It’s been said that the best defense is a good offense. What this means in the context of online marketing is that the best way to avoid being slandered or disparaged on the Internet is to be actively involved in review sites, social media accounts, etc.
This is called ‘online reputation management’ and not only is it a smart way to prevent bad publicity, but it is also an extremely effective way of attracting business, communicating with customers, and making your company known. Being involved online should be a part of every company’s marketing strategy. To begin, there are five aspects of online reputation management to consider.
1. Google Searches
Have you ever typed your own name into the Google search bar and browsed through the results? For an individual, it can be an amusing and enlightening experience. But for a business it is far more critical. Even if your company is known for outstanding customer service and high quality, it is an unfortunate fact of life that there is most likely going to be someone in the world who is bent on disparaging you.
Whether it’s a competitor, disgruntled customer, or even someone with a personal quarrel against you, the Internet provides a dangerously effective means of bringing your company’s reputation down. By searching your company name in Google, you can stay on top of what is being said about you.
Furthermore, in order to prevent bad publicity, it is important to make sure no one has purchased domains with your company’s name in it. For instance, you might own MyCompany.org and MyCompany.com, but have you considered that someone might buy MyCompanyisHorrible.com and create a sight specifically to slam your reputation? It may sound farfetched, but it happens all the time. A good precaution is to simply buy all the domains associated with your website beforehand.
3. Social Media Accounts
The reason to set up social media accounts on sites such as Facebook and Twitter is that it will give your customers an easy way to communicate with you. They can discuss complaints and comments without having to resort to disparaging your company. It creates a healthy, positive relationship between you and your customers and can be a preemptive measure against online reputation attacks.
Also, encouraging your customers to post testimonials and to ‘like’ your Facebook page is an excellent way to boost your credibility and popularity. Over social media sites, word of your company can spread like wildfire and you have the potential to attract a good deal of business.
4. Review Sites
Monitoring review sites such as Yelp and Google and Yahoo business listings is also a key way to stay up to date on what is being said about your business. You can verify that the information listed on these sites about your business is accurate and modify it should it be incorrect.
5. Complaint Management
Even if a complaint is not necessarily a legitimate one, managing it with consideration and patience will increase the credibility and professionalism of your reputation as a business. Create a policy for your company of how you will manage complaints and be transparent about it on your website. Give customers the opportunity to talk with you and make it clear that you value communication. This will do wonders for your reputation.
If you are considering the time and energy that these five aspects of online reputation management will require, don’t let it worry you. Alliance Group International’s Online Marketing Services offers a full suite of options available to companies of every size and industry. All the time and research involved in managing your online reputation can be done by Alliance Group to protect and defend the good name of your business.