All too often, the importance of online reputation management (ORM) is forgotten. That is usually when online reputation repair is needed. It is almost inevitable that somewhere on the web, something negative is said about you or your business — whether it be by an overly critical person, a fierce competitor or an upset customer who legitimately had a bad experience.
Since this is the case, it is vital that you act fast in order to repair, and then maintain, your online reputation. How can you do this? And why should you?
There are several effective ways that you could handle this. However, there are also some things you could do that will make matters worse. Consider some do’s and dont’s of fixing your online reputation.
Do admit your mistake and sincerely apologize. Most people don’t just want to be upset or disgruntled no matter what. Instead, they want acknowledgement of the problem, the cause of the problem and the impact that it had on them. If you admit your mistake and apologize with the intent to prevent similar situations in the future, you can instantly change people’s minds about you. And even more so if you can do something to right the wrong.
Do set up alerts. You can use Google Alerts or a similar system to notify you when your brand name or anything related to your business is found on the web. This can help you to gain insight into where you can best position yourself to fix the problem.
For example, if there are negative comments swirling around on a certain social media platform, that platform may be a good place for you to post and share positive content, which can go a long way in challenging the negative image in people’s minds.
Do utilize your own website and blog. You are in complete control of your website and blog, and therefore, you have the opportunity to make them both exude positivity. If you regularly create high quality, useful content, not only will visitors to your site likely leave with a more positive view, but your site will also move up in search engine results.
With your site, blog and social media profiles at the top of the results, the negative content and comments will have less of a presence and be much harder to find.
Don’t start confrontation. Often times, it’s best not to address individuals personally, and especially not publicly, to defend yourself. Doing this will only reflect poorly on you and further damage your reputation.
Don’t make up false awards, accolades, customer reviews or anything of the sort. Doing this in an effort to make yourself look better will only further confirm any negative things being said. It’s not very difficult to spot these fakes and if the right person spots them, it may damage your reputation beyond repair.
Now that you know how you can improve your internet reputation, why should you actually put forth the effort to do it? There are two main reasons: 1) if the bad is easier to find on the web and people see no effort on your part to counteract it or to portray your business in a more positive light, they will believe the bad. And 2) word of mouth should never be underestimated, especially in the age of social media where negativity can be shared with millions of people simultaneously.
A negative reputation really can ruin your business. In order to prevent this from happening, take the steps to repair your reputation now and to maintain it in the future. Some of this might be stated too lightly, and may not address what the next steps should be for you if you’re facing an ORM crisis at this point; maybe it’s due to our expertise and the simplicity at how we look at fixing this and have helped companies and individuals correct it. With that said, feel free to reach out to us with specific next steps you can take to manage your online reputation. Nomvo!