Reputation management might sound like a service celebrities pay for, or something corporations do after a scandal. But in today’s internet driven world, every company, even – if not especially – small, local businesses benefit from reputation management.
Reputation management involves monitoring what people are saying about your business online – in reviews, on social media platforms, and on other websites – and taking steps to correct any information that doesn’t help your brand.
How Reputation Management Helps You
If you run a business, you want people to be talking about what you offer. More than that, you want their words to be positive. The unfortunate truth is that people more readily talk about what they disliked, so if someone has negative comments, true or false, they are likely to take them to the web.
You want to know if people are talking about your business online. By keeping track of what is being said, you can respond quickly and appropriately, preventing the criticism from building up until customers associate it with your company.
When negative comments about your company do appear online, addressing them as soon as possible is key as it:
- Shows Transparency – Your response, thoughts, and how you address problems will tell customers about your business. It indicates that you are not hiding or burying information that might harm them.
- Limits Harmful Feedback – People are going to be talking about you. Letting it go unmonitored or unaddressed often leads to an escalation until you are buried under negative feedback, making it hard to catch up.
The fact that you are aware of any negativity around your brand, and that you take steps to address them (as long as you address complaints well) will build trust with your customers, reassuring them that they are heard. Careful reputation management can even turn criticism into a publicity moment for you. If it’s good publicity, you might gain customers.
The Basics of Reputation Management
Negative comments can have a lasting impact on your company’s reputation. Responding in the wrong way can make that impact worse. A defensive or inflammatory attitude can make customers wary. A lack of response shows you don’t care. Reputation management is important for maintaining that trust you build with your customers.
Monitoring platforms where customers are talking about your business is the first step. When something negative comes up, these steps can help maintain your company’s reputation:
- Responding to Negative Feedback – A fast and polite response to direct feedback is key. Social media is often a platform for feedback, but makes it easy to respond. Take a moment to set aside any frustrated emotions or defensiveness so that you can acknowledge the criticism and respond in a constructive way. Try to stay on brand and keep your response calm to prevent escalation.
- Implementing SEO – Websites with negative content about your business, such as an article, business review site, or hate site, may be one of the first things people see when they search your name. By leveraging SEO on your own website and online profiles, you can ensure that search engines show positive results first, pushing negativity to rarely visited search result pages.
- Get False Criticism Removed – If an online review on Google or Yelp is definitively false, you may have recourse with the site administrator to have it removed. In extreme cases, legal action can sometimes be taken against false claims made on the web if the attackers are not stopping.
- Reflect and Improve – Consider where the feedback is coming from. If your target market provides feedback about a legitimate problem, that may be reason to take corrective action. Promoting your changes in response to the criticism may lead to positive feeling as well, limiting lasting harm to your reputation.
Proactive reputation management is a big task, but pays off when you are able to avoid negative publicity for your business. If you are already dealing with negative comments, all is not lost. You can still save your business’s reputation. Professional help can make the bad publicity less apparent to potential customers.
Great Leap Studios offers reputation management using SEO, content marketing, and social media to restore your brand. With positively-focused content, we ensure that your website and beneficial testimonials are the information associated with your business on the web. Let us show you how we can repair your reputation by giving us a call.