How Online Reputation Management Works
Online reputation management means more than just looking at star ratings on Yelp or reviews on Angie’s List. If you’re a modern contractor, managing your online reputation can be an important way to promote your business and protect its image so you can draw in more clients and increase your revenue. Here’s what you need to understand about this important strategy for maintaining an effective internet presence.
What Is Online Reputation Management?
Your online reputation is a mix of the information you post online and the things other people post about you or your business. This may include the following types of content:
- Website text
- Blog articles
- Professional and consumer reviews
- Press releases and other media information
- Social media posts and mentions
- Competitor comparisons
Online reputation management is a strategy for managing this content so as to create a positive brand identity on the internet. It can ensure potential customers find the information you want them to see when they search for you online.
How Online Reputation Management Works
Online reputation management is a strategy that’s designed and implemented internally or by an agency hired to act on your behalf. Because every online reputation management campaign is unique, they rely heavily on the norms of the relevant industry and the company’s specific marketing needs.
An online reputation management strategy may be proactive, or it may be launched in the hope of repairing a reputation that’s already been damaged. Either way, a reputation management strategy may consist of some or all of the following components:
- Adding or removing online content and keeping information up to date and relevant
- Optimizing websites and social media accounts for maximum visibility in search engine results using current SEO techniques
- Monitoring mentions on social media and ensuring prompt, thoughtful responses
- Contacting websites to request removal or revision of inaccurate, negative, offensive, or defamatory information or content
- Attracting positive reviews
- Responding to and resolving negative consumer reviews
- Creating and distributing press releases
- Crafting contests and giveaways
- Interlinking or otherwise connecting high-impact content
- Identifying copyright violations and trademark infringement and issuing cease-and-desist letters
- Recommending keywords and topics for content creation
Online reputation management is typically an ongoing, active process rather than a one-time service, and monitoring will likely occur daily or even more often.
Online Reputation Management For Contractors
A business’s internet presence often serves as the first impression to potential clients, which makes having a positive online image essential. By improving your online presence, you can enhance consumer trust, build credibility through transparency, attract better talent, draw in new customers, and increase revenue. In fact, a good reputation is probably the best asset a company can have.
That’s particularly true for contractors and other service professionals who rely heavily on personal recommendations and word of mouth to bring in new clients. Whether they’re positive or negative, online reviews can impact consumer decisions. Because contractors often get leads through word of mouth or positive reviews, online reputation management is essential.
Hiring A Reputation Management Company
Although reputation management strategies may be designed and managed in-house by dedicated internet-savvy employees and marketing professionals, some businesses may opt to hire a reputation management company to handle their internet presence. Reputation management companies are businesses that specialize in monitoring and optimizing your online reputation. By hiring a reputation management company, you can make sure your online presence is one that draws customers without reservations.
Reputation management companies work hard to ensure your online presence is in order by executing some or all of the following actions:
Search Engine Optimization
A reputation management company should ensure that your website is the first thing customers see when they search your company’s name. They should also verify that any other owned content, such as social media accounts, appears on the first page of search results on Google and other popular search engines.
Review Monitoring And Management
An important part of managing an internet presence is managing reviews. Most reputation management companies monitor reviews on popular consumer sites, including but not limited to those listed below:
- Yellow Pages
- BBB reviews
- Google My Business
- Angie’s List
- Facebook reviews
Although reputation management companies can’t always have consumer reviews removed from a website, they can often catch and analyze them before they’re posted. That lets companies address concerns and resolve issues quickly. A reputation management company also help your business create appropriate messaging to respond to negative reviews that are posted.
A reputable online reputation management company will never post false reviews.
Positive Messaging Promotion
A good reputation management company helps businesses promote positive information and messaging found online. This is an effective technique for mitigating the effects of negative online information, which may include competitors’ propaganda and other false or inaccurate local advertising.
SEO Mind Maps
SEO mind maps are an effective technique for physically drawing out thoughts in a way that helps identify and select effective keywords and topics that are relevant to your business. These keywords can then be used to more effectively create and promote blog and website content.
How Does A Reputation Management Company Work?
It wasn’t so long ago that if you felt disgruntled with a company, its products or services, you would share that opinion with a few friends. You might even see your experience reported in the local newspaper. But the chances were, that it would quickly be forgotten as new stories came in.
With the advent of the internet, all that changed. Now communications and reviews are shared in a second with thousands if not millions of other potential customers and that review stays around forever. This has then resulted in businesses needing to carefully manage their digital reputation, which often means enlisting the help of a reputation management company.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management means taking proactive steps to manage the conversations taking place within the internet. Whether that’s taking place on a website discussion forum, through social media or on review sites, a reputation management company will aim to ensure that the information presented first is positive. Where there is negative content in the form of complaints, poor reviews or defamatory comments, then the online reputation management company will work towards reducing its impact or it being removed.
The purpose of online reputation management is not to mislead, after all, it would be unrealistic for a company never to have a complaint; instead, they aim to create a balance through highlighting the positive aspects of their client’s reputation..
What is The Difference Between Online Reputation Management and Public Relations?
At first glance, reputation management and public relations can appear to be very similar. Now while it is likely that you will utilise the power of both of these strategies within your marketing plan, these two approaches have some significant differences.
Public relations is all about working with others to share positive information about a business or brand. That’s likely to include developing relationships with journalists and social media influencers. It’s then hoped that when you have published a press release or have news to share, that they will, in turn, share it with their audiences without the need to pay a fee.
The challenge with public relations activity is the lack of control. You’re entirely at the whim of the individual or organisation as to whether or not they will publish your release. Then, even if they do, they may change how communications are delivered, resulting in a very different delivery of information to what was planned or needed.
While public relations is still a valid and essential aspect of a company’s marketing campaign, its impact can be limited within digital marketing.
Online reputation management provides control. It allows individuals to decide exactly what appears online and when that happens. Whether that’s through content on a company website, a personal blog or the information found when using a search engine such as Google.
That control also resonates within social media marketing, ensuring that anyone looking to find out more about a company or an individual can easily find important messages.
What Can I Expect from a Reputation Management Company?
A reputation management company is often called in when businesses need help in handling crisis situations. However, the best way to deal with a crisis is to prevent it from happening in the first place! A proactive online reputation management strategy can ensure that current and potential clients are presented with positive information each time they come across a business or an individual online. And should the worst happen, then a professionally developed crisis plan can quickly be put into action at the first sign of a problem.
Online Reputation Analysis
One of the first steps for a reputation management company is to assess and analyse a business or individual’s existing online reputation. Then they can start the process of formulating a personalised positive reputation strategy.
But before that begins, they will also want to get a greater understanding of how a brand or business should be perceived, that in turn will allow them to develop the right approach to achieve your goals.
Search Engine Optimization
One of the most important aspects of reputation management is implementing a long-term strategy around search engine optimization (SEO). There are several elements to this approach, including web development and the building of positive links back to your site.
When undertaken by experienced reputation management consultants, effective SEO provides control over the information that individuals see when searching on the internet via a site such as Google. Two SEO approaches which can effectively build an excellent reputation are:
1. Increase Rankings of Positive Search Results
Search engine optimization is essential for every business whether you’re a 100 per cent .com business or a pure ‘bricks and mortar’ operation. Gone are the days of customers searching newspapers and printed phone directories to find a plumber in London or a Newcastle local taxi firm. Google and the other search engines are now seen as the best way for people to find the services they need and check if they have a good reputation and positive reviews.
All this means that it’s essential for businesses to ensure that they achieve 100 per cent positive content at the top of the search engines results.
2. Create Content Around Potentially Negative Search Results
While everyone wants to avoid negative search results, the chances are that someone will be unhappy with the service provided by your team at some point. This then means that without action from the online reputation management experts, your potential clients will get to see negative reviews and comments first.
Content marketing is a really good option for online reputation management. It provides a way of controlling the narrative and providing an environment of damage limitation. Now that might mean that when people search Google for your business name and ‘bad reviews’, instead of looking at damaging content, they will see content explaining how you work with all your customers to ensure their satisfaction which then avoids ‘bad reviews’.
Social Media Reputation Management
Social Media Marketing Campaigns
Posting engaging content is one of the best ways of developing a following for your brand. A reputation management company will develop a content marketing plan to ensure that people can find the best quality information on your page. This, in turn, allows them to know that they’re dealing with experts within the field who they will want to connect with. Reputation management also works as a two-way process, so engaging and getting to know your top followers will also feature within their strategy
Additional benefits to online reputation on social media platforms come from their ability to help you rank on the first page of Google searches and in providing a great way for potential clients to become familiar with your brand.
When you take time to listen to the comments being made about the business or brand, then you’ll soon know if a reputation change is taking place. An online reputation management agency will follow comments and mentions across each channel over time to assess if there are changes to the company reputation.
Resolving Issues Which Influence Reputation
An additional advantage to this digital style of connecting with others is the rapid speed of service it enables in communications with customers. This can then provide an insight into how your team operates and the level of help you provide.
Management of Customer Reviews
You can only imagine the response that a potential client may have should they search for a business and then be presented with negative reviews about their product or service. This is when the agency will develop online reputation management campaigns that encourage genuine customers to post positive feedback. This, in turn, shifts the likelihood of potential customers seeing a damaging review.
Where there is negative content, then there is the opportunity to get back to the reviewer to find out how the situation can be put right. When people know that there is a 100 per cent commitment to high levels of service and achieving a successful resolution, then they will come back in the future.
There is also the potential for malicious reviews that make false allegations. This is where the power of the reputation management agency can really assist a business. That’s because when reasoned conversation and engaging with the individual fails to get results, then they will get in touch with website owners and hosting companies to get the false information removed. And if that doesn’t remedy the situation, then they will be able to advise on the legal options available.
The reputation of a business has always been important and in the online world even more so. While public relations and traditional marketing still have their place, an online reputation management company can make the difference in achieving the results you want for your online reputation.