Reputation management is a hot topic for companies, especially with social media and the growing importance of review sites and word of mouth referrals from friends and associates.
While consumers do not always need to see 100% positive feedback, dealing with a larger scale reputation issue takes more work; in this case, proactively predicting issues is the best medicine. Even when companies take care to execute best practices, there is always the possibility that there could be one or two upset customers or even a disgruntled employee who can launch an attack online. Everyone knows the old saying “you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” This is especially the case when dealing with a large customer base of people with many different personalities, preferences, and differing expectations.
The best way to deal with any potential online assaults on a company’s reputation is to ensure that you have filled out online profiles and have enough positive content of your own out there to counteract and overshadow one or two negative reviews or postings. Keep in mind that online reputation management is not just for companies that sell online; any business can be mentioned in online reviews, so establishing positive online content is important for all types of businesses. Other methods of maintaining a positive reputation online include monitoring the Internet for your company name, putting employee policies in place and enforcing them, and keeping on top of your industry’s best practices, including providing excellent customer service experiences.
Establishing a Positive Reputation Online
Here are steps you can take to make sure that there is more positive information out there about your company so that the good greatly outweighs a small portion of negativity:
Fill out all profile information on all social networks: LinkedIn, Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube, just to name a few. Look for other industry-related sites that might apply to your business or industry. Check out the site KnowEm.com to grab your name on all social channels. Once you are set up, post regularly and maintain best practices.
Search for your product or service online and checkout the listing sites that come up. This is a great way to find where your company can be listed in both industry-specific websites and local-listing sites such as the Yellow Pages Online and more.
Always add new and fresh content to your website.
Maintain a blog that is continually updated with content.
Regularly issue press releases.
Maintain profiles on all review sites so that you can fill in your company information and monitor them for reviews so that you can acknowledge and respond to all reviews – both positive and negative.
The above steps end up not just ensuring that your online presence accurately represents the number of happy customers but also will help you provide a positive outlook and better search ranking that will help you gain new customers. Do not fear the negative review or negative post in social media. Instead, use it as a chance to show other viewers that you listen and resolve issues. Especially on social media, remember that you control that channel. That does not mean you should ever delete or remove comments but address them honestly and objectively. Try not to take negative feedback personally and do not ever post when you are angry. Control the conversation and highlight the positives about your company.
Get Alerts When Your Company Is Mentioned Online
A big part of reputation management is monitoring the Internet so that you can know when someone has mentioned your company online and see exactly what they are saying. There are tools to easily enable this. Google Alerts is a free option provided by Google that allows you to get email alerts for any number of keywords you choose. Some Twitter applications can alert you to when certain keywords are mentioned on Twitter. There are also many paid reputation management tools that can help achieve this monitoring goal.
Maintain Strict Employee Policies Regarding Online and Social Media
When you establish and enforce a policy for employees, it safeguards your company from issues with employees, both present and past. Be especially cautious with the employees who are in charge of social media accounts and blogs, particularly so that they are careful when switching between their personal and your business accounts, and list specific guidelines of who owns the accounts and the followers if you and that employee part ways.
Best Practices and Excellent Customer Service
These two go hand in hand and as long as your company exhibits stellar policies and delivers excellent customer service and experiences, your reputation will remain positive as well. When your company operates with the customer in mind, it is a great way to ensure that those customers will be satisfied, happy customers.
Reputation management is an essential part of your business’s success. Part of managing your business’s reputation is you ability to prevent issues from becoming serious with your customers. You can successfully accomplish this by having the foresight to proactively put whatever measures are necessary to satisfy your customers so that they don’t become unhappy and thus, don’t damage your business’s reputation in any way.[signoff][/signoff]
Brian Lakeman is author and Brand Manager for Activ8me, Australia's leading NBN Satellite provider. His writing experience is primarily online in the form of blogging, he contributes to numerous websites in the internet and computer industries. Brian's capacity as Brand Manager allows him to explore various marketing avenues for Activ8me, all over the world. You can find him on Twitter and Google Plus.
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