In the changing world of today where everything has become freer and boundaries are blurred, it’s getting harder to control what people say about you or your business. The Internet provides anonymity for people who write negative comments on your blog, or express their opinions on their personal blogs and other online forums.
Whether the statements are true or not, doesn’t matter – if it’s out there, people who see it are likely to believe what they’re reading. False gossip and other manifestations of bad publicity often appear on Google, when users search for particular companies.
Would you trust a company with a history of negative comments and blog posts regarding their product, staff and/or services? Probably not. We often focus more on what other people say about a company or brand than what the company has to say for itself. So, how can you protect yourself from online hogwash?
Building your presence and positive exposure! Online reputation management is all about ‘being there’. By being present and being where your customers are, you can answer queries, respond to complaints and market yourself and your company more efficiently. Social media is a great tool for boosting presence and highlighting your unique brand.
As seen on many Facebook pages, customers often discuss satisfaction among themselves or with the ‘company’, getting timely, informative answers, while the company receives valuable data about their customers’ preferences and dislikes. Social media heralds a new golden age of targeted marketing, allowing suppliers to get closer to their client base than ever before.
But what if you came to this realisation too late? Say you ignored your digital brand and accumulated scores of damaging remarks? …Unfortunately, there’s no ‘quick-fix’ process for restoring your brand’s reputation, but there are a few things you can do to improve the situation.
First of all, is the person accusing the company telling the truth? It’s possible for a customer to have experienced sub-par services, or received a broken product. In this case, it’s best to replace the bad publicity with good, or at least neutral publicity. Resolve the standing issue, apologise vigourously andoffer your disgruntled customer the best possible service. Relationship management is all about exceeding the client’s expectations.
Instead of ignoring or threatening formerly dissatisfied customers, or even worse, disallowing them to express opinions, show them that you and your company care. How do you get this message across? By communicating on a frank and regretful note, the dissatisfied customer will probably remove their previous comments or blog article and abandon their antagonising position.Of course, this takes commitment and a sincere desire to make amends.
Online reputation management is a relatively new form of search engine optimisation that works in the opposite manner – this can be pushing things down the search results, having instances removed or dealing with negative comments in a myriad of other ways.
Pure SEO have been dealing with online reputation management for several years, we have dealt with celebrities, corporate clients and small businesses. The one thing that is of the utmost importance is confidentiality and a high quality result.18 March 2011