What is online reputation management?
Wikipedia says “Reputation management is the practice of understanding or influencing an individual or business’ reputation. It was originally coined as a public relations term, but advancement in computing, the internet and social media made it primarily an issue of search results.”
In my post, G+, Facebook or Twitter which is better? I mentioned how smart companies are using social networking sites like Twitter to manage their online reputation, track what people are saying about them and to provide customer service.
Twitter is an easy medium to use for this purpose, just search your businesses name and see if anyone is mentioning you, if they are saying postive things you could use their comments as testimonials. If the comments are negative the unhappy customer can be messaged directly to see if you can resolve their issues before the issue escalates further.
It’s important to try and catch any complaints or negative views early, an unsatisfied customer complaining on Twitter, Facebook, etc. is obviously bad enough but if they don’t get their issues resolved satisfactorily they may move onto forums, blogs, Yahoo answers or review sites like Yelp.
It’s not just upset customers that might choose to say bad things about you though, I recently completed a reputation management project see the results in the Panda SEO portfolio for a client that had upset a former colleague, they started some basic blogs on blogspot, etc. bad mouthing the client this had a very negative effect on her business the internet makes it very easy for unscrupulous competitors to do this too.
So what can you do to repair your online reputation?
Stop it before it escalates – it’s obviously a good idea not to upset clients, customers and employess remember it takes a lot longer to build a good reputation than it does to lose one. Make sure you monitor social networks and contact anyone who is complaining about you, your staff or products.
Create testimonials – One of the things we did for the client in the case study was to produce videos of their happy clients, we then uploaded the videos to YouTube and created press releases to publicise them. Get your happy clients to write reviews on your Google places page, Yelp, etc. it’s natural for any business to have a few unhappy customers, just make sure the happy ones outweigh the unhappy ones.
See if you can get the negative blog posts removed – The client managed to get some of the posts on blogspot and other third party sites removed, sometimes this might require expensive legal action though.