Online reputation management (ORM) is a process of protecting your reputation online and finding opportunities for enhancing your image on the web. While the digital world has opened the door for everyone to connect, interact, relate and share valuable information, it has also opened the door for anyone to post negative comments and discredit brands online. This happens a lot and many brand reputations have been smeared in the process. Did you know that your reputation could be made or broken in 140 characters or less?
While people may post negative comments or remarks for a couple of reasons, the most common one is when someone has had a bad experience with a brand and they want to tell their network about it. The end result is often a bad reputation for the brand and this could lead to losing customers and affect overall business.
If you have an online reputation management strategy, you can minimise the impact of negative comments and negative sentiment posted online about your business. In my opinion, it’s not a nice-to-have anymore, but a must have as more people are getting attuned to the digital world and social media sharing. While you can’t control what people are talking about online, it can offer its own line of defence, as you will be notified of any negative comments as soon as they happen to help you turn the situation around before it snowballs.
Here are a couple of tips if you are interested in online reputation management or if you have a couple of negative comments about you floating around online.
Search engine optimization
With an SEO strategy, you can push the negative comments and results deeper on the index so that they are not directly visible when someone searches for your brand name or any products and services you offer.
This isn’t an easy task, as it requires a thorough analysis of all the listings for your brand name on the search engine result pages. Authoritative websites with a long online presence with a good record will be more difficult to handle than others. The easiest way to remove the negative comments from appearing on the first page is by adding a lot of unique and magnetic content that is tied to your name or the terms you want to push down.
Research who posted the negative comment
Do thorough research about the person who left the negative comment. This will provide you with a good indication if the person will be open to discuss the issue so that you can defend your brand. Never start a battle online by posting back harsh remarks as this will backfire on you. Never try to showdown the person who left the comment. Respect and decency goes a long way.
Avoid black hat SEO
Black hat SEO is an under the table way of doing SEO with the hopes of getting quick rankings, but it doesn’t work. If Google or any other search engine catches you doing black hat SEO, your domain stands a chance of being removed completely from the search results. This could be more damaging for your reputation in the long run.
Use social media to spread the word
Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ can be a boon since they are public and can be used to strengthen your reputation and restore any damage to your reputation. The idea with using social media for online reputation management is to showcase your brand, your transparency, and to build a natural following.
Even though the tips above can help you with the dealing of negative comments online, it goes far beyond just a couple of methods to push the negative feedback down on the search results. When you receive a negative comment online, research everything about the comment and be open about it. How can you resolve the issue? Try to turn the person who left the negative comment into a brand ambassador.
Author | Anton Koekemoer
I'm your friendly neighbourhood digital marketing specialist. I specialise in helping brands connect with targeted customers by enhancing their online presence through emerging web-based communication channels. I translate business objectives into comprehensive initiatives that focus on humanising brand identity while maximising measurable business results. More