Managing a brand reputation is incredibly important and if done well pays dividends - here are some tips to do so.
1) Assess Your Starting Point
Provided you haven't just created a new brand out of whole cloth, it probably already has a presence online. Start your reputation management by entering your business's name into the search engines. Search for keywords closely related to your company, too. Familiarize yourself with what's already out there and look for places that could use improvement. Remember, that prevention is better than cure and that’s why online reputation protection services are something that’s increasingly used.
2) Stretch Your Brand
The only limit to the number of online accounts that can be tied to your company is the amount of attention you have to spend. Open accounts everywhere you can. Look past the usual social media suspects and create profiles on professional sites, too. Business databases like Crunchbase are worth your time.
3) Keep Your Social Media Active
While it's good to open lots of accounts for your company, it's even better to make active use of them. Your social media feeds don't need to spew out an endless stream of minute-to-minute updates, but regular updates are important. Beyond news of your own company (blog posts, press releases, product news, etc), feel free to share and comment on industry-related news to make your social media streams more relevant.
4) Make Sure Your Site Is Optimized For Users As Well As Search Engines
Consider the impression your website makes on a potential client. Is it cluttered, slow, and hard to navigate? That's going to tell them that your business is going to be hard to deal with. Strengthen that first impression by cleaning up your site. Cut useless copy and make sure every page has a clear, descriptive title. You can also take steps to improve your site's search engine performance, like adding meta tags and incorporating keywords into your content. If search engine optimization is too far outside your wheelhouse, bring a local SEO company on board to handle it for you.
5) Use Your Blog(s)
Attaching a blog to your company's website can be a surprisingly effective way to make it (your site) more visible. Craft appealing, industry-relevant content for your blog. Even if potential customers don't spend hours reading your words, a well-crafted blog tells the search engines a great deal about your business. Your company blog doesn't have to be technical; in fact, the simpler, the better. Craft your content for a general audience and keep the jargon to a minimum.
6) Check Your Feedback
Check your company's page on review sites like Yelp and Google My Business. If you've already attracted customer reviews, use them as a resource to improve your business practices. Steer clear of the pitfall of turning negative reviews into arguments. When you respond to unsatisfied customers in a public setting, simply apologize and offer to make sure any subsequent experiences with your business turn out better. Do what you can to fix any real mistakes pointed out by online reviews, but move forward.
7) Work To Get More Positive Reviews
Online reputation management isn't just about "damage control" work on negative reviews. In many cases, all it takes to get a glowing review out of a satisfied client is letting them know that an honest review would mean a lot to you. One great way to encourage more reviews is to incorporate direct links to review sites in online communications with your customers (e.g. marketing emails).
8) Stick To Best Practices
There's a certain kind of business owner that's always looking for the fastest way to get results. Managing your online reputation is not an arena where you want to cut corners. The advantages of bolstering your reputation through unethical means (like buying positive reviews, for instance) are brief and the potential drawbacks are huge. Search engine penalties and other corrective actions can turn your promotional shortcuts into reasons why your business is impossible to find.
9) Work With Influencers
An influencer is anyone in with an audience that trusts their opinions on your industry. Influencers can give your business a powerful boost if you work with them intelligently and honestly. Study your customer base and identify the influencers that matter to them. Reach out and attract positive attention from them.
10) Take Your Time
Like a lot of online marketing fields, reputation management is one that requires patience. Creating positive results takes a lot of hard work, and that work doesn't pay off overnight. Don't get discouraged if your efforts seem fruitless. If you're starting to get frustrated with the process, feel free to take a short break. It's far better to step away and refresh your enthusiasm than to let your frustration leak into interactions with your clients.
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