As any good business owner knows, how consumers perceive you, your products and/or services, and how you treat them goes a long way in determining how successful you will be.
So, what happens when some negative content related to your business gets out on the web?
Do you just let it slide by, deal with it when you get around to it, or attack it right away? As a business owner, that should not be a hard question to answer.
For too many business owners, however, the Internet age is not something they are all too familiar with. From search engine optimization (SEO) to how beneficial social media can be for their companies, many business owners need to turn for help when it comes to dealing with negative online content.
Guide Yourself to a Better Online Appearance
If you have found your company to be on the defensive more than once over content about you that is circulating over the Internet, there are ways to deal with it. If you do not already have a reputation management guide in place for your business, now is as good a time as any to get one.
Among things to consider:
1. Should I pay for “better” press? – In the event there is content about your company popping up on the web, you always have the option of hiring someone or a company that specializes in such clean up to handle it for you. An online reputation management firm can request that negative details about you or your business be taken down on the site or sites it appears on, along with writing new content that puts you or your company in a positive light, pushing the negative content down on search engines.
When you look for such a company to assist you, you want one that tracks and responds to what is being said on the web regarding your brand. The reputation management company should scan countless pages that include news, blogs, videos, pictures, forums, social media sites and more;
2. What is the reputation of the company I may hire to assist me? – Just as you want your reputation as a businessperson to be pristine, you want to make sure those you hire to restore your positive reputation have a good reputation themselves. While most of these companies have your best interests in mind, there may be one or two that are simply looking to cash in on your misery.
Make sure you do a thorough background check on the company you are thinking about going with. Get referrals, check to see if they have their own history of complaints lobbied against them, and ask what services they can offer at what price. If they say they have no money back guarantee, keep shopping around;
3. Are my customers spreading the good word about the company? – One of if not your best assets is your customers. When a customer raves about the products and/or services you provide, by all means encourage them to go online and let others know. Whether it is through social media or other online vehicles, customers spreading the good word about your company is priceless. You may even offer them an incentive or two like 10 percent off their next purchase when they post a short review of your company on their/your Facebook page or on your website where comments can be added;
4. Turn to press releases – If some negative news has hit online sites about your company, a press release about some of the positive things your company is up to never hurts. Keep in mind that you want press releases that have some substance to them, so don’t write one just for the sake of it. If word online is that your company’s customer service is terrible, put together a short press release showing examples of just the opposite. The goal here is put the good press out front, neutralize the bad press;
5. Guest blogging – In order to improve your name ranking with the search engines, guest blogging is a great means to do just that. Find some authoritative sites that are interested in either posting on your site or having you post some information related to what you do on their site. As the positive news gets out there, your online reputation will improve.
It is always important to remember that negative reviews, whether they’re merited or completely untrue, can swing customers over to your competition. How you go about reputation management is more important than ever given the online 24/7 information cycle the world lives in.
If you are all about your brand surviving, what is said online about you does matter.
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