Whether you’re an individual or a business, your reputation is and always will be important to you. However, in the digital age we now live in, it’s become a much bigger job to manage your reputation.
One thing that’s become clear to us is that a lot of people/businesses are not even aware of what is being said about them or how they can monitor it, let alone manage it so here are some practical tips for managing your reputation online.
Firstly, let’s start with how you can monitor what is being said…
Monitor what is being said
This may seem near impossible with the size of the internet so you may be surprised to know it’s actually rather easy to monitor thanks to this very handy tool from Google – Google Alerts. Google Alerts allows you to choose the keywords you wish to monitor so this could be your name or the name of your brand. Then you can select how often you’d like to receive notifications of new content.
A quick tip when selecting your keywords is to use speech marks to group two or more words together so that you only get results when those words appear together such as ”Mr Digital” instead of simply Mr Digital which would also bring up results for ‘mr’ and ‘digital’ separately.
Respond to reviews
This one is for businesses.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you are, if your business is listed online, it’s likely your customers and clients can leave a review, whether that’s on Google, Facebook, Tripadvisor or one of the many others. With your customers leaving reviews, the chances are you’re going to get a mix of both positive and negative reviews. After all, no business is perfect 100% of the time and it only takes one small bad experience for a bad review to be written.
It’s not the bad reviews I want to focus on here though, it’s ALL reviews. Whether you receive good or bad reviews, the best way to handle them is to respond and thank the customer for their feedback. If the review is negative, you could ask the customer to contact you to discuss the matter – this takes it offline and allows you to resolve it with the customer, but also shows anyone reading the review that you offer a good service and are dealing with any potential historical issues.
Push negative content out of view
This is where we start to step things up a gear in terms of managing your online reputation as to push negative content out of view requires quite a bit of effort on your part. Although it’s very rewarding if you have a negative article, negative press coverage or negative reviews you don’t want your customers, colleagues or fans to see.
So, how do you push negative content out of view? Well, you simply create and optimise new content to replace that content wherever it is; Google Search, Google News, Tripadvisor, etc… But there are ways you should and ways you shouldn’t do this, which leads me nicely on to the next point…
Create and distribute positive content
As I’ve just mentioned creating and distributing positive content to replace the negative content is a great way of managing your online reputation. However, the number one rule to remember here is to create content that is authentic and really deserves to outrank the negative content you are looking to replace.
What do I mean by that?
Basically, if it’s negative reviews you’re looking to replace, do NOT write (or get anyone else to write) positive reviews unless they are a genuine customer, talking about a real experience. The correct way to do this is to encourage your customers and clients to write more reviews and then you’ll find that soon does the trick providing the service/products you are offering are meeting or exceeding expectations.
If it’s Google News articles you’re looking to “hide” then you need to focus on creating positive news stories that will get picked up and replace the negative ones. If you’re unsure how to do this, don’t waste your time trying to figure it out as you could spend a lot of time and not get the desired results. Sometimes it’s just quicker, easier and more cost-effective to get an expert to manage this process.
Own your social presence
And last but by no means least, owning your social media presence. This is key for many reasons; these platforms are one of the places people will be searching for you or your business so by having a presence and owning the content that you distribute, you are in control of what they will find. Another key reason is that social profiles often rank well in Google, particularly an individual’s LinkedIn or Facebook Profile so owning your social presence will actually help YOUR content be found in the search engines too.
Hopefully, you’ve found these tips useful and are now in a better position to manage your online reputation. However, as you can see from the above, managing an online reputation is no small task, not even for those individuals or businesses with only a few negative comments or articles they’re trying to hide so you may decide to get some expert help and there are lots of agencies out there who offer this as a professional service.