Tips to Protect Your Online Reputation

 

Every business today needs to be concerned about guarding its online reputation. Anyone can find out what others are saying about you by doing a simple search. If there are any negative comments on social media, bad reviews, or customer complaints, you won’t be able to keep them a secret. Fortunately, if you’re diligent about serving your customers well you can overcome the occasional negative comment or review. It’s essential, however, that you take steps to maintain a solid reputation online. Let’s look at some of the best ways to accomplish this.

Monitor Your Reputation

The first step in protecting your reputation is to know what people are saying about you. This is part of what is known as social listening, the process of keeping up with the many discussions relevant to your brand. The simplest way to do this is to set up Google Alerts for your brand. There are, however, more sophisticated social listening tools to give you deeper insights into the conversations that affect your business.

Have a  Well-Defined Social Media Policy

One way that a company can suffer a hit to its reputation is when employees post content that reflects poorly on the brand. It’s essential nowadays to outline a clear social media policy. Your team members must understand what is and isn’t acceptable. You want to make sure they don’t publish content that offends your customers. You also want to have guidelines about the general style and tone for your brand image.

Respond to Comments and Reviews in a Constructive Way 

Monitoring the web and social media for mentions of your brand is only the first step in protecting your reputation. You also need a strategy for responding to comment and reviews, whether positive or negative. It’s important to insert yourself into discussions that are about you but you have to do it the right way or you could end up doing more harm than good.

  • Encourage your customers to write reviews. If you’re providing quality products and services, you’ll generally benefit by getting more reviews. Although you can’t always tell from reading reviews online, most customers are fair and inclined to focus on the positive. Make sure you’ve claimed your listing with review sites such as Google, Yelp, and any other sites where people are likely to review your business. Provide links to your review pages on your website. If you have a brick and mortar business, post a sign reminding customers to write a review.
  • Look for solutions. When someone posts a negative review or comment on social media, your first thought should be, “How can I fix this?” In some cases, you can clarify the situation or invite the person to call customer service. If necessary, apologize.  If you can’t please them, just respond with something like, “I’m sorry you had this experience and we’ll do everything possible to do better in the future.” If someone makes a factually inaccurate claim, you can and should point this out. Do so in an objective, unemotional way. Never get into heated arguments with customers as this only makes you look unprofessional.
  • Thank people who praise you. Don’t make the mistake of only responding to negative comments. Thank people for writing positive reviews or saying nice things about you on social media. This encourages others to do the same. It’s important to show your satisfied customers that you appreciate them.

Position Yourself as an Authority

Building your reputation is really a two-sided coin. One aspect involves preventing or responding to criticism, bad reviews, and social media blunders. However, there’s also the aspect of building up your reputation in a positive way. This helps to generate helpful feedback and reviews and also offsets anything less complimentary. Here are a few ways to increase your credibility and authority online.

  • Create helpful content. Blog posts, social media posts, videos, webinars, e-books, and podcasts are some of the types of content that help you build authority. The purpose of content marketing isn’t to directly promote yourself but to provide your audience with useful information and solutions.
  • Answer questions. Go to discussion forums and social media groups (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn) relevant to your industry and answer questions. Again, don’t start promoting directly to people, which is considered spamming. Stick to helping out. Members can find out about your business by checking out your profile or forum signature. Another tactic is to answer questions on sites such as Quora.
  • Become a source for journalists. If you have a local business, try to develop relationships with media such as newspapers, radio, and TV stations. You can also submit content to Help a Reporter (HARO).

Building and managing your reputation is an ongoing process. You need to monitor the web consistently to track what people are saying about you, respond in a constructive way, and also take steps to build your own credibility. It’s also essential to prioritize your customer service. People are a lot more complimentary and forgiving when they see that you’re doing everything possible to serve their needs.

At Drip Drop Creative, we help you create a brand story that captivates your audience. To learn about our services, contact us.