With more companies doing business online, your reputation is something that you can’t ignore. It’s important to be on top of this because your online reputation is permanent. Situations that happened years ago can resurface and have a negative impact. Reputation Management (ORM) can be a confusing term at first but it’s not complicated. Here are a few general guidelines to keep in mind.
Before we go into anything else, we need to discuss Reputation attacks. Eventually, someone, somewhere is going to try to attack your company’s reputation, and the digital age only makes that more plausible. It might not even be aimed at the business. They might go after various people within the company.They may have their different reasons for doing so, say a journalist trying to get a break in their career or even a competing business trying to smear your company’s image to make theirs look better, but one way or another it’s going to happen. The end goal of these attacks is to hurt your business Your company needs to be ready to face these things.
Managing public relations
A great way to ensure your company survives any backlash or questionable coverage is to establish a good relationship with the public beforehand.The easiest way to avoid bad press is by having a solid reputation from the start. You must accept that the media plays a huge role in how the public views you. Though it can be a problem at times, it’s also a solution as well. You need to be aware of what is being said about your business. Since the media is trusted by the public, it’s best to keep a good reputation with them. Staying on good terms with those who have solid reputations is a good way to help your own.
Managing your Online Reviews
Online reviews are a part of modern day business. In fact, about 90% of customers claim to make almost all of their major purchasing decisions online with review sites like Yelp, Google My Business and even Facebook. People can look up a business in a matter of seconds and make their choice based on your reviews. Organic strategies consist of being proactive with your customer base, meaning that when a customer leaves a review that you should provide a quick response that either praises their kind words or solves issues efficiently. Another option is buying reviews in bulk. In either case you need to pay attention to these sites.
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How to Manage your Social Media
With the widespread use of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, companies have found great success in creating company profiles on them as well. Unlike a review site, this is a much more personal way to engage with your customers.However, without proper management, a social profile can be a liability. Look at what happened in 2011 to Chrysler. Their social media manager posted onto the company twitter, a comment that was meant for his personal page. Chrysler survived just fine, but Mr. Bartosiewicz, who represented Chrysler through his own company known as New Media Strategies, was immediately fired, and the company he represented was black listed. If nothing else, this is a cautionary tale about making sure that your social media reputation always meets the standards of the brand they represent. This is a key example of a small misstep having major repercussions.
Search optimization (SEO) is the process of influencing search engines to show your business in the top positions when customers look for services and products by optimizing and promoting websites, content, and other forms of media. It is a complicated subject, and merits its own article entirely, but in ORM, this means that the SEO component is meant to manipulate search results with chosen media content, in order to suppress any negative material that the person or business may need to get rid of. SEO is key to ORM and without it, your strategy with fail. SEO should be viewed as the backbone of your online reputation. Unless your are happy with having a doomed reputation, you need to invest time into SEO.
How to remove content
While everything you do online is permanent, there are a few ways to work around this. However, in some rare instances it is possible to have content removed. Though it doesn’t guarantee anything, it can help fix your online reputation. The US Digital Millennium Copyright Act criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control the access to copyrighted works.The US Digital Millennium Copyright Act criminalizes copyright infringement and works with businesses. In these situations, a “Demand” may be filed with Lumendatabase.org who then contacts Google. While it’s meant to protect freedom of speech, it can be used to take down content.
Dealing with Spambots
A spambot is a program designed to collect, or harvest, email addresses from the Internet in order to build mailing lists for sending unsolicited email, also known as spam. They are nasty computer viruses that can be used to do a variety of things including even making fake profiles. All of these can lead to severe denial-of-service issues and even shut down an entire website. Nobody likes a computer virus, as it is a direct security violation, so having spambots appear on your site can cause your customer base to distrust your company.
Luckily, spambots are pretty easy to identify. They generally lack understanding of the complexity of communications, and will often come off as “automatonic” in tone. They tend to sound robotic in their communications. They also tend to share useless information and lead to untrustworthy sites. There are several ways to remove them by proving that you own the site. This can include email verification, one-time-password (OTP) or phone verification.
Managing negative SEO
Negative SEO refers to the practice of using black hat and unethical techniques to sabotage a competitor’s rankings in search engines. It is a disruption of your SEO, and negative SEO attacks can come in a number of different forms, including a direct hack of your website, building hundreds of spam links to your website (known as link farms), copying content and redistributing it all over the internet, connecting your website with keywords that may be considered inappropriate, creating fake social profiles in your company name, and removing backlinks from your site entirely (thereby reducing your overall SEO).
It’s worth pointing out that these things can happen unintentionally as well. If you fail to keep your site update for example, it can have a negative impact on your SEO. Search engines may also misinterpret your content as well. This is why it’s critical to always keep up on your SEO.
What is Astroturfing
Astroturfing can be be described as artificial grassroots marketing. While this isn’t inherently a bad thing, Astroturf marketing has developed a negative connotation, since it is entirely possible for sketchy marketers to use deceptive tactics to build buzz by taking advantage of the anonymity of the internet. After all, it’s hard to accuse someone of misleading you if you don’t know who they are. Many companies utilize these kinds of tactics, but they are far from practical and rarely sustain any sort of long-term impact with the customer base. Though used by many companies, these methods fail to have a long term impact. While failing to have a long term impact, a lot of companies still use these tactics. In fact, customers may feel inclined to stay away from your company, feeling as though they can’t trust the brand anymore. The typical attitude is that if the ads are fake, so is policies of the company.
What is Reputation Marketing
The right kind of marketing can help out your business reputation in the long run. If you create brand loyalty early on, you will build a base of repeat customers. It’s like having a full time PR team at your disposal, and these individuals will often fight tooth and nail in order to protect the company image. As long as your company delivers on its promises and ensures the quality of its services and products, then it is usually more than enough to prevent developing a negative reputation. Sometimes the best companies can hit setbacks but having a solid history will help you out.
The Streisand Effect
Named after the singer and actress Barbra Streisand, after she sued a California photography company for photographing her home, the Streisand effect is the phenomenon where there is an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely. In other words, if you make a big deal out of something that appears to be inconsequential, you unintentionally attract the attention of critics and competitors, thereby increasing the negative consequences towards your online reputation. With the internet full of trolls, you need to maintain your cool. In these situations, it’s always best to act with tact.