Blog | Marketing Madness

The Ultimate Guide To Online Reputation Management

09/12/2016

The internet has made it easier for individuals and companies to promote and advertise. However, it has also made it easier for negative information to damage your company’s reputation.

Social networking sites, blogs, and forums are just some of the places online where information and feedback is constantly being exchanged.

Everyone is free to discuss anything, in most cases, anonymously. And this feedback, whether positive or negative, can have a serious effect on both individual or group reputation.

Reputation management is the method of controlling the public’s opinion about an individual or group. Mostly what this means is replacing negative perception with a more favourable one. For businesses and other personalities, reputation management is not a new concept.

Businesses have been managing their reputations with customers for decades, although they were times where they only had to deal with word of mouth or the occasional newspaper article.

Nowadays, the internet has created a minefield for reputation management.

Managing the reputation of your business is important for different reasons. It can cause you to lose potential personal and business relationships because of malicious information, which can also cause embarrassment and distress to your brand.

Businesses manage their reputation mainly for financial considerations. You are focused on building a strong customer base, retaining customers and hoping to win new ones. This is only possible if your business is receiving positive feedback from those they have dealt with.

We’ve condensed all of the best advice on brand awareness and online reputation down to 5 simple steps that can help you effectively manage the reputation of your eCommerce business.

1. Vigilance

Everyone has probably tried entering their name on Google or other search engines. Well, businesses do it as well. Often, the search returns neutral and harmless results and will lead on to social networking sites, blogs, and similar sites.

But this is not always the case. Some individuals or groups will find that there are negative, sometimes even malicious, comments, remarks, and attacks about them.

Reputation management through vigilant monitoring of online presence is the first step to combating these negative effects.

Monitoring online presence can be done by doing periodic online searches of the name of an individual or business. When negative feedback shows up, try to see where it came from.

vigilance-online

Where does adverse information come from?

Negative feedback can come from anyone, including:

  • business contacts
  • clients
  • competitors
  • customers
  • fans of the product
Where is this negative information found?

You might not always find negative comments on your own website. They can also be found on the following:

  • blogs
  • forums
  • discussion threads
  • competitor sites
  • social media

What this means for your business reputation is that everyone who has access to these sites may also see the unwelcome information about your business.

It could be a legitimate comment, or it came from an anonymous account, and details of the comment cannot be verified. Whichever it is, the next step on this list will be useful.

2. Rapid Response

Most of the feedback you receive for your website or services will be legitimate and it is up to the individual or company how to address it.

If a customer posts something online, either on your website comments section or on social media, respond to it as quickly as possible, even if it’s just to say that you’ve seen the comment and will get back to them.

A lot of customer frustration online comes from feeling ignored or neglected by companies when it comes to complaints, so always be gracious and let them know that you’re listening.

Researching online, its easy to find the top reasons customers complain online:

  • No response from the company’s website.
  • Not having your queries returned.
  • Being kept waiting for an unreasonable period of time for a response.
  • Rude or unhelpful customer service staff.
  • Being given conflicting advice.
  • Being incorrectly subject to extra charges, for example, extra costs for shipping.

However, some online entries are downright foul, offensive or malicious. This cannot be tolerated and must be reported to the web administrator of the site where the entry was posted.

Online trolls get worse the more you respond so ignore them, delete their posts, and if possible, block them from commenting again.

3. Positive Action

You can also conduct reputation management by positive action. Promoting positive information can be a good alternative to deleting unsatisfactory and negative comments and feedback about a business, or even individuals.

This can be done by building a website or webpage that gives others positive information about the subject in question.

Also, there are ways to promote positive entries that are returned for web searches.

The goal of online reputation management is to produce more favourable results when the client’s name is searched, rather than totally eliminating negative feedback posted on the internet.

online-positive-management

4. Efficient Business Management

Reputation management best practices require a stricter management of personal or business website. Implementing moderation of comments is one such option for individuals or businesses who are posting feedback on their own site.

There is no way to control what others post on other sites, but you can at least implement some screening on what is posted on your own site.

Comments that overstep the bounds of criticism should not be allowed.

The value of reputation management, particularly online, depends on the entity whose reputation is being managed.

This means that you need to have a robust set of practices in place to manage your reputation, even before any feedback is received.

This ensures that every employee within the business knows how to act appropriately when feedback, positive or negative, comes in.

One mistake by a staff member online can have serious repercussions for your business.

5. Know When To Ask For Help

If your business does not have a background in litigation or brand management, then don’t try and tackle it alone.

Reputation management can be daunting and complicated, and mismanagement can cause small problems to snowball out of control.

If you are unsure, or feel a current incidence has gotten out of hand, it is time to seek professional help from an online reputation management firm.

They have the resources and experience to handle your issue professionally and with minimal fallout for your business.

reputation-handshake

Summary

For businesses, a good online reputation is important mainly because of financial opportunities.

Customer feedback about products and services are important and valued by most businesses but having negative information circulating on the web, where the company may or may not be asked about its side, is dangerous.

Furthermore, some damaging feedback may not even be accurate. For businesses, image is equivalent to revenues and potential revenues.

The importance of reputation management cannot be disputed.

The internet has made it easier for individuals and groups to promote themselves, but it has also made it easier and faster for others to damage a person’s or company’s positive image.

Effective online reputation management can address concerns about an individual’s or business’ image.