If you have a business in today’s modern world, you know that it’s no more a matter of if you have an online presence or not. You will need to learn how people perceive your brand and if that perception matches the one you want to be established. Businesses can not just let other folks decide what their brand is, and they ought to be the one on top of it controlling the story.

What’s online reputation management?

It involves continuous monitoring and ensuring that the perception of a company remains on the positive side by fostering active content and decreasing the visibility of content that is negative.

Everyone is online nowadays. Your customers have social networking accounts, your opponents have a website, and your prospects are reviewing forums for product reviews. There’s no escaping the power of the internet and how it’s been the greatest source of business for a good deal of brands.

Studies have shown that 75 percent of possible customers check reviews first before they make a purchase and four out of five of them pick the competition after reading one poor review. That is eighty percent of new clients lost due to a potentially mismanaged online standing.

Take good care of what your clients see online and do not let others – your disgruntled customers or competitors – do it for you.

There are a whole lot of details involved with successfully plotting and executing a fantastic online reputation management plan. Depending on how large your organization is and just how much of a presence you already have online, the amount of time and work needed will vary. But the three things which are consistent regardless of what when coping with managing your brand’s online reputation are: 1) establishing where you currently are reputation-wise and your objectives, 2) repairing any harm and working on accomplishing your objectives, and 3) ensuring you maintain the goals you have reached.

Before executing any measures in handling your brand’s reputation online, it is important that you determine what the baseline is so you understand how much work still has to be done. Here are a few critical questions that will help steer you towards a fantastic start.

The most shared resources that determine the overall opinion about your brand are sites, forums, social networking, and review websites.

Do they reveal your brand in a positive light? The results will provide you an idea of what your potential clients see and what their initial impression might be when exploring about you.

It is important to note certain quotations and complaints or praises, so you’ve got a more concrete idea of how you are being perceived online. This may also give you a more rounded view of your online standing objectives.

What are your reputation objectives?

You can not just be overall about your targets. “I need a better online standing” won’t do. You’ve got to be specific in what you would like to happen. Is your company being bashed in forums? Plot a game plan on how best to combat that. Does the contest keep on posting false reviews about you? Does your brand need more favorable reviews? Get strategizing to promote happy clients to share their expertise with you.

This way you can prioritize better and can audit your achievements more clearly.

Is it necessary to run a reputation audit?

Yes. You won’t know just how far you have come should you mark where you began. Write down all measurable info about your current reputation online, compare it to your objectives, and decide on a game plan on bridging both. Some of the most common things you can step on your audit are:

These are simply examples of quantifiable data you may base your objectives and strategy upon. It’s also crucial to remember to set a timeline for these items so that you know how often to run your audits and fix any items needed.

Now that you are clearer on what the issue is and what your objectives are, it is time to do some damage control. Consider these questions when putting out some fires associated with your online reputation.

Can you eliminate negative reviews?

It depends. When the reviews are posted in your area – your FB page, website, or YouTube channel – then you have the final say on what content gets to stay. It is possible to eliminate anything negative about your brand and push the more favorable comments in addition to the pages. Some online personalities do so with the objective of fostering only positive ideas on their spaces, particularly in the comments thread in YouTube. You really can not blame them. YouTube is notorious for having some of the most barbarous commenters in the whole World Wide Web. If the threads aren’t moderated, it can get quite ugly.

However, you want to take care when deleting unwanted comments and reviews. There is a difference between removing an average note from an online troll to eliminating a legal complaint from a client. The former is clear and usually essential. The latter can send the wrong message to your audience – it may be construed as censorship and may have a negative impact in the way your brand is perceived.

In cases such as this, it’s much better to allow the reviews remain – as long as they are not disrespectful – and only respond to them. This can be an excellent chance for you to give your viewers a firsthand look at how your company handles criticisms and client complaints.

How do you react to bad reviews?

Very professionally. Here’s a very helpful guideline when responding to negative reviews online.

Concentrate on the primary issue and equipment your response towards it. Some testimonials can go on and on because one reason why customers write them would be to port, so you will need to be the one to hone in on the particular cause of the complaint. As soon as you’ve dissected it, construct your answer with that issue as the major focus. This will simplify the dialog, temper the feelings involved, and save everyone’s time. Arm yourself with as much context as possible concerning the client’s issue. If they are whining about a delay in their order, check the right section and confirm the order information. If they are unsatisfied with how your help desk managed their prior issue, go through the documentation and see what else might have been done. Do not answer without getting all your details first. Additionally, it is important that you find out whether the matter is an isolated or recurring one to take the correct steps in making sure it doesn’t happen again. Apologize for the matter and thank the customer for taking the time to allow you to know about it. Make sure that the client knows who you are and how you are connected with the company. This will tell them that the ideal individuals are paying attention and they are being taken seriously. Nothing gets angry customers more upset than when they believe they’ve been ignored. You want to ensure that your side of the story is heard manner before other men and women control the narrative.

Performing damage control isn’t enough once you need to be consistent in managing your online reputation. As soon as you’ve put out the more severe fires, it is vital that you have a strategy in place that concentrates on the upkeep. In online reputation management, being responsive is only good if you are catching up. After that, the aim is to be more proactive. That means monitoring, monitoring, and continuously updating.

Can you avert any more bad reviews?

Realistically, you can not – unless you tirelessly censor every mention online that sets your company in a negative light.

There’ll always be someone who will not be very impressed with you or your product or your service, and they may become very vocal about it. You can not stop them from doing this, but you can mitigate the harm those reviews can cause.

Which are the ways of reducing the harm from bad reviews?

Regulate the story. As you can’t control just what folks say about you, then it is better that they talk about you in which you can view them. This means inviting the dialog to occur in your area – your FB page, your website, or your Twitter account. In case you’ve got no FB page, make one. If you do not have a customer feedback form, print one.

If there’s a way to directly address the company when there’s a problem with their product or service, most customers will use it. Only when that is inaccessible will most of them resort to grumbling on their private FB accounts or moving on a Twitter rant. You do not need them to do that. You want the conversation to occur in your space not so that you are updated but also to be certain that you have the capacity to moderate it.

Boost the favorable. Post regular updates on all of your spaces that put your company in a positive light. This does not just mean great reviews, but basically, anything that strengthens the level of your brand. Share useful articles related to your business, upload funny images which also make your audience believe, update your status with pertinent info on whatever your audience will find useful. Do this regularly, so your prospects and current customers locate this first on your spaces rather than the bad reviews. Setup monitoring and tracking for your brand, company, and keywords to be certain that you’re informed anytime anybody says something about you online.

You are already aware of the overall audience consensus and have done some substantial work into fixing any damage caused by any deficiency of online reputation management. At this time, you only need to be kept abreast and only using basic Google search isn’t going to cut it anymore.

At this point, you need the big guns. This means a tool or software that is made for online reputation monitoring. This work is you set up the tool with the keywords you want tracking – your company name, your competitor’s, the keyword for your business, etc. – and the instrument will send you an alert when these phrases are pinged, giving you a chance to manage any matter when it pops.

Try to find a software which you can configure to send alerts when you get an online mention. Many will just send you one email every day and others will ask that you log into the software to get your notifications. These are acceptable choices for routine monitoring, but if you are working with a launch or something time-sensitive in which you need to be notified once someone mentions your name or brand, then it pays to have real-time upgrade capability on your tool already.
Infinite keywords were tracking. This implies you’re searching for a tool that allows you set it up with as many keyword phrases and titles to monitor as you believe necessary. The most frequent limitation is five keywords per account, which won’t do when you are tracking not just one company and its competitors and keywords, but others also.

Endless Outcomes. Some tools have a limit on the number of results they could send per month depending upon the package you have purchased. You want the software which will send you as many mentions as your keywords can generate. For ease of accessibility, you need a tool which takes you to wherever your keyword was pinged without you having to leave the machine itself. There is no point of paying for something which only tracks news websites and dismisses the discussion occurring on social networking. You want to gain access to all.

Do you also have to concentrate on good reviews?

Definitely. They say that you need at least five great reviews to counteract a single bad one. Find those good reviews also. Be approachable to happy clients. You need them to post about their positive experience so that your prospects do not just get affected by people that wrote bad reviews.

You can do it directly or via some other subtle ways.

The direct method is to offer your products at no cost in exchange for a review. It does not usually follow that the experience for the reviewer will be optimistic, but if you are confident about what you are offering, odds are they’ll be writing something good about you. You might also have competitions or promos at which the winner will then write something about this item. This will work not just to help you get more favorable reviews for your brand, but as advertising also.

A more indirect way of encouraging your happy clients to post about you’re creating social media sharing buttons prominent in your online spaces. Whenever you write a new blog article or record a new YouTube video, shut it using something like: “Have a story to share about our product? Email us, leave a comment, or post your story on our FB page!” The majority of the time, your viewers want others to know how much they enjoy your product, they simply have to be reminded.

The increasing popularity of social networking and the internet has made online reputation management a requirement for all sorts of businesses. It’s not only a witty phrase marketers throw around anymore. It’s become a vital part of how you look after your brand. Be cautious when it comes to safeguarding your online reputation. Know what people are saying about you and be sure that you have the tools that can allow you to monitor your brand and manage the conversation. Bear in mind, bad reviews will affect prospects and will cost new clients while proactive reputation management will engender loyal customers and encourage more. Give your brand’s standing the attention and work it deserves.

Caelan Cheesman is an expert on company reputation and lead generation. You understand how important reputation management is for your business. The next logical step is to do something about it.

Reputation is the key when it comes to business, as you know and companies are at risk with every person out there with an intelligent phone.

I have put together a demonstration of some very wise applications that can monitor your standing for you and alert you the instant something is stated online and requires action.