Online reputation management can be a lot like managing gossip. It doesn't necessarily matter if something is true, it just matters that it's out there.
It doesn't even take that much for a negative comment or review to gain traction. Often, once a disparaging comment is made about a company, it can be too late to recover their public image.
Knowing how to combat bad publicity while gaining public favor is no easy task. Therefore, it's important you know how to properly maintain your company's online reputation.
Your online reputation dictates what people think of your business, so it better be good. Read on for all there is to know about online reputation management.
The first impression is everything
Making a great first impression isn't just something you should strive for. It's far more important than that. The right first impression needs to be your priority.
A client's first impression of your business is critical, so look at things from their point of view.
But before you can set the world on fire, you'll first need to make sure your hat is in the digital ring. Check out our free reputation snapshot report to quickly see where you stand.
Make sure people are talking about you
Check if there’s already any online buzz around your business at all. Chances are, somebody somewhere is talking about you and your company. What are they saying? You'll need to find out to be effective.
See what's out there already
Before you can figure out how you can use online reputation management to repair any damage, see where you're getting the most traction online. Is it from social media sites? Is it from reviews? These factors are important to consider.
Reviews matter more than you think
At this point, reviews and online reputation management are practically synonymous.
Great reviews can be the lifeblood of any company online. Negative reviews, however, can drag a reputation down.
98% of homebuyers will conduct online research before speaking with a mortgage professional. Therefore, it'll be paramount that you gain and use these reviews to your advantage.
Get as many testimonials as you can from satisfied customers, and blast them out to the world.
- Have a newsletter? Include one stand-out review in each newsletter. Call it your customer corner. This will make clients know their words are appreciated.
- Retweet and share particularly strong reviews. Twitter and Facebook are your two biggest online reputation management allies. So when a customer writes a rave review -- send it out! They'll feel appreciated and you'll have great content for your feed.
Make sure you're reachable
On the topic of social media, showing up is half the battle in the world of online reputation management. Where are your potential clients? What sites do they visit?
If you've come this far, you likely have these metrics around. But if not, it's time to do some homework.
Find out. Now. Not in a little while, not tomorrow. Right now.
Once you've found the appropriate social media channels, join the conversation. Start interacting with clients! This is the fun part of online reputation management, where you'll get to put your people skills to the test.
Here are a few quick tips to get you started if you're having trouble:
Make your presence known! Sticking to only one social media channel is one of the gravest mistakes you could make. Aim for:
- Two to three blog posts per month
- Several tweets a day, and
- At least three Facebook posts a week.
Only post what's relevant
- That cute picture of a kitten dressed as a pumpkin is great, but what's it have to do with mortgages? Keep your posts relevant to your business. Show potential homebuyers you know what you're talking about. Find interesting articles to regularly link out, and create valuable content.
- A friendly and welcoming social media presence is every bit as powerful as even the best business card. Interact with customers frequently. People want to know they can reach you if something goes wrong.
Bad reviews can be countered with great customer service
Finding a negative review can be the hardest thing about online reputation management. At best, they leave a scathing mark on your online record. At worst, they can be downright false and slanderous.
Therefore, you'll need to know how to combat bad reviews.
If you come across a negative review or unruly client, reach out to them. Remember how we discussed creating that great online atmosphere? Here's where it pays off.
Respond quickly and efficiently to your client's complaint. See what you can do to remedy the situation and regain their trust and business.
One great tip -- take things away from the public sphere. Take it offline. Either direct message your client or send them a Facebook message or email. Address the problem specifically and ask what you can do to make them feel better.
This will make your client feel heard and appreciated.
Don't get negative
...Or, perhaps it'll only make them angrier. Before we go any further, if a review or comment is flat-out untrue, you can ask Google to de-index it.
The de-indexing process is tricky. But if you can show Google substantial proof that what was said was wrong, they're often willing to help you out.
Aside from that, stick to one key rule -- The Golden Rule. Taking the high road doesn't make you weaker. In fact, sometimes it's your best bet.
The same can be said for posting negative things about your competitors. If you're serious about online reputation management, consider ignoring the competition altogether.
Responding to a rude client in a harsh tone may be tempting, especially if things get personal. But don't give in to the temptation. Remain calm, and remain professional above all else.
You'll go viral, just for the wrong reasons.
Remember Amy's Baking Company? They're living proof that the quote, "There's no such thing as bad publicity" isn't true in the digital age.
Don't be rude, and always keep things focused when helping an unhappy client. Keep the conversation geared to the specific problem and you'll never go wrong.
Nothing about online reputation management is easy. It can be a grueling, time-consuming task that eats away at precious hours of your day.
Don't be afraid to get outside help! Your online reputation matters as much as your business itself.
Check out our FAQ section if you have any questions, and get in touch today. Let us help you take control of your digital presence!