10 Online Reputation Management Best Practices You Need to Know
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Nothing is more powerful than a good online reputation.
Online reviews have displaced the role markets and brands once held by word of mouth and print advertising. Modern consumers now go online to check out the reputation of products and organizations before making a commitment.
A survey by online marketing experts BrightLocal found it takes at least 10 positive online reviews before customers will trust your business.
And, your customers spend an average of 13 minutes researching info about you before choosing your products or services.
It’s essential to build a positive online reputation to grow your audience, increase your revenues, and build your brand.
But building a positive reputation means dealing with social media platforms, live video options, and review sites across the web. It also requires dealing with consumers and competitors with malicious intent, those sharing their opinions without a second thought.
Positive posts can go viral and build your online brand. But the online world can also tear down your brand just as quickly.
Chances are you already know how to identify new prospects, increase your market share, and match your products to the consumer buying cycle.
But you likely don’t have the expertise you need to manage your online reputation. Below, we provide 10 online reputation management best practices to help you avoid going viral for all the wrong reasons.
1. Take an active approach to your online reputation
Many organizations have an online presence they didn’t actively create. Some businesses aren’t even aware of their online presence until a crisis hits.
People share their experiences with your organization, good and bad, with or without your consent. That’s why it’s best to take an active role in creating the online reputation you want.
It’s always best to retain specialized online reputation management expertise before a crisis occurs. You need a crisis team at the ready to prevent reputation disasters.
However, there are routine online reputation management best practices your business needs to try every day.
2. Never misrepresent your identity online. But always use monitoring tools
One of the major challenges of online reputation management is private Facebook groups.
These groups are popular because there are barriers to entry. Not everybody gets in.
At the same time, these groups are extremely important to your online brand. It’s important to find ways to stay ahead of negative comments in these groups and prevent viral posts from creating major reputation damage.
Don’t let employees lurk in Facebook groups under false pretenses. Simply put, most people can’t pull it off and will be outed quickly.
But do look for tools to keep track of comments that escape these groups so you can respond to them fast.
3. Keep tabs on review sites
More niche-centered review sites are emerging on the internet all the time. It’s a daunting task to keep up with the volume of commentary on existing sites. It’s even harder to scan the Internet looking for new sites all the time.
The solution to this problem? Expand your resources for niche review site surveillance. Ask customers to post positive reviews of their experience on the sites you monitor and in a positive way. You need all the good reviews you can get.
Whether a niche review site rates your company, your products, or your services, you always want to grow your stockpile of great reviews.
This way, when a new one-star review comes out, you’ll have plenty of five-star reviews to counter it. And, you can respond to that new complaint with decisive action.
It’s OK to incentivize your customers to give you positive reviews. Discounts on future purchases and company swag are always welcome.
4. Control negative postings on your own pages
The last thing you want on your Facebook page is a customer ranting video featuring complaints about your products.
The most sensational videos are those that go viral. Videos can go viral before you have a chance to make the situation right or present the facts.
Many companies don’t allow visitor comments on their pages in social media or on their blogs. But if you do, be sure all comments are moderated before appearing on your site.
5. Move damaging conversations offline
It would be great if companies could still showcase their positive reviews and get high search rankings by virtue of site authority. Yet, Google increasingly fine-tunes its search algorithms for the most complete information for a search query. And search engines don’t care that the information about your product is negative.
Your goal is to make sure that damaging details from a customer complaint emerge privately, not publicly.
You want to avoid the common scenario in which a thread of responses to a complaint moves the discussion to their “Most Helpful” category. This only highlights a problem that started with a single customer complaint.
The “Most Helpful” designation becomes the most harmful result possible for your company, simply because this discussion is what site visitors see when they click on the page.
The first step in moving damaging conversations offline is knowing the bad review exists. You need online reputation management tools that inform you of negative reviews.
Then you need to respond immediately with a toll-free number or private email to keep things offline.
Take care of one customer’s complaints decisively and privately. Keep them from snowballing into an online reputation management crisis.
6. Take a surgical approach to managing online reputation crises
People make all kinds of assumptions when they see people and products connected to your organization. Search engines do not.
When a reputation crisis occurs, you need to identify specific “verticals” you can repair on search engines to limit the spread of the damage.
You will need to create your own content to counteract negative information and disinformation about your business.
As you choose the search terms you want to optimize, you need to make certain distinctions.
Person or brand?
There are different approaches for dealing with scandalous allegations or information about people associated with your company. The same holds true for negative information that affects your entire online brand.
Search engines respond differently to queries about people and queries about brands. You’ll need to sort this out for your reputation campaign before you do anything else.
Determine user intent
When you are dealing with a crisis, you also need to determine the intent of searchers who find that damaging information.
Are there people on the Internet actively seeking negative information about your company? Or do searchers come across negative information by accident?
You need to analyze search results for each search term to see if they come from news, review or business sites built around evergreen content.
Then, focus on those sites causing the most harm to your online reputation.
Go through each vertical to find the top 10 search results. Make sure you include all trending sites.
Identify positive assets, neutral assets, and negative listings
Take steps to increase traffic to sites that support your company. On the other hand, reduce traffic to sites that are spreading false information about your organization.
In either case, make sure your staff or your online reputation management consultant sticks to ethical, whitehat methods.
Choose your battles wisely as you implement online reputation management practices
Always take a close look at search volume, site authority, and content before taking steps to counteract threats to your online reputation.
Don’t waste assets on minor threats. And maintain monitoring best practices to recognize potentially viral problems.
7. Use SEO tools to assess the health of your online reputation
Are you familiar with Ahrefs, Majestic, and Moz? Can you use tools to identify domain authority, page authority, trust flow, citation flow, and link velocity?
And can you apply all of these tools and metrics to online reputation management?
If you can’t, you need the help of a dedicated online reputation management expert.
8. Don’t use anything less than professional content to counteract threats to your reputation
Reputation management requires adhering to the best practices of website development, image quality, accessibility of content, news publishing, and SEO.
Poorly written articles, unprofessional social posts, and low-quality photos and videos won’t help you establish your brand in helpful ways.
9. Avoid the Streisand Effect
In 2003, entertainer Barbra Streisand attempted to suppress photographs of her private residence with cease and desist letters, public warnings, and lawsuits. The result was that photographs of her residence became even more widely distributed. This phenomenon became known as the “Streisand Effect.”
When there is an unfair attack on your online reputation, it’s natural to want to hit it hard.
But allowing yourself to get emotional when defending your online reputation can cause overreaction. In turn, this can make your reputation issue even harder to manage.
Cool, calm, and collected professional online reputation management, perhaps outside your company, is essential to your success.
10. The most important online reputation management best practice? Hiring a professional
Online reputation management requires its own skillset.
Online reputation management best practices include anything from traditional marketing, branding, customer relations, and digital marketing to social media management. But your organization can’t leave reputation management to amateurs.
You don’t have to navigate online reputation management best practices alone. We’re here to help. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. Call Us Today to learn more about our Online Reputation Management Solutions – ReputationSciences is owned by NetReputation.com