When it comes to managing the online reputation of your business, you might not have the first clue as to how to proceed. Heck, you might not even know how to determine what kind of reputation you have in the online arena. And yet, whether or not you’re aware has little to do with the fact that your virtual reputation can impact your business in a very real way. So it behooves you to figure out what people are saying about you and why. In some cases, you’ll discover that your dedication to providing quality products and services along with excellent customer service has earned you a well-deserved, positive reputation. But you might also find that disgruntled consumers, ex-employees, or even competitors have been writing negative reviews or pulling other stunts that have saddled you with a negative online image. So whether you’re looking to improve your online reputation or protect the positive brand representation you’ve worked so hard to build, here are a few tips on how to safeguard your reputation in cyberspace.
The place to start is by learning what people are saying about you, as well as what information consumers are encountering. The simplest way to do this is to run a Google search and see what comes up. Ideally, the front page will be dominated by links to content you have created, either on your website or via your social media profiles. However, you might find that this is not the case. Blogs or news outlets may have negative articles concerning your company or your goods or services that you were unaware of. Industry forums may be abuzz with misinformation provided by anonymous sources (whether it comes from unscrupulous competitors or dissatisfied consumers, you have no way of knowing).
Unfortunately, you might have little recourse when it comes to removing these negative reviews and commentary, whether they’re true or not. However, you can take steps to override the online content that is damaging your reputation and promote a positive online presence in its place. For starters, you need to make sure that your professional portals and platforms are working to your best advantage. This means providing stellar content on your website and optimizing it so that it is the first thing potential customers find when searching for you. But you should also create a unified strategy that includes social media and marketing efforts to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to present the type of image that will appeal to your target audience.
Of course, you simply may not have the resources at your disposal to fight a smear campaign, especially if your competitors are intent on wiping you out. At this point you might want to consider the benefits of using online reputation management services. Although they can be pricy, they have the knowledge, skills, and staff on hand to help you clean up your online image and turn your reputation around, both through confronting detractors and by helping you to maximize your own efforts. If you’re making little headway on your own, it might be worth every penny to hire a pro to help you effectively manage and protect your online reputation.