Your organization’s online reputation can greatly affect your ability to turn prospects into clients. You need to know what other people are saying about your business.
If you haven’t run Internet searches on your company, you should start ASAP. While you can’t possibly control what other people say about your company, you can easily manage how your business is viewed on the Internet using few simple monitoring and managing strategies.
Start by searching your company’s name, and the types of services and products you provide. Search on Yahoo, Google and Bing, and see what kind of information comes up. In addition, it’s a good idea to run an image search using your company’s name.
Remember to search common misspellings of your company name as well. Hopefully, your business website and some positive news and reviews are what results.
There are many free options to choose from to help you monitor your business reputation. Addict-o-matic is a free tool that allows you to view the most recent mentions about any topic you want to monitor.
Get notified when your company name is mentioned by creating a free Google Alert. After creating your alert, you’ll be sent real-time alerts to your email address when your company is mentioned online.
With Google Alert, you’re able to set up various keyword-based alerts that will notify you when new content is published. Your keywords can include your company name, products, events, competitors, and high-profile employees.
Monitoring your competitors is almost as important as monitoring your own business. Pay attention to reviews on your competitors in case they’re doing something right that you might not have even thought to do. The rationale behind this is using what you learn about your competitors to gain a competitive edge.
The following are some questions you should ask yourself when attempting to manage your business’s online reputation:
1. Does My Company Website Represent My Business in a Positive Light?
When managing your online reputation, your company’s own website is the most important factor. Does your website URL contain your actual exact business name? If not, try to obtain an exact match domain name so prospects can easily find your website. Also, make sure your website contains compelling brand messages that demonstrate precisely what your company provides.
2. Do I Really Need to Pay Attention To What People Say on Review Sites?
Word-of-mouth reviews are extremely powerful for your prospects who are trying to make a decision about whether to use your services or products. Understand and analyze what people are saying about your company on review sites, and use negative feedback as a learning opportunity. If you can take these reviews and respond with corrective actions, you can improve your business.
3. How Can I Effectively Manage My Business Reputation Using Social Media Websites?
Does your business have a company Twitter Account or Facebook Page? Log into each social media website and track customers’ questions and/or comments every day. Respond to them in a timely manner as well.
If you don’t have the time to respond, there are many fee-based social media management tools you can use, including HootSuite or Radian6. HootSuite even offers a free trial for 30 days, with paid plans starting at just $8.99 per month.
4. Should I Consider My Personal Online Reputation As Well?
Of course, especially if you’re the brand or product image. For instance, doctors and attorneys don’t want any negative search results, such as comments, images and videos posted on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. Your personal online reputation is a direct image of your profession.
5. How Can I Create Positive Content to Offset Negative Content?
For starters, create various types of web content that highlight the products and services you’re offering, such as a company blog or YouTube account. If you develop and manage relevant and positive web content about your company, you’ll increase the chances of favorable content appearing on the first page of search results. If you create enough positive search results, you’ll minimize any negative ones that might harm your business.
6. How Do I Respond to Negative Reviews About My Company?
It’s recommended that you don’t waste time responding to negative comments on review sites. To be honest, when you respond to negative comments, you’re essentially encouraging browsers to drive traffic to those interactions.
7. Are There Any Reliable Online Reputation Management Tools?
You can use paid services to remove things from your online presence. These services include Integrity Defenders and RemoveYourName, which will remove negative information while helping you develop more positive content to replace it.
Integrity Defenders is very helpful, but is also costly. Business packages start at $1,289 but they will remove any unwanted information from the first page of search results for an individual phrase. More advanced packages are available at $2,149 and extend the service to the second page of search results as well.
Other services like Reputation.com have products ranging between $3,000 and $15,000, depending on how much you want to customize your selected services.
No matter what methods you use it’s important to always monitor and manage your online reputation to prevent negative, inaccurate, misleading or outdated material about your company from popping up on prospects’ Internet searches.