To safeguard their brand from online reputation damage, business enterprises should build a smart online reputation management (ORM) strategy combining strong public relation (PR) with effective search engine optimization.
Monitor and Track:
Being aware of all the news related to your brand is the first step to build an effective online reputation management strategy. Using internet-monitoring systems, you can receive alerts whenever any information related to your brands is published. There are many free tools that can help you gather market intelligence and analyze developing trends. You can set up Google and Yahoo Alerts to review the use of your brands in the WWW. Sites like Feedster and Technorati keep a watch on your brand. You can customize RSS readers for brand tracking. It may also be a good idea to track brand names, company names, product names, names of key employees and monitor sites related to your industry.
Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
SEO helps your brand to appear higher in Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs). SEO allows your website and blog to appear at the top of search result lists (on Google search, Yahoo search, Bing search etc.) for your name and brand. If your website and blog pages are fully search engine optimized, they appear on the first few pages of search results in major search engines. As a result, negative comments are pushed down in the search results. Deploying a smart SEO strategy will add search value to your site and will reduce the visibility of negative comments by pushing them down the SERPs.
Adopt Strong Public Relations (PR) Approach:
Once you have search engine optimized your site, get benefit from corporate and employee blogs. They help you support specific business functions like marketing, promotion or customer service and grow your reputation. Publish all your corporate communications on your website. These can include press releases, case studies, white papers, testimonials, articles etc. Make sure that these pages are optimized for your name or brand. You can also look out for third party opportunities (events, seminars, exhibitions, jobs fair, sponsors, digital advertisements etc.) to include information about your company. Ask your business partners to optimize a page about your brand.
Once a negative comment has been posted about your brand, it may spread and completely ruin your image if not addressed at the right time and in the right way. To avoid this situation:
- Stay Calm and Formulate a Polite Reply: If you respond in a pleasant and helpful way, replying to a negative comment can be a positive way to build respect for your business. Formulate a polite reply, be open-minded and respect others' opinions. Understand the commentator's point of view and keep away from sarcasm or yelling (typing in capital letters).
- Highlight Your Strengths: Politely express how you feel or offer help to resolve the issue. This will show that you have no hard feelings for the commentator. If handled correctly, a negative comment can become a brilliant opportunity to bring attention to your brand's qualities. For example, if you say, "I apologize that you had a bad experience. We have been in the retail business for over 30 years and serve thousands of customers. We strive to deliver quality products within the given timeframe and ensure that we will do our best to resolve your issue..." This way you can frame your story and make the person feel acknowledged.
Ask Happy Clients to Help:
The effect of negative reviews or marketing against your brand can be reduced if your happy customers post positive reviews. If prompted, many of your clients would willingly take out a few minutes to provide feedback. If your previous clients are happy, ask them to help you grow. Good reviews on platforms and social media sites will definitely reduce the impact of negative publicity.
Use Social Media:
A company can build back a positive online image using social media. Use your brand's social media profiles on all the major social networks and update them regularly. This gives you a bigger online presence and helps you control more spots in SERPs. Search engines give more weight to real updates; your social media updates will push down negative reviews on SERPs. The major social profiles that do well in Google results are Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Slideshare. Be sure to link all of your social profiles together.
Hire ORM Consultant:
Getting help from an online reputation management expert can save you a lot of time. There are hundreds of online reputation management firms and consultants in Toronto. You can hire The Can Opener to build and manage your brand's online reputation. This investment can be beneficial because preventive measures and maintenance are generally less expensive than trying to repair online reputation problems. Moreover, a good online reputation results in increased brand awareness, website traffic and ultimately improved sales.
There is no cookie-cutter solutions for cleaning up your online reputation. You cannot stop negative comments or reviews but following these simple steps can help you reduce their visibility in the search results. Hire an experienced ORM professional who understands Google's search algorithm and its webmaster guidelines.