Managing your online reputation is an important part of inbound marketing, particularly if you want to keep your customers happy and satisfied and improve word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals.
The last thing you need is for a prospective client to Google you and find bad reviews, comments about poor service or less-than-successful marketing campaigns.
Somehow people are always quicker to post complaints than praise, and so the best way to get ahead of them is to build a solid reputation you can refer to when any of these things happen.
1. Build Your Rep
To build a good online reputation you need to be proactive and get your name out there first, before anyone else does. The most ethical ways, which will enable you to outrank any poorly written, malicious posts, include:
- Creating a review page where your clients can post reviews of their experiences—both good and bad—and which you can monitor for anything false or abusive.
- Recording a video that showcases your expertise in your field of operations. Publish this on YouTube and your website, and share it on your social media profiles. Include your primary keywords in the title and description and invite users to post comments.
- Building thought leadership through a quality inbound marketing content strategy, a strong social media presence and delivering public addresses and seminars.
2. Follow What’s Being Said
You can’t manage your online reputation if you don’t know what’s being said about you, right? To do so effectively, you need to set up alerts wherever you can. Everything lands up on Google at some point. Its alert system is exceptionally reliable, so sign up for Google alerts on your company name and other major keywords.
Subscribe to industry review sites and discussion forums, consumer organizations and the complaints board.
Set up RSS feeds from competitor blogs so you can keep tabs on what they’re posting. Check your social media profiles daily, because anything posted on those travels faster than the speed of light.
3. Review Mentions
Carefully review every mention you come across, particularly if it is on influential sites such as mainstream media or industry websites. Respond to good reviews by thanking the reviewer or the poster, and examine the negative reviews to determine whether they are legitimate.
Reply to the reviewer by thanking them for reaching out, and assure them that you will investigate the issue and respond accordingly.
Investigate their claims and figure out whether you can use the situation constructively to boost your reputation. This will show other readers that you’re committed to fixing problems and building your customer relationships.
Be as civil as possible and never give readers the chance to identify more closely with the reviewer than with you. If the review is inaccurate, publish evidence to prove it and thank them for being vigilant, even if they were not entirely correct.
4. Address False Info Rapidly
Occasionally, you may have to remove comments or reviews if they are defamatory, false or unnecessarily abusive, and most public consumer sites will agree to do so in such cases. If the post uses foul language or contains threats, contact the reviewer, the site owner or the complaints board and ask for it to be removed, giving your reasons and your evidence proving it is false or untrue.
Where negative postings appear on sites you have no control over, gather any evidence you can find that proves it, such as proof that the unhappy client in fact worked with a different company and not yours.
5. Repair the Damage
Push down negative mentions by adding a wealth of good content to supersede it. This could include:
- Rebrand the company
- Update your website
- Issue a press release
- Curate content from others that your readers may find interesting (with appropriate credits, of course)
- Get an endorsement from an expert or a celebrity, depending on your type of business
- Join professional organizations and present yourself as an expert in your field
Ok, so this might sound like a full-time job on its own, but your reputation is important enough to allocate some time to it on a regular basis. It’s worth it.