Last Updated: 17th Feb, 2021
It takes a few unsatisfactory customer experiences to overthrow a startup’s conversions. It doesn’t mean that large enterprises are invulnerable to reputation threats. When the bad reviews and experiences are intentionally targeted at a brand to tarnish its public image, it can expect some damage. Also, on the internet, it isn’t easy to maintain a positive brand image especially when the number of independent publishers is in millions.
In view of this quandary, the practice of online reputation management (ORM) has gained significant popularity in the recent past. The basic analysis for ORM does not require any professional skills, and you can carry it out easily with the following tips, or you can also check our beginner’s guide to ORM for small businesses for more knowledge.
From a sales point of view, online reputation can be compared with brand value. Millions of consumers in the fashion industry consume products from Zara, Gucci, Arrow, Vans, Under Armour and more. The sales of these brands will witness a significant decrease if they lose their brand value. On the internet, every rating, review, link, news article, or blog that includes you, define your brand value and drives sales. Thus, all our approaches to fix or build your online reputation will focus on these elements. The image tarnishing content from online media and competitors will require the most attention.
Working on your online reputation after denunciation isn’t a feasible approach. Whereas, when you have already built a formidable reputation with the help of valuable content, bad reviews aren’t going to bring a severe downfall. Your critics will also require strong evidence to support a false claim, which is not the case in the non-proactive approach.
To maintain an image that is not so susceptible to bad reviews and events, try to capture the top 20 results on Google with positive content for your brand name. A few methods for achieving this are:
You might be investing a hefty amount of money in electronic and print media but the internet adheres to a different set of rules. If your content or policies offend a small independent news website, a single post can be quite detrimental.
This happened with one of our clients, which is a new financial advisory company that follows a unique business model. When a media firm represented it in a bad light, it secured the top rankings on Google for all the wrong reasons. . A single negative link tainted its brand image on Google and other search engines.
Most suitable proactive approach (Monitor Online Brand Reputation) – To monitor your reputation on the internet, appoint a team of professionals to keep a regular check on your online search results. This way you will be aware of the presence of any such content that is harmful to your reputation.
Check the first three pages of a search result for negative links/feedback or reviews for your brand name. Set alerts on your brand name for early detection of negative links. Online tools such as Social Mention can help you in online reputation tracking.
Business reputation management tips in case something bad happens;
In instances where your business rivals have used foul tactics to soil your reputation, you may discover low-quality back-links from adult websites, anonymous defaming posts on forums or blog posts with words like SCAM, SUCK and FRAUD.
Here is an entire domain dedicated to the hate group for Yelp by the name of yelp-sucks.com.
Google gives an upper hand to discussion communities and blog posts in its search results.
Recommendations from online reputation management companies;
Heat on social media between business giants is the new norm these days. The brands who indulge in online feuds are well aware of their consumer strength. Not to mention, their spats pass as sarcasm and humour in history. For brands that are not widely recognizable, small online arguments in Google reviews or anywhere on the internet with an individual or a brand can be misinterpreted and become a stain on the image.
Check out the following social media feuds between some popular brands:
When the tweets are as broken as the ice cream machine. https://t.co/esdndK1iFm
— Wendy's (@Wendys) November 24, 2017
— KITKAT (@KITKAT) March 13, 2013
Instead of sabotaging the reputation of these brands, their humour-filled arguments ended up making them more popular. These feuds worked for the above-mentioned brands but it does not mean that they will work for SMBs and startups as well. Meaning, it is wiser to formally treat any social media arguments instead of planning a revengeful comeback.
Social media channels also make companies vulnerable to online criticism. LinkedIn and Facebook are two of the most used channels of any organization. Though the control always resides with the brand as it manages the profiles, online criticism can still tarnish a brand’s image. To deal with criticism, social media marketers do not suggest the impatient deletion of posts and comments; instead well-thought and formal replies.
Recommendations from brand reputation management agencies:
Many companies fail to clear their bad image due to the lack of communication with their consumers. When a company does not resolve a customer’s queries or fails to provide customer support in time, it counts as incompetence on the company’s end. The customer whose query the company failed to address, establishes a prejudice in his mind and ignores purchasing from the same dealer again. In the future, he shares his bad experience with his peers, which becomes a word of mouth and affects sales.
If that same customer tends to upload the issue online on social media, there are chances that the company’s bad reputation can escalate.
To prevent that, a company can:
The reputation of a brand is also associated with its employees and management. Instead of directly targeting your brand, an attacker can also target your employees and accuse them with false claims. By tracking the mentions of its employees in search engines, a brand can find out if it is getting indirectly targeted by another brand.
Offline activities of management can also create online disasters for a brand. The Coca-Cola pesticide issue is the perfect example. For such occasions, a combination of PPC and SEO works the best. It is best to consult online reputation experts for such occasions.
While we have listed the most important web reputation management points for each category, here are some more for the best results:
Online reputation management can require weeks or even months to bring the desired results. The timing depends on various factors that are impossible to analyze by a single individual. The tips mentioned above will only help you to maintain your reputation at the basic level and some of them might be difficult to implement without adequate guidance. Therefore, hiring a professional reputation management company is a sensible option if you find yourself stuck or unable to consolidate a proper plan for ORM.
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