Business tips: What to do when your online reputation suffers

Home Inside FCNews Business tips: What to do when your online reputation suffers

Don’t let Internet attackers get the upper hand

No matter how excellent your brand is, misconduct and negative comments online can quickly damage your digital reputation. Thinking you can just delete the negative verbiage might not be possible—plus, it’s always a big mistake if you do—but there are steps that you can take to minimize the damage.

In our digital business climate today, it’s important to have an online reputation management (ORM) processes in place to help you better understand your digital footprint and help you see how far your presence travels.

The first approach is to monitor online feedback from all areas. Consistently monitoring sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Yelp will keep you abreast of online chatter.  Flooring America monitors social media across all channels.  “If there is a negative comment that someone has written on a site like Yelp, for instance, we have the capability to let the retailer know about it,” said Frank Chiera, vice president of marketing and advertising.

But if you don’t have Big Brother watching out for you, there are actions available for the little guy.

If your reputation has been damaged online by some less-than-stellar comments, the following can show you how to minimize the marring and start repairing your stature. This is not an instant process that will yield quick results—particularly if the negative is severe—but taking these steps can help improve an online profile.

Steps to rebuilding

Research

What was the cause of the negative online discussions about you or your company? What can be done to bring the conversation to an end? The process of repairing your online profile can only start once the controversy ends.

Keywords

Compile a list of keywords related to the negative comments. Keep the focus on these keywords to one or two phrases at the most. These keywords can include your company name, your own name, brand, event, etc. This keyword list will be used in your marketing efforts to push down the negative comments from the search engine result pages (SERPs).

Identify

Identify key websites, blogs and social media channels that you can use with your keyword list that will be used to displace the damaging stories, comments and articles. (Don’t forget to hashtag these words.)

Website

Add new content and fully optimize your primary website for your company, brand and services. This is the one website that you can control and the one you have a say over every aspect.

Link building

Create and launch a link-building campaign on the websites, blogs, article directories and social media channels you have selected in the identifying step. Use the hashtagged keywords and keyword phrases you have chosen in the anchor text for the best results. This creates a digital footprint and helps track related information, both positive and negative.

Blogging

Create a blog in which you have control of the content and publish a few posts with the keywords you have selected to be placed in the piece. Use third-party blogging networks to promote your content and use social media profiles such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. You can also put out a few press releases.

Video marketing

Publishing and promoting videos on popular video sharing channels such as YouTube can give you an  advantage. Optimize videos by adding keywords in the title and hashtag them with targeted keyword phrases.

Damage control and monitoring

Set up a few watchdog processes so you can be notified of any future negative or disparaging remarks. If this happens, address these immediately and appropriately.

Measurement

Monitoring the first few pages of Google with the keywords you have selected. Take note of the article positions you want to purge.

Online reputation management should not be seen as an “add on” service to your existing marketing strategy. It’s a reality that your reputation can be made or broken in 140 characters or less.

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