February 19, 2013 SEO Specialist Gold Coast

Companies invest significant time and effort in improving their online visibility. Unfortunately, all it takes to destroy all this hard work is one malicious blogger or one disgruntled employee. People who are out to do harm can cause a large amount of damage to your online reputation. This is especially true if the attack build up momentum (starting from a few well-placed complaints here and there before taking off). That’s why the following steps are at the center of Online Reputation Management: Monitor, Optimize, and Engage.

Monitoring

Detecting the problem early on lets you respond more effectively. Some of the things you need to monitor include brands, products, the company, and the firm’s key executives. If you are running a large firm, you’ll inevitably get frequent mention on the internet. To sort through the data, include modifiers on the terms you’re monitoring such as “scam” among others.

The most important sites to monitor include social media, organic search results, news search, blogs, and forums. There are some tools that helps make the tasks easier. Some tools to explore include Google Alert, Yahoo Alerts, RSS feed subscriptions, and social media tags (tagfetch.com, tagbulb.com).

Organizing

Optimization is a preventive rather than a reactive process. Basically, optimization in online reputation management is SEO. By having a strong presence on the World Wide Web for your brand, products/services, and selected keywords, your company can retain its positive image. It doesn’t require your company to run after every single dissenter because you’re in a position of control.

Aside from SEO, it is also important to optimize the other areas of digital communications including PR, marketing, human resources, and related electronic content. For instance image, audio, and video files today are gaining more prominence. Make sure to pay attention to these mediums as well.

Engaging

After you’ve identified negative mentions about your company, there are ways to deal with it:

  • Do some research on the complaints – is there merit?
  • If not, contact webmasters (where the negative info is posted) and ask for corrections
  • If yes, discuss the situation and offer to settle
  • Respond to the complaints on your blog
  • Be transparent. If you’re not, people are bound to uncover it

The results of these steps are often positive. Implement the three steps we outlined above to get better control over your online reputation. Remember that it is important to have a proactive strategy from the very start in order to counter problems before it gets blown out of proportion. The saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is certainly relevant in online reputation management.

In the course of the process, make it a point to identify where the content is coming from. If the attacks came from the unprincipled actions of your competitors, then counter negative commentaries by revealing that they were behind the smear campaign. On the other hand, if it came from legitimate customers, do your best to address their concerns. After all, these critics can turn to loyal brand evangelists if you handle the situation right!

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