Online reputation is the general public opinion held about an individual or a business formed by their online presence via social media and other platforms. These opinions are based on the individual or business’s actions, quality of service and customer interactions. Building and keeping a good reputation has now become a powerful marketing tool.
For businesses and companies, online presence is a marketing tool and asset, giving them a drastically wider reach than real-life advertising and customer engagement. Consumers and potential customers turn to Google to research and read about products and services before making a purchase or patronising a business. Reviews and ratings help people make decisions quicker and with confidence.
For private individuals, potential employers check social media profiles and public posts. It has become very easy to search a person’s name online and find out information that was publicly shared. This helps employers get a gauge on a job applicant’s character. Employees can also be held accountable for remarks they have made online that would reflect poorly on their employers. Our social media identities are no longer as anonymous as before and everything we’ve posted or responded to online may be traced back to us.
It can not be denied that online reputation plays a key role in the success of a business and affects the real life reputation of a person. However, as hard as it is to maintain a great reputation, having it fall apart is very easy.
So what can be done if you or your business experiences a sudden slew of negative comments and reviews?
Individuals are afforded more control over their online presence and can change the privacy settings of their social media, edit or delete previous posts and delete their profiles. Businesses do not have the same luxury, as they are expected to keep a level of transparency and greater responsibility to their consumers.
How to Repair and Save Your Damaged Online Reputation
Negative content in your top Google search results will wreak havoc on your real life and online reputation. This would reflect poorly on your personal or business’s legacy. To deal with the fall out, here are some recommendations.
- Get to the root of the problem
The first step involves common sense. Figure out the source and what caused the problem. You may have posted something controversial and people have come across it, or you have made a mistake or done something problematic in real life. No matter the reason, if it was your fault, own up to it, try to correct it.
Once you’ve isolated the issue, take accountability for it and apologise, if needed. If you do apologise, make sure it is well-written and sincere, otherwise, it will only make matters worse. If you have past posts, photos, videos or opinions that are improper, unprofessional or controversial still available online, edit, hide or delete those.
However, if someone else caused the damage to your reputation, if possible, communicate with them directly to resolve any issues they may have against you. Keep in mind that this will only work if the author is still reasonable. If an unfavourable or negative news story or article was written about you, try to reach out to the author and ask them to update it with your side of the story. If necessary, share or explain your side of the story on social media as well.
If you found yourself a victim of online defamation, please seek legal advice and counsel.
2. Google yourself
This seems narcissistic but this is actually necessary. This is to check and keep track of what information about you is publicly available. By doing this, you know which posts you’ve made need to be edited or deleted. This also lets you know if anything is being written about you.
- Write new and positive content
This is technically called content suppression. This means you create new and positive content to suppress or drown out the negative ones that you have no control over. This pushes the older and damaging content to the next page of Google or Bing search results and your new posts and content are shown in the first.
- Contact an Online Reputation Management Team
You don’t have to do damage control all on your own. We at Remove Digital have the resources, experience and man power to help you repair, save and maintain your online reputation and clean up your digital footprint. Remove Digital exists to help you with your internet reputation woes. From content removal to suppression, our team is equipped to help. Contact us at [email protected] to learn more.
For Brands and Businesses:
- Create or Claim your Business’ Profiles
Facebook, Yelp and Google create business profiles on behalf of the owner or business when they receive user-generated content about the business and their products and services. If you still haven’t, you can claim the business as yours and establish your online presence in those platforms. These are basically free advertising and digital marketing tools with an unimaginable public reach so it would do you well to maximise your use of them. Start by posting photos, videos and posts about your business and interacting with the platform users. Respond professionally and politely to inquiries and feedback, regardless of tone.
- Gain Popularity using Search Engine Optimization
Make your social media profiles and website stand out by optimising your keywords, publishing high quality content and offering unique listings or products. By doing these, you’ll drive more traffic and customer engagement and potentially increase your sales. This process takes time and getting to the first page of Google results requires constant monitoring and re-adjustment of your strategies, so just be patient.
- Interact with your Customers
By going the extra mile in building rapport with your customers, through social media posts or review responses, shows people that you value their feedback and you genuinely care about customer satisfaction. Garnering positive feedback from them and professionally handling critical reviews establishes trust and loyalty.
- Contact an Online Reputation Management Team
Keeping tabs on everything that’s going on in your business is a difficult job. Adding the tedious task of monitoring your online reputation and having negative content removed may prove to be too much to handle. Leave us a message at [email protected]. We’d be happy to discuss with you how we can help out.
Maintenance and Prevention
If you’ve opted to handle your minor reputation issues yourself, note that it just doesn’t end after successfully removing or suppressing the negative feedback or content about your or your business. You have to stay on top of things and constantly monitor what’s going on and what’s being said about you or your business.
A damaged reputation can be very costly and it takes a toll on the general well being of your business, not just in sales but also in employee retention, customer loyalty and perception, and investor and partner relationships. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of handling these current and future issues yourself or letting a management team take over for you.