We live in a world where the drama of reality television is forever ingrained in social conversations, spurring new and hilarious gifs that rule the internet. Whether on TV or the internet, society will always want to know what goes on behind the scenes. This includes the potentially viral dramas and behind-the-scene favorites about you and your business! (I’m looking at you, United Airlines…)
Now, some behind-the-scenes action and transparency on your social media channels is a great, underutilized way to connect with customers. Showing a “human” side of your business makes you more relatable and real.
But some transparency can be very detrimental–especially drama captured by a disgruntled customer.
Even companies with the best customer service teams can be caught on an off day, or even receive negative reviews published out of context. Whatever the reason for negative “press”–deserved or undeserved–every company needs to concern itself with reputation management.
Reputation management is a core of any marketing team strategy, and digital reputation management is a good first step in a small business SEO strategy.
How does SEO relate to reputation management?
SEO seeks to optimize any strategy to boost your website in the search results. Google et al. collects and displays reviews within their search results. They also use positive versus negative reviews as a ranking factor. Thus, negative reviews can negatively impact your business in the search results.
Taking an active role in your reputation management, you can improve your SEO and website ranking.
How do I take advantage of online reviews and improve my SEO?
A buzzword in today’s online marketing world is “transparency.” However, not many people talk about what being transparent actually meanings.
To be transparent as a business means to open up to criticism and feedback. Companies receive great benefits from embracing digital communication with their audiences. Being transparent means:
- Allowing employees to talk about your products and services publicly such as through an employee advocacy program
- Establishing 1-to-1 communication channel(s)
- Asking for feedback
- Not hiding from criticism
- Addressing criticism publicly
If a review is clearly aimed at destroying your reputation rather than providing feedback or uses hateful speech or improper languages, it *may* be possible to remove the negative review. Each review site is different. Most review sites have a button directly on the review that will allow an admin of your business account to report the review.
However, removing reviews in most cases is not a best practice. Through honest response and reparation, you can turn a negative review into a public, positive customer service experience.
7 tips for online reputation management
1. Monitor what is being said about you
Utilize social keywords to find and respond to social media messages directed at your brand. Set a Google Alert to notify you of any news posted about your brand.
2. Respond quickly and kindly
Read new notifications from review sites daily. Login to view and respond to social media messages multiple times a day. You don’t have to take long responding. Treat these habits like checking email. In all cases, try to respond in less than 24 hours.
3. Address what’s being said about you
Most comments are not unlawful in any way, and therefore their accusations do come from somewhere! These problems actually exist. Take a look inside your business to determine what you can do to exonerate the problem.
4. Be radically transparent
People want to know you’re listening. And they appreciate honesty. Many companies still don’t open up much on social media. You have the opportunity to offer customers refreshing honesty that will attract them to you.
5. Have personality
Amazon customer service is a great example! No matter what you have to say, they always come back with a positive attitude, a smile, a willingness to help, and usually something witty.
6. Think of SEO as your digital business card
Search engine optimization goes a long way. An active, consistent SEO strategy will boost your business in ways that the farthest reaches of business cards, flyers, social media, or your website can do on their own.
Business directory and profile sites help you accurately list your company online and monitor your reviews. To help you get started, here is a list of business profile sites.
- Angie’s List
- Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- Bing Places
- Consumer Reports
- Demand Force (newer review site)
- Dex Knows
- Google+ Local/Google Places
- Home Advisor
- Insider Pages
- Judy’s Book
- Trip Advisor
- Yahoo! Local
- Yellow Pages
Listing your business on these sites will build your website presence and help you gain and monitor reviews, thus helping you boost your search engine rankings.
7. Pay attention to reviews on social media
Don’t forget your social media profiles are part of digital reputation management. Sites like Google+ and Facebook have important information about your business that also includes reviews. LinkedIn also houses important information about your business that you’ll want to keep up to date.
In today’s digital world, you cannot afford to ignore online reputation management. Be transparent, be responsive, and be yourself. Active reputation management is key in a strong SEO strategy and will help you gain more and lasting customers to your website.