In 2010, Kevin Smith, an American film director, was kicked out of a Southwest airline flight for being “too fat” according to him. He proceeded to tweet up a storm and his angry comments were read and shared by his millions of outraged followers who went ahead to “roast” the airline without hearing their own side of the story. Fortunately, the folks at Southwest averted an imminent crash land of their reputation by tweeting apologies to Mr. Smith and explaining their own version of the incidence on their blog.
In this information age, having an online presence offers tremendous opportunities for businesses to boost their visibility and sales. At the same time, the internet opens them up to attacks from consumers and even competitors that could damage their reputation.
People are at liberty to come online and create potentially damaging content about your company whether backed by fact or not. This makes it imperative that businesses develop effective strategies to safeguard their reputation and manage possibly damaging mentions and reviews.
We have outlined some simple yet highly effective tips to help your brand avoid having a pariah status on the internet:
Check The Search Engines Periodically
Start by running your name through the various search engines. Check the results that populate to see if there are some that have the same name as you. Check out the kind of content that turns up against your company if they project your brand positively or contain negative and less than desirable information about you. Is all the web content, social media mentions and images that show up about you and your business consistent with your brand?
Repeat the searches at least once a month and act the moment anything negative shows up. You can directly contact the site and ask them to remove the unfavourable content.
While this might not work all the time, its worth trying. You can also post more quality content on your site and social media platform to rank higher on search engines.
Creating lots of quality sites and social media platforms with your brand name will ensure you rank multiple times on the main page when a search is carried out on your name, brand or business. This can counter the effects of any bad publicity.
Set-Up Google Alerts To Monitor Your Brand
For a more effective monitoring of your online footprint, employ the use of software like Google Alerts which automatically lets you know whenever your name, business or brand is mentioned online.
Google alerts is free and can be set up by simply going to the Google Alerts homepage and typing your name in the “Create an alert about …” box. You can then choose the frequency with which you are alerted by email whenever your name pops up anywhere.
There are other advanced premium tools to check negative mentions like mention.net and trackur.com
It has never been easier for aggrieved customers to post bad reviews about you or your business and being alerted on time will help you arrest the situation and control it to your advantage.
Register Your Name On The Web And On Relevant Social Media Platforms
Every day, people are increasingly turning towards the web and search engines to look for solutions, service providers and information. This makes it imperative that you secure your name across the internet and on major social media like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn before someone else does.
You should also consider registering your personal domain name, that is, a website with your name as the domain or part of it. You should make full use of the site to control the narrative by publishing relevant content about your business and you that you actually want people to see. Your online reputation is simply what participants say it is, and what better way to establish that reputation by being one of the key participants?
Publish Relevant Content Regularly
What happens when someone searches for your business name on the web? Having a page of results scantily populated with a few hastily cobbled together bits of information about your business will do as much harm as a ton of bad reviews.
A healthy online presence entails maintaining a steady stream of content that projects your brand and stamps you as an authority in your field. You should endeavour to satisfy customers need for the right information by consistently posting great content on your website and across social media sites.
There are also websites, news, and social media outlets who need quality content in any market. Showing your expertise and knowledge by publishing on these channels will allow you to reach a wider audience. Supplying valuable information regularly will considerably grow your online following and help with improving your search engine rankings.
Become Active On Social Media
Making yourself, your business or brand heard on social network sites is a great boost for your business. It will get your search results to rank better and can also be used to drive traffic to your websites.
Customer service has tended to go online. Businesses are increasing making use of feedback on social media sites and forums to address customers concerns and complaints. Social media enables you to interact with real live customers thereby giving you the platform to establish yourself as a helpful expert.
A good online reputation management strategy includes monitoring the web and social media and quickly responding to comments about your company and its product.
Companies and prospects comb the web daily and are likely to take decisions based on what they find about you. Hence you need to make every effort to protect your reputation.
In the life cycle of every business, there are bound to be complaints and problems from time to time. How well you manage these reputational risks will leave a lasting impression on your customers and create a loyal following for your brand.
Your online reputation starts with you!