Increasingly, reputation management is becoming a standard practice for many large and small businesses. Savvy business owners have realized that not only do they have to get to the top of a search engine results page for keywords relating to their products, but that they need to grab as much page real estate as they can for a search for their company name. Too many have been burned or lost customers because of negative reviews or so-called scam reports that show up on the first page of a search results page.
But a lot of reputation management is simply knowing where you need to be, who you need to reach out to, and what to monitor on the web for any potential problems. In that vein, let’s explore some reputation management strategies that will help you stay ahead of the curve instead of behind the eight ball.
1. Buy negative, company-related domains and profiles
One of the first things you need to remember in reputation management is that if you don’t take control of the way your company name is used, someone else will. Chances are that you already own a number of domains that reflect your company name, like bobsshoes.com, bobsshoes.org, bobs-shoes.com, etc. But what about domains that reflect badly on your company name, like bobsshoessuck.com or bobs-shoes-scam.com? Of course, you’ll never use those domains yourself, but if you own them, then no one else can buy them up and use them against you.
The same goes for social profiles. You may already have a Facebook page and Twitter that are company branded, but you should look into grabbing social profiles that might reflect badly on your company as well, so that no one else can use them.
2. Start social outreach now
Once you have those social profiles secured, use them (not the negative ones, obviously, just the positively branded ones). Depending on your industry, you may be the only company in your industry that has created social profiles—especially if your industry is not one that normally interacts with the public.
For example, if you are a concrete manufacturer, you may think you’ll never use a company Facebook account. But simply having a branded Facebook account for your company—when none of your competitors do—will not only help you rank better in the search results for “concrete manufacturers,” it will take up another spot on the results page when anyone searches for your company online.
And if you can actually capture the attention of people who are interested in the concrete industry and engage them through your social media outlets, you’ll begin building a positive reputation online that will battle any attacks on your company before they even begin.
3. Monitor the web
Lastly, you need to be aware of what is being said about you on the web. Setting up a few Google alerts that will tell you when anything is said about your company online is simple to do and, once you got them up and running, they’re easy to maintain. In addition, you can create Twitter searches that will let you know when your company name is tweeted—good or bad.
With automated alerts, you’ll know when a blogger complains about one of your products or someone writes something negative about your company. Being alerted to these potential problems as quickly as possible will help you get in front of the problem and defend your reputation before any damage is done.
Knowing Is More Than Half the Battle
Taking charge of your reputation management online is about knowing where you need to be, who you need to reach out to, and where you need to look for potential problems. But if you control all your company domains (positive and negative)—as well as social media profiles—and are aware of what is being said about your company online, your reputation management strategy should be successful.