How Do Reputation Management Services Work?
Once your company’s brand has been established, the importance of the reputation management of your brand within your market cannot be understated.
Reputation Management: The practice of attempting to shape public perception of a person or organization by influencing online information about that entity.
According to Kathy Kruse of Kruse Control, the idea that your reputation will take care of itself is a giant myth.
“Online ratings and reviews have the potential to be the single most effective and rewarding marketing channel for small and local businesses, and yet most marketers and business owners do very little to foster and shape reviews because they assume it’s out of their hands. They take a wait-and-see approach—forever,” she advises
Studies have shown that 73 percent of customers say positive online reviews increase their trust in a business. 79 percent of customer trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation. Finally, 86 percent surveyed said their buying decisions were swayed by negative reviews.
Remember our discussion about the importance of where your company/product falls in the Google search results? Here is the bottom line:
You, your company or your product could be the very first thing that shows up in the Google search results. But if that search result contains negative information, you may be doing more harm than good.
This is where reputation management services comes in. Reputation management is a game that has seen a huge uptake in players. There are companies dedicated to the protection of a brand’s reputation. These companies vow to bury negative information that may come up in the search results of Google. Companies who do this well also work to move your preferred content to the top of the search results in order to boost your brand.
How do companies who do it right get it done? There are a few basic ways:
- Social Media Optimization
- Help Increase Reviews
This is what we will discuss below. Keep in mind that online reputation management is no easy feat. Although there are ways to manage your online presence solo, a trusted and proven online present management provider may be worth the investment. Let’s dive in.
SEO for Reputation Management
Ever done a Google search on yourself? Just admit it – we’ve all been there. Ever cringe at the top results? Multiply that cringe by one hundred if you are a business trying to attract customers.
SEO plays a pivotal role in reputation management. Simple things like a negative review in a blog can be detrimental to your brand if it appears in the top search results on Google. These kinds of reviews can appear in top search results via link-building – when negative comments about your company are published, links to those comments may multiply across multiple internet platforms. Voila – those comments are published first on Google.
There are a few ways to combat this kind of link-building. SEO experts know how to navigate through the muddle and rebuild your reputation the same way it was torn down – through link building. Additionally, SEO experts can examine keywords. They will suggest shifting keywords that are being optimized and focusing SEO efforts on the keywords to drive brand-friendly content.
Publishing high quality content that will rank naturally is key. The more high quality content you publish, says Forbes, the better chance you have at outranking negative sites or articles.
Social Media for Reputation Management
When the CEO of Whole Foods published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal detailing his somewhat controversial stance on healthcare reform in 2009, the effect was less than ideal. Boycott Whole Foods pages began to appear and negative press began to surround the company.
In response, Whole Foods provided a response statement on Facebook two days later, recognizing there were “many opinions on this issue, including inside our own company.” They also invited people to share their opinion on the matter, which created collaboration, engagement, and maintained their reputation as a brand that cares.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using social media for reputation management. Many brands, including Nike, have developed separate handles to address customer complaints. This way, their main social media pages are able to promote their brand in positive ways without muddling the water with negative customer comments. This method also allows users to keep track of customer complaints and address them more directly.
It is important to develop a clear, fleshed-out social media presence that radiates synergy across platforms. Do your best to monitor and address negative comments, or even better, hire someone to advise on how to hide these comments all together.
Help Increase Reviews for Reputation Management
Studies have shown that while 90 percent of customers are reading reviews, only six percent are writing them. As you may already know from experience, it is usually not the happy customers who are leaving reviews. Most reviews center around the negative, because that is when customers feel is it most important for their voice to be heard.
To combat this trend, make it either profitable or unbelievably easy for customers to leave a positive review, whether on your website or social media page. Offer incentives – gift cards, promotional codes, bonuses, contest entries – if a customer chooses to leave any kind of review. Make the review process simple and straightforward. Don’t make a customer jump through hoops to tell you you did a good job – make it easy. Be sure to do this ethically – do not make the incentive conditional on a positive review.
Reviews are a great tool not only for customers, but for your business overall. Responding quickly and professionally to reviews can boost your brand. An uptick in reviews can boost SEO. Reports have also shown that customer reviews often increase the click-through rate to your website and are used to reinforce your geographic listing which is why they often increase your local search placement.
Summing It Up
Reputation management can be tricky. Though there are DIY techniques available, often outsourcing this service can be the best option to maximize the way your product or business is perceived online. Do not take your reputation lightly – make your business as effective as it can be with reputation management.