Our world is a world of libel, slander, litigation, misinformation, and fake news—scholars call it the post-truth era. Rumors spread like wildfire—thanks, largely to social media. All you need for your reputation to be tarnished is one tiny spark: and the next thing you’ll know is being besmirched all over the world. The repercussions of such an event are bad enough in the real world and in electronic and print media. The worst, however, is felt in the digital world. With there being multiple social media platforms, blogs, and forums available, there’s no telling how far and wide your reputation is affected.
From Facebook posts to Twitter feeds, “stories” and blogs, you’ll soon find yourself caught in the fray. Everyone will seem to talk about you, and this isn’t just something that comes up when you’re looking into the issue of reputation management. In general, if it’s a service or product you provide, people will talk about you. They’ll take photos of your product or write stories about your services—and there’s a good enough chance that a bad one might come your way.
When that happens, too many things begin happening at once, and much too soon. Current customers become apprehensive and suspicious about the product, potential customers lose possible interest, and competitors get a chance to sling mud at you. You can, at your end, try and ensure that customer experience is satisfactory—but you can never decide how the customer will feel about your product or service.
Which is why you need to always have a reputation management strategy in place. Or, you need to know someone who has experience in reputation management.
Reputation management is meant to salvage this very reputation from the ashes. In particular, reputation management is all about the online—which is why it is called ORM: Online Reputation Management. Public perception can be shaped and molded through careful manipulation and clever strategizing the information available online.
And here are 5 things that help nail the rescue attempt.
1. Be Transparent
This is more of an anticipatory and preventive measure that is being taken by more and more companies these days. Think about those Facebook pages which don’t allow you to post reviews on their timeline or block you for criticizing them. Don’t be like them.
Give your customers agency—the right and platform to voice their opinions. Allow them to leave reviews and ratings. Here’s what that gets you:
- You establish transparency and there’s a general understanding that you’re not trying to deceive anybody through your business
- You can communicate with distraught customers and propose a solution—which is sure to be applauded and is sure to buy you new customers
- You can get valuable feedback from customers, using which you can improve your business
- By publicly addressing and facing criticism you come off as a mature company which people will be more interested in
Yes, we know it sounds risky. What if you get a bad review? Relax. You can deal with it. What’s worse is not being transparent and then watching helplessly as your reputation tarnishes.
2. Don’t. Be. Defensive
Something needs to be said for Twitter. It’s no secret that Twitter accounts have become the means of fast, effective communication—from politicians to public figures, all using them. It is also a platform which customers use to criticize (or praise) your product or service. They could reply to one of your tweets, or simply mention you in a tweet.
It goes without saying that negative Tweets will always be part of the bargain. What’s important is that you don’t respond to them aggressively or defensively. Do not try to justify—aim to resolve, always try to pose a solution. Do not come off as pugnacious with a customer, as it greatly tarnishes your reputation, and will discourage potential customers from engaging with you.
Additionally, always respond to the comments and queries. Don’t make the mistake that Nestle made: upon receiving negative comments regarding their practices and the environment, they kept quiet. While responding aggressively is never a good thing, ignoring something that calls your morality to action is equally abominable.
Moreover, always guard yourself against being aggressive and belligerent. Engaging in Twitter spats with potential customers or negative reviews might land you in deeper trouble. As a mature business, you are expected to act maturely and sensibly. Negative publicity is never a good idea.
3. Assess Social Media
Gauge the online emotion about you. Know what people think about your product about your services, about your brand. Find out what is the general sentiment towards you. Monitoring the digital space should be a regular occurrence. It helps you guard yourself against negative reputation spirals. If anything, you’ll know instantly of what’s happening in the digital world, and will react with swiftness. The sooner you react, the better your reputation will be managed.
4. Use SEO
When someone looks you up on a search engine during the time that you’re being maligned, the first results might display toxic information. This feeds to your negative image. To prevent this from happening, you need to tip the scales in your favor through clever SEO. Outdo the negative with the positive. Devise a strategy that ensures that the first results on search engines are all positive, and maintain regular checks.
5. Take Action
When dealing with defamatory online campaigns (also known as full-fledged hate campaigns) that are aimed at systemic and deliberate mud-slinging, react politely and quickly. As soon as anything defamatory is identified, pounce on it and address it. Do not give the detractors time to blow it up. Like they say, nip the evil in the bud.
If the online hate campaign contains false information, uses defamatory language, or goes against community standards, you can report it or instigate an online investigation. Sue the detractors if possible because there’s a high chance competitors are at play here. Legal liaisons will go a long way in helping salvage your reputation.
Guest article written by: Joseph Dyson is an SEO specialist at Search Berg, a firm that has overseen over 150,000 successful projects offering services like best online reputation management services, quality seo services, outsource seo services, link building service, and more.
1 thought on “5 Successful Reputation Management Strategies All Website Owners Should Adopt”
Focus on right audience and use SEO activities to increase visiblity and brand awareness…Thanks for the article…