There is a good chance that, at some point, reputation management for your company will become a necessity. The following are a few of the aspects to consider and implement.
Build – The best reputation management technique available is to build your presence on the search engines prior to the arrival of negative content. Much akin to building a fortress prior to attack instead of during one, this practice goes beyond the objectives of typical search engine optimization toward multiple listings in the top thirty rankings (first three pages) on the search engines. The reasons are two-fold; the first that by seeding the search engine results pages with brand building content you can build trust and familiarity with your potential customers. The second is that this same practice will make it much more difficult for negative content to work its way up to rankings high enough to be seen by people searching for your company. Additionally, while it’s true that one negative comment can cause a lot of problems, having it outnumbered by a multiple of positive ones will likely lessen its impact.
Engage – Whether online chatter takes place on blogs, in a forum, or on a social media site you’ll want to be able to participate in those conversations, especially should the tone be negative. To that end, monitoring what is being said about your company will allow you or your reputation management company to engage at an early stage of the ensuing thread. Whether it’s a misperception, a rumor, or a legitimate beef about something your company did or didn’t do, telling your side of the story as soon as possible is a must. If the complaint or review is legitimate, taking accountability and laying out how your company plans to deal with the issue will let people reading the thread know that you’re listening and respectful of input. Either way, participating in conversation allows for the best representation possible.
Bury – Unlike the days of traditional media where a story would lose its legs and drift out of the public’s consciousness, a story on the internet will hang around for the ages. If there is truth to the story, engagement in managing the story will likely prove to be the most efficient use of time and resources. On the other hand, if your company is being attacked for the purpose of revenge or a competitor trying to gain advantage, an online reputation management strategy of burying the associated negative content will be the best method for minimizing damage. As mentioned previously, pro-active reputation management can make the make the job easier by limiting the amount of negative content that makes it to the front pages of the search engines. Still, clearing whatever does come up becomes priority one. The creation of blogs, websites, articles, and press releases followed by search engine optimization and marketing is the normal course of business for pushing content away from the front pages of the search engines. The time it takes for a successful campaign is totally dependent on competition for the space and the veracity of the attack.
The importance of building and maintaining your positive reputation requires a serious commitment of time and skill to make sure that it’s done properly. Outsourcing these tasks to an experienced reputation management company is often the best option in terms of 24/7 monitoring, response times, and tactical implementation. Reputation Management LLC has been protecting companies since 2001.