7 minute read
Reputation management tips in a digital world
Updated on August 3, 2021 by Ben Hartwig
In the digital age, reputation is everything. While you can’t predict what people will say about you, you can have the right tools to manage your reputation. How you manage your online presence says a lot about you.
Just like your demeanor in real life can make a great first impression, so too should your online brand. Online reputation management aims to portray your brand in a good light by:
- Improving search engine rankings based on related keywords
- Suppressing negative search results. In fact, there are even online scams aimed at putting personal or business brands in a bad light.
- Managing social media and online reviews to accurately portray your business.
While managing your online reputation isn’t an overnight task, there are some actionable steps you can take today. Read on for valuable tips on how to control the way you are seen by the public.
Audit your online reputation
The first step is to take stock of the way you’re perceived online at this very moment. Have a look at what articles are being written about you and your brand online.
Search yourself, your business, your competitors, and related keywords. Make sure to dive deeper than just the first few links. Take note of any negative results and pay attention to emerging patterns. Ask yourself if there are any overarching themes to the articles.
You may find unwanted content on message boards and public forums. Even websites with public and/or employee reviews could pop up. It is important to also do this for all other businesses you own or have owned.
Note how this information may come across to an invested 3rd party or even a neutral viewer. If you’re dissatisfied with the results, it’s understandable. Just keep in mind that there’s value in knowing the extent of your problem before trying to fix it.
Create a personalized strategy
Every case is unique and your strategy needs to cater to your specific needs. This will depend greatly on the patterns you discovered during your audit. The Google algorithm is complex and impartial. However, it will update what links show up on the 1st page of results every few weeks.
Your strategy will aim to push negative content down far enough so it doesn’t appear on the valuable first page. Numerically, this means you need a minimum of 10 positive or neutral results dominating search results. These are referred to as assets.
These digital assets will include things like your brand website, blogs, video content, social media, and other content your brand puts out. All of these mixed forms of media are necessary as Google tends to provide diverse results.
These need to be search engine optimized, have a good bounce rate, and show enough time was spent on each page. Meeting these criteria will help them rank well on Google search results.
This means your plan of action should include creating or updating all of the media mentioned above. Additionally, each post should not be offensive in any way. This can further aggravate the situation.
It is indeed a long-term process that is often better suited to a team of professionals. The long-term goals of your brand and its social media should also be integrated into this strategy. After all, reputation management is an ongoing concept.
Be active on social media
Social media platforms are constantly growing. In fact, social media often trickles into other components of an overall reputation management strategy. Taking advantage of as many platforms as possible is a best practice.
Make profiles on Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter, Linked In, Tumblr, and the more exclusive ‘invite only’ social media platforms if possible. Ensure that you create both personal and business profiles, and always focus the majority of your efforts on the platforms where your target audience spends the most time.
Create your profiles early on to prevent any other users from claiming your brand name. This can prevent strangers on the internet from posing as you or your business. These internet trolls may undertake scams or just post abrasive content under the same name if you don’t act fast.
If posting on all of these platforms is not your cup of tea, that’s ok. Social media managers can manage all of your profiles and maintain brand integrity. They are well versed in avoiding online conflict common to social media while maintaining an accurate brand image. They can also prevent or help during a social media crisis.
Be aware of online scams
If you decide to hire an online reputation management company, be aware of the common online scams that exist. Scams can be insidious and it may just seem like incompetence, but scammers go in knowing they will underdeliver.
Some of the more prevalent internet scams among cheap reputation management firms include:
- Very cheap upfront costs: The company will promise very impressive deliverables for a low price. They then add on extra costs throughout the process and justify them as extras.
- Holding domain names hostage: After gaining access to all of your online assets they will hold your domain name for ransom. You may have to fork out exorbitant amounts of money to get them back.
- Making promises/guarantees: If a company guarantees they can get your website to rank first on Google that is a warning sign.
- Creating negative content themselves: Scammers will create problematic web pages, which you then end up having to pay for them to fix. They will then remove the pages and pretend it took time and effort to get “good” content to rank higher.
Just like the internet, these scams are ever-evolving. Be vigilant when choosing a company to manage your online presence. They may not even come out as outright scams, but use dubious tactics that often backfire.
Review online brand commentary
Reviewing and responding promptly to comments made about your brand can improve public perception of your brand. It can show dedication to the brand and that you care about what the public thinks.
You can set up Google alerts to draw your attention to any commentary around your business. If some untrue or negative content shows up, you can work to get it removed from the site hosting it.
Public reviews are absolutely crucial for online reputation management. Promptly responding to them is an expectation that customers have. Potential patrons rely heavily on reviews as well as the responses to them.
You can reply to negative reviews in a way that reframes the situation. Replying in an understanding manner can paint the brand as trustworthy and even cause the reviewer to alter or remove their negative comments.
If commentary on social media is positive you can interact with it to show the public you are involved and care about people’s views. If some are abrasive and untrue you can opt to selectively delete them.
However, don’t be tempted to delete all negative social media comments as they can appear inauthentic and controlling. Never engage with distasteful comments when you are in an emotional state.
If the public has genuine complaints you should address these but you must be able to identify the difference between the genuinely disgruntled and internet trolls. Alternatively, you can employ someone to do this all for you.
Online reputation management is a must
Think of it as a department in your business. Reputation management can aid in increasing revenue so it has a very important role to play. Very few businesses can survive without the help of the internet. Its power can create exponential growth in any brand.
However, it has the drawback of harboring and efficiently propagating negative content. You need a team to prevent any of that from tarnishing the first impressions you intend to make. Build a team that can ensure the public will find favorable content that correctly reflects you and your brand, before anything else.
Reputation management FAQs
How does reputation management improve an online brand?
Online reputation management aims to portray your brand in a good light by improving search engine rankings based on related keywords, suppressing negative search results, and managing social media and online reviews to accurately portray your business.
What are the most common reputation management scams?
Some of the more prevalent internet scams among cheap reputation management firms include very cheap upfront costs, holding domain names hostage, making promises/guarantees, and creating negative content themselves.
What types of content should be included in a reputation management strategy?
Google tends to provide diverse results, so your content efforts should be spread among creating digital assets like your brand website, blogs, video content, social media, and other content your brand puts out.