10 Steps to Managing and Repairing Your Business Online Reputation
Updated: Aug 17
No matter your industry or the size of your company, your reputation, both online and in-person, is important. 25% of a company’s market value comes directly from its reputation; it plays a key role in the long-term success of your organization. It’s extremely important you consistently manage your online reputation before and after it may turn negative. Below are ten steps that every business owner should follow to assess and repair their business’s reputation.
Implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps your company rank higher in search results for keywords and phrases related to your business. You need to create beneficial content that targets your SEO keywords. The more you create, the more you’ll be able to push negative reviews down in search rankings. 75% of searchers don’t look past the first page of search results, so once your negative review reaches page two or lower, most people won’t see it.
Search engines look for fresh, quality content. Consider starting a blog on your site where you can post valuable information about your company. SEO can help boost positive content while burying negative content.
Create a Facebook Business Page
Facebook has more than 2 billion users. If you don’t already have a page for your business, go ahead and create one. Responding to people’s questions and concerns on Facebook shows potential customers that you care about their feedback. Encourage people to leave reviews as Facebook reviews show up in Google searches. If you receive a negative review on Facebook, don’t panic. Respond to the complaint and make every effort to resolve the issue.
Claim your Google My Business Listing
The first step is to claim your listing on Google My Business. After claiming, you can manage and reply to your reviews. Remain positive when replying to negative reviews as this will show potential customers that you are open to criticism and suggestions. Encourage customers to leave reviews, these reviews will show up when someone googles your business. However, make sure you keep an eye on these reviews on a regular basis.
Encourage Positive Reviews
Ask for feedback. When someone makes a purchase or receives a service, ask them to rate their experience. Include calls to action to prompt customers to review and rate your products and services. Encourage social media fans to review your business, if they’re already following you on social media, there’s a good chance they like what you offer.
To make it easy for people to leave reviews on your site, you can incorporate a star rating system on your products that can encourage customers to review items they purchase. Never bribe people to leave positive reviews; simply encourage and ask for feedback.
Resist Canceling Existing Social Media Accounts
Hiding from the online world or trying to penalize it may imply that you have something to hide. People will notice if you remove items from your articles or blogs and while you can still do this, it may escalate their concerns on another forum. Instead of hiding or deleting things, try to add more positives to cancel out the negatives.
However, if someone does post something inappropriate or defaming content or images about you or your business, you can contact Google and ask them to remove the page or website from its listing. You may also need to contact the site’s webmaster to remove the content from their site. Remember: just because it doesn’t show up in Google results, doesn’t mean that it no longer exists.
Minimize your Public Response and Defense
Resist fighting people online or in public. Online chatter can turn hostile and outsiders tend to stick up for the underdog. “Trolls” are people who post anonymously to get a rise out of their victims and instigate a fight. You cannot control another person on or off the internet. Instead, inform, inspire, and build trust through good actions. Instead of trying to control another person, take control of your own image and the content you produce.
Become familiar with the differences between slander, defamation, and libel and retain legal counsel for advice. Always consider the long-term effects before you file a lawsuit, as in some cases it’s not worth the personal and professional cost for a legal victory.
Define Indicators and Measure Impact and Results
Your company’s reputation and your personal one are two different things. However, they are inevitably intertwined. Your social media accounts cannot contradict the values of your company. Be the role model you want potential customers to look up to. Refrain from discussing the past with new customers and celebrate every success. Be selective with how and what you communicate to the public. Regularly count positive versus negative results from a Google search and perform satisfaction surveys.
Set Specific Recovery Goals and Create Action Steps
Take note of your real accountability requirements, both legal and business, for each recovery option you have. A public apology is appropriate in some situations, while a private phone call or meeting is appropriate in others. Provide resolutions and ask the negative comments to be removed. Always try for long-term resolutions.
Don’t Ignore the Issue or Pretend No One Notices
You are not required to respond to a problem publicly, but no feedback should be ignored internally. Customers and their feedback should be taken seriously at all times and used as an opportunity to improve. If a concern or problem is reported, that likely means others have experienced the same thing too. It’s hard to satisfy everyone, but you should try to find a solution, whether publicly or internally.
Separate your Emotion from Feedback Reality
Negative reviews can hurt. However, when you get emotional about negative feedback you are likely to act defensively and that can cause problems with the public. When you respond to a negative review or concern, act with intention and clarity. Do not jump to conclusions, instead, ask members of your team for their perspective. You may have to remove yourself from a situation and let someone else handle it.
Your market value depends on your reputation, both online and in-person. It is important that you manage your online reputation and handle all negativity with professionalism while trying to find a solution. It is extremely important that you use these steps to improve and maintain your reputation so that your business flourishes.