If someone says something bad about your business online there are things you can do to make good any damage caused. You should not just sit back and accept it – it is up to you to create and build an overall positive online reputation. You can also manage ‘the bad news’ down the search results to minimise any negative effect this might have on your business.
So what should you do?
- The first thing you need to do is make sure that if anything is said about you, your business or your brand anywhere online you get to know about it.Use one or more of the internet monitoring systems available to keep up to date with any news or information about your brand:
- Set up Google and Yahoo Alerts so that you are automatically advised whenever anything is published on the web about you.
- Use blog directory sites such as Technorati to keep an eye on anything that might be being said about you in other blogs
- Customise your RSS readers so that they report any brand tracking
- Set up alerts and tracking for all relevant names including the company name, your name, any brand name, product and trademark names and even the names of your key employees
- Regularly log-in and monitor if anything is being said about you on industry / niche related sites and directories
Once you have a system in place to keep a track of what is being said about you, the second stage is for you to manage your online brand i.e. start to influence, or ‘engineer’ what is being said about you.
- Make use of your primary online assets – your own websites and blogs. You have total control over the content on these sites. It is up to you to make sure that your own sites have good quality, unique content. ‘Your sites’ can include your main website, any associated company websites, your own blog, related company blogs, any product micro-sites, employee blogs, partner and associate sites as well as any press releases or article submitted to online agencies.
- Make time to research which social media sites are the most relevant to your business. You should be an active participant in these social networks and regularly contribute to blogs, forums and other relevant discussions.
Initiate the conversations about your brand:
- Make an effort to engage with users and contributors of other relevant blogs in an attempt to engage with them to build their confidence and trust. Stimulate two-way conversations by commenting on other blogs to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.
- View all customer interactions – even complaints – as a positive opportunity. Resolving customer service issues satisfactorily can often the best way to turn that customer into an ambassador for your business.
- Encourage satisfied consumers to post their comments. If appropriate ask satisfied clients to give you a testimonial – video testimonials from genuine satisfied customers are extremely powerful.
- Consider a search engine optimisation campaign to ensure that your own website pages dominate the first pages of all relevant search results.
- If you do not have one already develop your own business blog to promote awareness of your brand, your products and your services. Blogs are an excellent channel for you to demonstrate your expertise and build a loyal band of followers online. Blogs can also play a significant part in improving your organic search engine rankings.
If you would like more information about WSI IMS Online Reputation Management services please leave a comment below or visit WSI IMS – WSI Internet Marketing Services for UK Business.