Online reputation management evolved significantly and it all has to do with Google. Contrary to the old sayings “any publicity is good publicity” or “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”, the rules have changed. Research confirms just how severe revenue loss can be when reputation issues are ignored.
With consumers now holding brands more accountable and “cancel culture” being at the order of the day, these statements could not be any further from the truth. This is why it is vital that you always place your company’s best foot forward and be proactive to fight misinformation about your brand.
Suggested Resource: The Reputation Management PRO service from Sitetrail has long acted as a shield for many brands to improve their ORM. It is worth taking a closer look.
An active digital footprint leaves behind an impression that could result in an increase in both online and foot traffic to your business or have your customers running for the exit, wallet in hand. A brand could spend years building its reputation only to have it all taken away in a matter of days due to bad publicity. We have seen it happen before, to brands, celebrities and politicians alike. According to independent research we can see that just one negative online review can cause an overnight plummet of 23% in online sales .
Whilst it may not be possible to completely mitigate bad publicity, it is possible to do damage control to ensure that the reputation of your business does not suffer the wrath of bad press. There are times when reaching out to a disgruntled consumer may help diffuse the situation and then there are times when you will need to seek the help of a professional reputation management company .
Removing negative results from Google can be tricky, sometimes the harmful content can be taken down, banned completely or blocked using specialised coding. However, the safest and most efficient route is using SEO tactics to suppress negative comments by moving them further down search engine results. By keeping your positive feedback at the very top, negative reviews get buried in Google’s search results.
Here are 7 steps to improve reputation management and see better results:
1. Hiring a fixer
A professional team of experts who will be able to keep the situation under control , whilst keeping the damage as confined as possible. Look for a company that offers discreet, fast and legal solutions. Reputation is key, so hire a company with a great reputation, it shows you that they know how to do a good job and how to fix a bad one.
A company such as Sitetrail allows you access to services that can manage reviews and enable authentic positive reviews to replace or suppress negative ones. They have proven to be a firm favourite amongst companies across the world as they source a network of Journalists that have a global reach.
Having a professional reputation management company on retainer may sound costly but it should be seen as an investment to protect the reputation that your company has put so much of time and effort into building.
Ensure that the company offers services such as
- Influencing the press to counteract any negative publicity
- Legally take-down notifications and reports to remove bad content from the web
- The ability to diplomatically liaise with dissatisfied customers or journalists to reconsider their opinion
Sitetrail is one of the few reputation management companies that have mastered all of these services and so much more at competitive pricing.
2. Always be honest
The online community can see right through statements that are not transparent and they are not afraid to call companies out on false claims that try to fog the truth. Clients value honesty and respect a company that takes their input into consideration . Whilst negative reviews can be damaging it is important not to hide the truth. Work with your consumers to figure out how you can improve and show gratitude for constructive feedback.
It can be tricky trying to navigate through what should be visible and what needs to be dealt with and in this regard it is in the best interest of the company to hire a professional reputation management company. They are unbiased , so they can objectively go through negative reviews and comments.
3. Make the media work in your favor
A good relationship is important when building and sustaining your brand image. The media can control what information is released to the public and the angle in which it is received. They have a strong hold in creating brand awareness and influence customers’ brand preferences . It is therefore of vital importance to maintain a good relationship with the media.
Just look at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation: by paying hundreds of millions to the media, even the most critical voices about his controversial involvement in the pandemic will go unheard. Numerous news outlets are not interested in opposing a major donor. He’s not the only billionaire who either invests or donates to media: Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post, Marc Benioff bought Time Magazine.
This should also be kept in mind when picking a professional company to manage your brand’s reputation. Pick a company that has a strong relationship with important media connections. Sitetrail is known for their well networked relationship with the media and utilizes this as a key aspect within their trade.
4. Constantly monitor your brands online reputation
Keep a close eye on what is being said. Monitor online reviews and mentions of your company and products. This will allow you to address an issue as it comes to light. Do not take your reputation for granted by neglecting this factor. You will be able to not only monitor your reputation for damage control but also make the most out of the good publicity that comes in as well. The use of SEO tactics will allow you to control where negative comments appear in web searches.
5. Learn from your competitors mistakes
Warren Buffet can be quoted as saying “It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.” Monitor your competitors and learn from their mistakes and successes when dealing with backlash. This will allow you to not make the same mistakes and will help you to predict the outcome should you be faced with a similar situation. It is just as important to learn from your own mistakes as well to avoid finding yourself in a similar negative situation
6. Become legal wise
When dealing with online negativity, brands have to conform to both a legal and ethical standard. Outsourcing the help of hackers or using intimidation tactics to get rid of negative press should never be employed.
Ensure that any outsourced company also follows these rules so as to not entangle your company in any illegal activity.
7. Polite and punctual
Stay on top of the situation by acting as soon as the matter comes up. This by no means requires you to act impulsively. Be polite when addressing criticism and try to separate your emotions and bias from your reply. Customers often type complaints when emotional and this frustration reads in their viewpoint.A quick and polite response may help ease the emotional tension and place the customer in a clearer headspace. This will in turn allow for constructive conversation to find a solution to the problem.
Suggested Resource: Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Hire experts to quickly deal with reputation issues so that your business can focus on growing. See the Reputation Management PRO service from Sitetrail for more details.
How do I fight back against unfair and bad reviews on sites such as Trustpilot?
Online review sites have become a common outlet for dissatisfied customers to vent their frustrations. Businesses should first focus on being awesome to deal with this stream of reviews. But it is also abused by competitors at times and unless you want to sue Trustpilot, alternative avenues should be explored very swiftly to avoid revenue loss. These reviews can leave a lasting impression on potential clients so whether it is via a fixer or a lawyer, action should be prompt.
It is amusing that Trustpilot suggests business should respond calmly and politely to customers even if you believe reviews are unfair or false and discourage the flagging of negative reviews. Yet some companies use ORM to simply outrank Trustpilot for the term “reviews” alongside their brand name – and often push down Trustpilot results quite low down the list.
There may come a time when you find yourself in a situation where a customer has left false and harmful information and despite your best efforts , the site simply refuses to remove the malicious content. In a case such as this seeking the help of a professional reputation management team will be your best solution to resolving the situation.
It is true that your online reputation, which is out there 24/7, serves as a direct link between your company and clients. By listening, engaging with and acknowledging customer feedback you are in the position to manage your company’s reputation. The hiring of either a professional company or in-house expert to manage your online reputation will ensure that your business gets the best possible outcome from a bad situation.