will never have the chance to bury you.