3 Ways to Get In Front of a Reputation Management Crisis

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.

4 Ways Preemptive Reputation Management Is Like Your Mother

It’s after we leave the house, go out into the world, marry, and have kids of our own that we finally realize what our mothers were saying to us all those years ago, and we grow a greater appreciation of the things they taught us and the sacrifices they made for us.

And, of course, we swear we aren’t going to let our kids turn out like we did. We’re going to break millions of years of tradition and actually be the first people on the planet to have kids who listen to us and don’t make the same mistakes we did growing up.

Reputation management can be the same way. Most companies know about reputation management, they’ve learned its principles and understand the benefits it might have. But it’s not until a crisis comes knocking that they realize they should have created a reputation management strategy when they were told to. And now it’s too late. Hindsight is always 20/20.

But you can fix it. Remember reputation management is like your mother in 4 ways:

1) Reputation management wants to protect you

Just your mother, reputation management wants to keep you safe and out of harm’s way as your company grows. Creating a preemptive reputation management strategy from the start will help you begin to defend against online attacks before they begin. And if your company starts now, you’ll be that much more ahead when a crisis actually strikes.

2) Reputation management gives you good advice

Your mother was always trying to give you advice in order to keep you safe and protected, so you would learn the correct way to act and speak. Reputation management is not much different. A good reputation management strategy dictates that you put policies and actions into place now, before a crisis starts, so that you can build good habits and protect yourself from future embarrassment and lost profits.

3) Reputation management speaks from experience

Many reputation management professionals have seen disasters happen time and time again to companies who were inadequately prepared for an online PR nightmare. And because they’ve seen it happen many times they know how to handle it and what to do. But, most importantly, they recognize the need for a preemptive reputation management strategy, so you may never need to face a large problem.

4) Reputation management knows you better than yourself

Your mother knew all about you, and because she was watching you grow and learn, she could tell what you were feeling before you told her. She knew when something was wrong and she tried to help you correct problems before they got out of hand. Preemptive reputation management is similar in that a reputation management company operates outside your company, so they have a different perspective. And sometimes an outside perspective is what you need in order to fully protect yourself from online threats and PR problems. Reputation management firms can take an objective look at your company and give you the best advice possible to get you back on track.

Now that you’re all grown up, you can see your mother’s wisdom, even if it was hard to understand at the time. But wouldn’t it have been better if you would have listened and understood your mother’s wisdom back then? The same goes for reputation management. It’s better to start now and put policies and strategies into place, so you don’t have to deal with bigger problems later, when it might be too late.

4 Reasons to Invest in Preemptive Reputation Management

There is a reason that medieval kings and lords spent years building their castles. Because they knew that if they waited to start building until an army attacked them, there was no way they could defend themselves. In today’s world, your company many not be under threat of physical attack, but your company’s reputation is at risk for attack online as long as you have no reputation management strategy in place to protect it.

Too often companies wait until their reputation is under attack until they start thinking about investing in a reputation management strategy. But by that time, the damage has already been done, and it is much harder to fix the problem than it would have been to prevent it in the first place by building your castle defenses well in advance.

If your company has a reputation to defend, then it’s time to start investing in a reputation management strategy, and here’s why:

1. The future is uncertain

Your company may have a great reputation right now, but you never know what might happen in the future. Often times, all it takes is one vocal, web savvy individual to start posting negative comments and articles online about your company. When your customers search for your company name online and the 2nd result they see—under your company’s official website—is a “scam review of [your company],” the damage is already done, and you are already losing money. Prepare for the future by investing in reputation management now.

2. It will be easier now rather than later

Before a crisis, it is much easier to build your defenses. Before a crisis hits, it’s much faster and economical to build a broad positive online reputation. But if you have no defenses when the crisis hits, you’ll spend all your time and money fighting each negative review and blog post individually instead of having a broad layer of defenses already in place.

3. Get ahead instead of playing catch up

If you have no defenses, your enemy controls the field of battle in an attack. They get to pick where to strike first, how to attack, and when to do it. Then when the attack comes you’re left playing catch up and putting out fires instead of focusing on your larger defense strategy. But if you build a strong, positive online reputation ahead of time, you’ll be ready for an attack and the slings and stones of your enemy will not do as much damage. You’ll control the battle.

4. Invest now, and you may never have to face a crisis

The best part about investing in reputation management now is that, with a strong strategy in place, you may never have to face a crisis. Instead of dealing with an attack on your reputation after it happens, if you are well prepared, those attacks may never have an impact on your business. And if you can prevent attacks from becoming crises before they happen, you’ll save time, energy, and money, without losing any of your customers or seeing a dent in your profits.

Overall, preemptive reputation management is about building your castle of defenses now, before there is a problem. Because if you can get your reputation management strategy in place now and start building your defenses, your chances of dealing with a crisis later can be lessened or even averted completely. So how strong is your castle?

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