By Keith Kakadia
With the internet playing such a major role in the current marketing era, protecting your online reputation is more important than ever. Even if you don’t have a social presence, that doesn’t mean people aren’t talking. And if people are talking, rest assured, the word is spreading.
What’s the word about your business and who is hearing it?
It’s time to get serious about your online business reputation and take charge of the direction the conversation around your brand is going.
Don’t pretend people aren’t talking
Believe me—they are. If you put your head in the sand, you’re going to end up with thousands of unhappy customers and a pretty good reason to remove your public pages. Ignoring the problem just gives it permission to blow up. And after the explosion, it becomes significantly more difficult to maintain a good reputation, even among your biggest fans.
Instead of pretending that certain conversations aren’t taking place, respond to the negative and positive reviews and do your best to isolate the damage. Easier said than done on social media, but the sooner you take care of the problem, the less it will spread. Remember that.
Assess your online business reputation: What’s the news?
Social listening is an incredibly powerful way to find out what’s being said about and around your brand. There are tools you can use to help you out with this aspect of the brand reputation process, so don’t be too discouraged if you’re entirely unfamiliar with the idea of social listening.
Monitoring your own social media is a great way to keep an eye on both positive and negative conversations around your brand and gives you an opportunity to step in when someone has questions, concerns, or complaints.
If you haven’t done so recently, Google your brand name and see what comes up. It’s possible that you can diffuse any negative comments you see and it will also give you an insight of what people are seeing when they are Googling you after initial introductions.
You’ll also want to do this quite often—maybe once or twice a month—to keep up on the ever-changing search results. If the top results are negative feedback about your brand, you’re in trouble and will want to act fast.
The truth about bad publicity
By now, we probably all have heard the famous words of P.T. Barnum: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” But the truth is this is rarely the case—especially with the introduction of social media into our everyday lives.
Let me introduce you to the concept of a reputation bomb. These can be things like negative reviews, hate sites, and even negative media coverage. These types of things aren’t easily dealt with and can cause huge issues because they’re the type of things that show up in Google results over the more positive information.
And the worst part? There’s no way to get rid of it. Why? Just read Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”