Fix and maintain your online reputation with TRANSPARENCY.
The staff writers at Kiss Metrics have produced a great guide to fixing your online reputation and managing your online reputation once it is fixed. Their ideas have been one of many big inspirations for our work and our blog, especially their Ten Commandments of Online Reputation Management (in the article linked to above).
One of those Ten Commandments is “Be Radically Transparent.” In order to give you a better idea of what that means and how to do it, we’re going to devote today’s post to transparency in business.
What is business transparency?
Transparency in this context essentially means “complete honesty.” It’s called transparency because it allows customers to see what is going on inside your business.
If your business has made some mistakes in the past, you want to face and fix them, instead of pretending that your customers don’t know about them. This means responding to negative reviews without being defensive or angry and truly addressing issues that customers bring up.
How does that help? Won’t it just make my business’ problems more public?
There’s some tricky psychology involved here, but look at it this way: if a potential customer sees a lot of negative reviews on your Facebook or Yelp page, and you haven’t responded to them or made any statement about addressing them, the viewer sees a business that ignores its customers. And if there’s anything you don’t want to be seen as online, that’s it.
This doesn’t mean that you should share all your one-star reviews on your Facebook page. However, if someone posts a negative review in a public forum (such as on Yelp or a social network), respond to it promptly and let them know how you will address the problem. If someone messages you privately to complain, engage with them instead of ignoring them, and see what you can do to help them out.
Often, these tactics can turn a one-star review and a customer who swears he’ll never do business with you again into a five-star review and continued loyalty – possibly for years to come.
But can I really respond to all complaints? Some of them just seem unfair.
Of course, there are customers that either overreact to problems or are simply mean-spirited individuals. When you have complaints like this bringing your online reputation crashing down, its time to hire an experienced marketer and/or take legal action.
However, before you write off a bad review or negative comment as hateful or without reason, step back and ask yourself if there’s anything legitimate in it. Often, there is a problem you can fix – and even if it won’t bring one customer back, it could bring more in the future – people who see you facing your problems like an honorable business owner and doing your best to fix them.
If your online reputation isn’t as spotless as you’d like it right now, Google’s use of more semantic search techniques in its engine’s algorithm could be the big change you need to fix it – if you know how to work this new system to your advantage.
Sounds great… but what the heck does semantic search mean, anyway?
The Moz article is a great in-depth explanation, but here are the basics: Google’s new incorporation of semantic search techniques into its algorithm means that it will not focus only on the words typed into the search box when looking for results, but at context.
This context includes search term synonyms, the way the search is phrased (is it a question, for example, or only a search for a particular term?), and the matching of concepts. All these factors and more will become more important to Google’s search feature over the course of 2017 and beyond, as Google and its competitors seek to make search engines function in a more intuitive, conversational manner.
They believe this will also undermine the efforts of shadier SEO techniques like keyword spamming.
How can I put this to work for me, though?
Most of the time, your reputation is damaged because of something that happened in the past. If there are negative articles or reviews of your work filling the first page on Google, that could change – because articles that were relevant to the old, more keyword-based search functions may not be as relevant to the new semantic search as newer content.
This means that your reputation can be changed for the better and then preserved through the creation of content that meets new semantic search criteria. That means that your blogs, articles written by or about you, and other web content related to you should be crafted in such a way that it doesn’t just rank highly on Google because of keywords, but because of an actual, nuanced value and relevance to searches involving your name.
This new search will also probably place more emphasis than ever on high-traffic sites like LinkedIn, WordPress, and social media outlets – meaning that you should always keep your profiles on these services fully updated and fully professional.
Anything else I need to know?
Google is also changing the way search results are presented, especially search results for people. The newer format is detailed in the Moz article, and you can see another example of it by quickly Googling a colleague or a favorite actor.
Look at the types of information that are prioritized: news, biography, social media, pictures, associates, personal info – anything anyone could ever want to know about a person, all neatly arranged on the first page.
The bad news here is that anything negatively impacting your reputation now is probably even easier to find – the good news is that you can quickly fix it.
Because there’s so much about a person on page 1 now, and the focus is always on more recent material, it should be easier than ever for you or a professional reputation enhancer to clean up. If your associates are part of a bad reputation, form new links online. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile or it isn’t up to date, get that fixed straightaway, as sites like LinkedIn are often prioritized for professionals in the new results page format.
So your online reputation has taken a beating – it happens to the best of us sometimes. What separates the successful from the unsuccessful is the skill required to rebuild a reputation or brand once it has taken some damage.
One of the many ways reputation enhancers and brand crisis professionals do this is by creatively and effectively using social media. It’s a complicated science that only the top experts in the field of reputation enhancement often get right – but understanding how it can work to fix your reputation can be your key to renewed success online.
In addition to news articles and a few other specific types of relevant information, Google prioritizes updates from major social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook in its search results. Usually a bad reputation comes from having a negative article or bad reference on the first page of your brand’s or your own Google search results, so having frequent and high-quality social media updates regarding you or your business can quickly boost your reputation by pushing those bad apples off of Google’s (or any other search engine’s) first page.
The effect is temporary, though, as these updates become less relevant over time. Despite that, they’re still extremely useful for two reasons. First, they can provide a quick boost to your reputation to protect you in the meantime while reputation enhancement services like our own work in the background. Second, if social media posts mention you often enough (or you create enough relevant content on your own social media profiles), this temporary reputation boost can be extended indefinitely. Usually only professional reputation enhancers can fully utilize this second benefit, though.
You can also use blogging sites, a sort of cousin to social media, to create more long-lasting results to push negative content related to you off of Google’s first page. Internet marketers and online reputation specialists have figured out how to best utilize blogs in this manner over time, including a wide variety of possible search terms and tweaks to search engines’ algorithms so as to most quickly and completely fix your online reputation.
Last but not least, social media and blogs can serve as a point of contact with potential customers, employers, or others, showing a side of you beyond the bad press. In other words, social media and blogging are good not only to push negative search engine results out of the way, but to work to put you and your brand in a more positive light by introducing others to all of your successes and good qualities.
Whether you’ve used our services here at Reputation Enhancer or you’ve worked on your own to make your online reputation (or your brand’s reputation) better, you don’t want to let all that time and effort go to waste. That’s why we’ve put together these three tips to help you keep your online reputation spotless.
1. Check your online reputation regularly.
Ever heard that old adage “the first step is admitting you have a problem”? It rings true for everything from minor problems like not tidying your desk often to big ones like addiction.
On the Internet, however, there’s another layer. Before you can admit you have a problem, you have to know you have a problem.
The easiest way to be sure you know whether or not you have a problem with your online reputation is to check as frequently as you can. For most sites, such as search engine Google and social media network Facebook, at least a daily check is recommended.
The important thing is to check any site where you or your brand may have a presence—whether that’s a search results page, a social media profile, or a presence on a review site like Yelp. We have an article right here at Reputation Enhancer to help you get started and learn the basics: “What Are the Crucial Steps to Checking Your Online Reputation?”.
Read that article to start, and make a list of sites you’ll check every day. Make sure you add any sites not in that article to your list if their content could affect you or your brand!
2. Resolve negative reviews.
Although it can seem like the world of the internet is a cruel one, most people online are just like most people in the real world—they may be critical or difficult, but they’re not usually outright hostile.
That’s good news for your reputation and your brand’s reputation, because you can turn some of those negative customer reviews out there on the web into positive experiences for your customers and yourself.
The important thing here is to be fast and thorough. You might not be able to do much to change a negative review from three years ago—but if you got a negative review last night and noticed it first thing this morning, that customer might still be open to change his or her mind.
Reach out to the customer if possible and let her or him know what you can do to resolve the problem. You can also make changes at your business that improve on whatever area the customer aimed his or her critique at.
Exactly what you do depends on your personality and the type of business you run or represent. But all of your actions should show one thing—that you care about the customer, even when a customer is against you.
Making the customer feel better or showing the general public an issue is resolved could turn everything around for you, and make a potential negative into a big positive.
3. Offset the bad stuff with more good stuff.
What do you do about those customers you just can’t reach, or a bad review or unfavorable article from years ago that is too late to resolve but still visible to the public?
The best thing to do is to get rid of negative reviews or other content bringing your reputation down entirely, but that is often not possible. And no matter how well you run your business, there is always going to be something on the internet that doesn’t look favorably on you, whether it’s from a customer, a competitor, or a personal acquaintance.
If you can’t expunge a piece of bad content from the internet, you can offset it by creating more positive or neutral content about your business. Consider starting a blog for your business, for example, or giving discounts or other promotions to customers who write reviews.
Although Google and other search engines often list thousands of pages for each search, most internet users never go past the first page. If you can fill that first page up with positive or neutral content like blogs and good reviews, it will push negative content out of the public eye.
Your online reputation is one the best personal assets. Whether you are prominent, startup or consulting other companies, you need a good reputation. Having good online reputation doesn’t come involuntarily. Once you have built your reputation, you have to take good care of it. It is not easy. The web world is full of smart, critical people and few hostile people. They are not interested in protecting your reputation. That is your job and it requires attention.
Automatic Alert: Google Alerts
The best types of monitoring systems are those that happen automatically. It automatically sends emails based on a particular query that you create.
Automatic Alert: Comments on Your Posts
Writing blog articles is one of the strongest areas ofonline reputation management. Whenever you write an article, you have to be responsible to keep up with that article and always engaged in the discussion.To do so efficiently, reply to the first comment and subscribe to all incoming comments so you don’t miss anything. Most commenting platforms have good system for subscribing to comment threads through email.
It is crucial that you keep track the discussion on your guest post and blog articles. This is where some of the most significant contact on your reputation is built. People read the articles and content you created and published online. They can agree, disapprove, raise questions, create opinions, and talk about you. Every time you publish a guest post, make sure you subscribe to the comment thread so you can be notified whenever a new comment is posted.
Daily Check: Facebook
Do a daily check on Facebook, too. You should organize your notifications so that you’re alerted to any interaction with your brand and business. Refer to set up Facebook alerts to be sent to your email. You can quickly comment in areas that you need to, respond to any important messages, and ignore things that are not good.
Daily Check: Twitter
Do your daily check-in on Twitter. If you’ve been followed, retweeted, mentionedor otherwise keep in touch with, you need to see what your notifications have to tell you.The more active you are on Twitter, the more people following you, the busier things will get. Like Facebook, you can configure your Twitter settings to email you all your updates.
Daily Check: Google+
Check Google+ on a daily basis. Whenever you log into Google, you will know if you have notifications from the bell alert in the upper right corner of Gmail, Calendar, Search, etc.
You don’t necessarily have to click on every notification update. You can click on the bar graph icon to mark all notifsas read. This feature is useful if you get many of notifications. If you’re active on Google+, you’ll know accurately when someone comments a post you’ve shared, re-shares your post and other points of engagement.
There a number of services that will provide help to help you “check your reputation online” or take actions of your online presence. Some of these services are helpful. Some are needlessly difficult.The basic process is simple. You need to keep up with the areas where you are present.Remember, checking your reputation online is only about information. Information needs action. You check your reputation online so you can manage and improve it more efficiently.
Business owners know the importance of keeping their online reputation blemish free. A single negative online review should be treated seriously as it can break an established business where so much time, money, and effort has already been invested into.
You will find diverse avenues online where customers can mention your brand or business either in a positive or in a negative damaging manner. In this time and age, customers will run a research first before purchasing a particular product or service online. You will notice that consumer complaint websites have mushroomed as a marketing trend and has greatly influenced consumers as it enabled them to leave feedback or post reviews about the product or service that they have purchased.
All of these may appear confusing for you, and you don’t know where to begin in terms of managing and monitoring your online reputation. We have gathered all the basic guidelines for your brand to have a good old spring cleaning.
Spring Cleaning Tips For Your Business Brand
Check Your Brand Online
Always take a moment to Google yourself or your brand to find out exactly what the search engine results are telling people about your business online.
Respond To Negative Comments Right Away
Never take a single negative comment for granted. Be on the guard, stay proactive and talk to the people who wrote the negative content and see if you can fix the issue directly with them.
Blog About Your Business
Start blogging about your business and your brand. Positive content will help push negative reviews down the search engine results, which shows only positive reviews about you or your brand.
Create Press Releases
Creating new press releases about your company on a regular basis will help keep a steady flow of fresh and positive content about your brand and your overall business online. Keep customers up to date about your projects, news, products, etc.
Get social as much as possible. Post on social media sites and create social media profiles for your brand, the more, the better. You can also post and establish your business or brand as a market or industry leader which can get you more customers and leads. Plus, this will work as your 24/7 advertisement to the online public where your brand will get tons of positive exposure.
Join Market Specific Message Boards & Community
Participate in forums or message boards that pertain to your industry or market niche. Pitch in on the conversations and leave a business link in your signature wherever it is allowed. Again, this allows for more online exposure and you get to reach to customers on a more personal level.
Perform Local Business SEO
Engage in local business SEO. It will make sure your business is in top of the search engine results, and will give you an edge ahead of your competitors. It will help you fortify your brand and online presence. Make it a point that your website and other web 2.0 properties are 100% optimized so they will work to your business brand and reputation’s advantage.
Think Twice Before You Speak/Post Online
As a general rule of thumb, always think twice before you speak or post anything online. For any information you post on the web will be taken as against you or your business, so post carefully. Do not say something if you are in the height of your emotions. Stay calm and always think things over.
A good online reputation is very important for any business or brand. People, businesses, and even employers will likely turn down your business if they come across any single information regarding your business on the World Wide Web. Treat your online reputation as your customer relations. Use it to improve your image online with the right plan of action. So, whether you are a small or large business, make it a point to include reputation management in your business plans.
Online reputation indeed plays a very important role in the success of your business. Consumer reviews has a great impact and in fact, influences people of whether to do business with you or not. Be aware of the factors that come into play when consumers are making on where to spend their hard-earned cash. They are reading reviews, searching social med, customer service, pricing, and other factors they can weigh fast and easily online.
Below are the tips and techniques on how to improve and manage your good business online reputation:
Manage your offline reputation
Your business online reputation is established starting with the offline experiences of your customers with your business, products or services. Most bad online reputations are not the outcome of competitor damage. Real reviews from real customers have huge influence on how your business in observed online. Making sure that customers have a good experience with your business, services, products and customer support spells out into good reviews online and builds a strong foundation of online reputation. Having the right system to handle angry customers while they are still in your location or still affiliated in the sale gives an extra layer of security against bad online reviews. It lets you to answer queries and make decisions that address and determine issues before they become online protests.
Learn SEO to rank higher in search results especially Google
Knowing how to do Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your business allows you to boost your online presence and reputation. It helps tell Google that you are real and that your business exists. SEO methods such as choosing keywords, structuring your titles and using tags andheaders properly can greatly improve how search engines crawl and index your business site.
Claim your profile on review and local sites
Claiming your profile on review and local sites helps you appear on the first two pages of search engine rankings. Yelp, YellowPages and Google let you claim your profile and answer to comments and feedbacks. In addition, you give your address, photos and business hours, payment options, description of your business and etc.
Don’t let a dissatisfied customer complete a profile for your business. These review and local sites are free and available 24/7, so it’s best to create you consumer review business profile. Put as much info as the site allows, like photos, and put a system in place to track what customers are saying online about you on these third-party sites.
Online reputation management might be a huge problem for big businesses but if you’re a small business and you don’t keep track of what people say about you online, then you are also at a greater risk of effects of these bad online reputation. Some of the major factors that can ruin your online reputation are negative reviews, lack of exposure and false or old information posted online. But not taking advantagefrom the free marketing and promotion that a positive online presence will give a small business might be the more heartbreaking side of not managing your reputation online.
Nowadays, the very first place people visit when looking for any information about a business or product is the internet. Business owners must be extra careful what information they share to the public about their company. A positive review is sure to boost a business’ brand, but a scathing rant from an unhappy customer can definitely ruin any company’s online reputation instantly!
As such, it is very important that business owners, whether big or small, to have a definitive reputation management plan. If your online reputation has been badly ruined, what would you do? When worse things get to worse, what is your recourse as a business owner?
Know Thy Enemy
Before you resort to any online reputation repair, you have to determine where the negative information came from. Make use of the major search engines and popular social media platforms to find out where the negative results are coming from. Know your enemy and know how you can attack.
Prevention Is The Best Defense
You will come across various ways to prevent any malicious and damaging acts as against your online business reputation.
First, have a website.
An official website is very important and helpful in protecting your online reputation as this will serve as an outlet for releasing official statements or information surrounding your brand or your company as a whole. Plus, you will have maximum control as to the kind of information that will be attributed to you or your business. An official website is the best place to release official statements regarding negative issues that’s clouding your business brand. This makes any outside information as false or fabricated.
Make sure your business website is on top of the search engines.
It is very important that your official website is on top of the search engine results page. Information shown on the first three pages of the search engines must pertain to your official business and pertinent information that way regardless of any negative reviews or bad press, your business will remain in control. This is basically because people turn to the search engines for information. Customers and prospects tend to check only the first few pages of the search engine results, if your website has not dominated these first few pages, it is high time you do.
Counter any negative information with positive content.
Yet another vital move is to counter any negative information with positive content. Post articles, work on your blog regularly, posts consistently on social media, and make sure you push any damaging content way down the search results. Just bring all the positive content in the forefronts of the results page and you will not have any problems with any negative review or bad press.
Getting on top of the search engine results is your primary goal in order to counter any negative results surrounding your business or brand. Make it a point o make regular press release or blog posts about your business. Fresh new content will help search engines index your sites and show them to people who are looking any information about you or your business. Show yourself or your business as a market or industry leader, so people will turn for you for their business needs.
Furthermore, do not hesitate to post on social media sites. It will help generate positive buzz for your online business reputation. The more you post, the more people will think you are an authority on the matter, and in the long run you will win their trust and support.
By following these easy to follow steps on repairing your dented online reputation, you are sure to catapult your business to success and bring your profits up the roof!
Nowadays, reviews are no longer simply the field of business critics. Thanks to the Internet, people could make reviews for everything. Just type your business name into any search engine, and you will probably locate a list of reviews right alongside of your address, phone number and web site link. These days, it is very frequent for people to research information about a company online before patronizing that business. So what should you do if someone has left a negative review online, and is able to be seen by everybody?
DON’T PANIC. A negative review shouldn’t harm your business. On the other hand, a long compilation of negative reviews might. If you feel that a negative review was unfair, there are steps you can apply to outsmart them.
READ THE REVIEW AND KNOW ITS WORTH. People make reviews both negative and positive, but negative experiences brought them up to write negative feedbacks than the positive ones. Read the review and aim to determine its legitimacy. Think of this. Is it really probable that the event the person is relating really did happen? If you have remembered the certain incident or person involved, is it too late to resolve it? Frequently, if someone has written a negative review, resolving the problem can encourage the customer to record with a positive one describing how the business take actions to fix the situation. Thus, records of positive reviews would only serve to reinforce your credibility with other review readers who can read that your business is with integrity.
OFFER YOUR OWN NEGATION. If you’re feeling that the negative reviews about your business are unreasonable, there are certain habits to offer a negation. You cannot get rid of someone else’s review, rarely sites that permit for reviews also permit someone to comment on a particular review. If so, leave comments, but know that you are an owner and try to keep lie-low. Stay as a professional, and keep your feedback clean and inexpressive. If you can’t react to a review directly, take your site or blog and post your own negation. A blog post clarifying the assumed problem (without naming names) can go a long way to counterattack something that is wrong.
POST YOUR CUSTOMER SATISFACTION POLICY. Mistakes happen a lot; it’s unavoidable. People should know that. But handling them is critical. Apply these policies. These things will prove that their satisfaction is the most important thing to you.
ENCOURAGE GOOD CUSTOMERS TO WRITE GOOD REVIEWS. Most of the people who read online reviews of a business try to make reviews into account before making a good decision. If a negative review offset the good ones, encourage your good customers to give review. Tell them how you value their opinions and feedbacks and it will be a big help if they make a quick post about what value they find in doing transactions with you. E-mail them a link to the review site, to make it convenient for them to write a review.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS. Never let a negative review get you down! Believe in your business and know that you are giving your best to deliver quality products and services to your people, the good reviews and clients will ultimately follow.
Most businesses today knows how important online reputations are, but many either haven’t prioritized it yet or don’t maintain that name properly. Online reputation is crucial it helps customers view your company in either a positive way which results to more profits or a bad way which drive customers way and do business with your competitor.
Based on a survey conducted by BrightLocal, about 88%of consumers rely on the reviews they read online and recommendations from friends when it to comes to doing business online. If thesereviews are defaming, customers will walk away with your business and turn to your rival. Thus, boosting online reputation and making sure good reviews are the ones posted is important to keep customers and sales coming.
The following are the three crucial factors on how to handle online reputation like a PRO:
Communicate with Customers
Unable to communicate with your customers in one of the most popular complaints found on reviews sites. They often leave customers hanging or clueless about when a new product will be launched or when an upgrade will be finished. By replying to these complaints, it shows that you are dedicated and willing to help your costumers no matter what the issue is. And it’s better if you had their problems answered or addresses before they make a complaint about you online.
Set Up Google Alerts
Google Alerts allow you to monitor certain search term. Once that term or name appears across the web, on blog posts, reviews sites or social media, you be informed. You can set up a Google alert with your business name and anybody lined with it to see what is being posted or said about the you or your business. Knowing about what’s being said about your company can help you see your weak side and what parts need to be improved.
If you get innovative with it, there’s actually quite a few ways to do with Google Alerts. By setting alerts for the names of your business rivals, you can see what they are up to and what the customers love about them. This will help you better know what products and services are the most practical or well-liked, and which marketing strategies to employ to help attract the attention and interest of those customers to you. You can even set an alert for business-related terms to identify what popular trends are in the region at any given time.
Make Sure Customers Leave Reviews
Most customers may actually love your product or service. The problem is, most of them simply don’t leave reviews because they don’t have a problem about it. The best way to make sure customers post reviews is to have a link placed directly on your website to where they can leave reviews. Make it very noticeable, possibly add them on a download page or receipt page and also include them on any follow-up or thank you emails. These links should direct people and customers to your Trust Pilot page, Yelp profile, Google My Business listing and other authority review sites.