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If people get a bad first impression of your company because of what they are seeing online, that’s going to negatively impact business real quick.
The bad image you’re dealing with can be true, fake, exaggerated–it doesn’t change what you have to do. Keep reading to learn the best strategies for repairing your company’s online reputation.
What is Online Reputation Management Repair?
Reputation management is the process of improving your company’s perception in online reviews, social media posts, search engine results, news outlets, and other online sources.
Businesses with a negative reputation can apply different strategies to build and repair their brand image. This may include content removal, negative review deletion, claiming business profiles, responding to customer reviews, and other tactics to enhance your company’s online perception.
Understand that the steps you take to repair your online reputation may not pay immediate dividends. If you are expecting to be able to repair your brand image in a couple of hours, you are going to experience disappointment.
The repair of your brand reputation is going to take a period of time. The steps you implement today are going to need to be part of an overall brand management strategy. You may need to rebuild your website to make it more useful for visitors, and you may need to solicit multiple positive reviews from customers to negate the negative reviews.
You also should be implementing the strategy for improving your online reputation at the same time you are working to improve your overall customer service reputation. Better customer service and responsiveness should lead to more positive customer reviews, which, in turn, helps your online reputation.
Unless you really know what you are doing, a professional service will resolve issues with your online reputation is much faster. Our top recommendation for most people who need help with online reputation management is WebiMax because of their deep experience and affordable pricing. Get in touch with WebiMax today for a free quote.
The Basics of Repairing Your Company’s Online Reputation
There are a wide range of factors that can impact the online reputation of a business. But when it comes to reputation repair, the following key factors will play the largest role in this process.
Identifying the Source
What specifically damaged your company’s reputation in the first place? You can’t effectively fix something if you don’t know the root cause.
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of unique scenarios that could hurt a business and its online perception. Examples include:
- Faulty or unsafe product
- Offensive marketing campaign
- Insensitive public comments made by owner or CEO
- Poor customer service
- Data breach that leaked sensitive customer information
- Bad press instigated by a competitor or other external source
One review about a single employee or broken product is not typically the source of a bad reputation. Typically, the source is something that had a more significant impact on a larger group of people.
Most consumers read online reviews before buying anything. These reviews are generally a reliable indication of how your company is perceived online.
Not every customer is going to be happy. So a handful of bad reviews are always expected. But if your company has more negative reviews than positive ones, it’s likely signs of a bigger problem.
Understanding your customer reviews can be really helpful in identifying the source of your damaged reputation. Figuring out ways to eliminate bad reviews and get more positive reviews will ultimately play a significant role in repairing your damaged reputation.
Once you implement some solutions for solving customer problems and for improving your customer service, you may want to reach out to those who left poor reviews and ask them for another chance. Some of these people may revise their original review when they can see that you are trying to improve your processes.
Consumers won’t buy products or services from a company that they can’t trust. This statement holds true for B2B buyers as well.
As you’re going through the reputation repair process, you’ll need to come up with quick wins for showing your company is trustworthy. Examples might include:
- Using HTTPS to secure your website
- Adding trust seals to your site during the checkout process
- Providing excellent customer service
- Clearly displaying your company address, phone number, and other contact information online
- Asking for feedback
- Showcasing reviews and customer testimonials
- Eliminating ads or pop-ups from your site
Some businesses lose the trust of their customers through a lack of transparency. Things like not publishing your return policy online or setting up recurring billing without customer consent would fall into this category. If you find you’re not being fully transparent with your customers, that’s a great place to start your reputation repair.
Either way, make sure that all of your initiatives moving forward are focused on your trustworthiness.
Online credibility helps prove your company’s legitimacy. It shows that you’re a reputable brand that keeps its promises.
One excellent way to establish credibility during reputation repair is by partnering with an influencer who already has credibility. Let’s say you have a weight loss supplement company. Having someone like Oprah stand behind your brand and attest to the product’s benefits would provide instant credibility.
Obviously, not every business has access to globally recognized celebrities or the budget to attain them. But there are other ways to establish credibility using this same concept, like:
- Having a doctor provide a stamp of approval for your product’s safety
- Getting featured in a blog post published by an authoritative source in your industry
- Creating case studies and success stories to highlight on your website
Ensuring that current and prospective customers know that your products or services do what they’re intended to do is an important factor in reputation repair.
Controlling Your Online Presence
Your website alone isn’t enough to repair your company’s reputation. You must take other steps to build, maintain, and establish a positive reputation online.
This includes having an active presence on all relevant social media platforms, claiming business profiles on review sites, putting out press releases, and feeding positive stories to media sources.
These types of strategies give you much more control over your reputation because you’ll have more platforms to speak from.
Even small details like a notice on your Yelp profile saying that the business is unclaimed can create a negative perception of your business in the eyes of anyone viewing the page.
Establishing a positive presence on multiple platforms also gives you the chance to produce relevant content that can drown out negative stories on the web. So when someone Googles your business, the content you’re putting out can be shown above other results with a negative sentiment.
Ongoing SEO Efforts
Your brand’s online reputation is tied directly to search engine results. Whenever someone searches for your company on Google, the first five or ten hits will create a perception about your reputation.
If all they see is negative news stories and bad publicity, they’re going to think your company is untrustworthy.
Ongoing SEO efforts allow you to take control over what’s being said in the search results. But unlike other parts of repairing your online reputation, search engine optimization takes time before the benefits start to kick in. That’s why it’s so important to develop a strong SEO reputation management strategy today—as these efforts will pay dividends in the future.
- Optimize your website for relevant search terms
- Publish blog posts on a regular basis
- Build a high-quality backlink profile from authoritative websites in your niche
- Look for relevant guest posting opportunities
- Create videos, infographics, and other shareable visuals
The idea here is simple. When you take this approach, your own content will outrank any negative content in the search results.
By default, this ultimately repairs your online reputation because nobody is seeing the bad stuff unless they do some serious digging (which most people won’t).
4 Tools to Repair Your Company’s Online Reputation
These four solutions will simplify your reputation repair strategies and help you improve your reputation faster.
#1 — WebiMax
WebiMax is one of the most trustworthy and reliable reputation management companies on the market today. They provide an extensive list of services and tools that can help repair even the most damaged business reputations.
Start with an audit, and WebiMax will provide you with a realistic timeline and a customized strategy to proceed with.
They handle negative review removal, negative content deletion, positive content promotion, and online PR services, and can even help you leverage all your unclaimed business profiles. WebiMax offers useful tools including a review collection dashboard, a local listings management tool, and a social monitoring dashboard.
#2 — Nextiva
Taking control of your brand’s perception on social media is one of the best ways to repair your company’s online reputation—and Nextiva makes this easy. With Nextiva’s all-in-one social inbox, you can use a single dashboard to view and reply to customer messages from every social platform. This helps ensure that complaints get resolved quickly and customers don’t feel like they’re getting ignored.
Nextiva also provides social media listening and monitoring tools so you can see what’s being said about your company online. The tool lets you set up tags and alerts to address specific issues before they spread and become a bigger problem. You’ll even be able to schedule and publish posts to establish a consistent cadence, so you’re in total control over your brand image when someone lands on one of your social profiles.
#3 — Google Alerts
Google Alerts is an excellent free tool that helps you monitor what’s being said about your company online. You can use it to create custom alerts from online sources like news sites, blogs, web results, videos, books, discussions, and more. Set up alerts by location, language, and how often you want to receive notices.
This gives you the opportunity to act quickly if a story is published about your business online. If the story is positive, you can promote it to improve your reputation. But if it’s negative or inaccurate, you can take quick steps to get it removed or changed before the information spreads.
Sometimes, the actions of a single person could have an adverse effect on an entire company. Maybe an owner or executive-level personnel was arrested, sued, or was caught on video doing something wrong. If the company was mentioned in any of those stories or police reports, those results could appear whenever someone Googles your business.
InternetReputation.com is a solid solution. They offer reputation management solutions for personal branding through services like online PR, content removal, mugshot removal, reputation monitoring, and more. If you, an employee, or a stakeholder has a negative reputation that’s hurting the company, you can use InternetReputation.com to repair the damage.
6 Pro Tips For Repairing Your Company’s Online Reputation
Improving your company’s reputation may feel like an uphill battle. But these quick wins will help you build momentum and start trending in the right direction.
Pro Tip #1 — Claim All of Your Business Profiles
You won’t have any control over what’s being said or shared about your business on third-party review sites until you claim your profiles.
For starters, it gives the wrong impression to customers if you leave your profiles unclaimed. Since it’s so easy to claim Google Business profiles and Yelp profiles in just a few minutes, there’s really no excuse for not doing this ASAP. Just fill out a simple form; your information should be confirmed within 24 hours.
Once you’ve claimed your profiles, you’ll have the option to add photos, update contact information, and add a link to your website. You’ll even be able to share announcements, make real-time changes to your store hours, and so much more. All of this gives you more control of your brand’s information and accuracy.
If a review site only contains a few low-quality photos that were uploaded by an unhappy customer, it’s obviously not going to be a good reflection of your business. But your professional-grade photos highlighting all the best parts of your products and services will outshine those few pictures. This is something you can do in less than an hour, any day of the week.
WebiMax can help you identify all of your unclaimed profiles so you can leverage them to improve your online reputation.
Pro Tip #2 — Respond to Customer Reviews
You must make an effort to respond to customer reviews quickly and effectively. This is especially important when you’re responding to negative reviews.
This is another really quick win that you should take less than five minutes per review. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when you’re going through this process:
- Respond within 24 hours
- Always respond from your verified business profile
- Don’t make excuses
- Keep it short and sweet
- Acknowledge the complaint with a solution
- Offer some type of concession or compensation to the customer
Always end your reviews with an action to take the conversation offline. You don’t want a lengthy chain between you and a customer online, and you also don’t want that person to share any personal details or private information on a public forum.
If you have a long list of negative reviews right now, going through them might be a bit time-consuming. So just stick with the most recent ones. Responding to something that’s a year old won’t be as impactful.
Pro Tip #3 — Remove Negative Reviews
Every review website has rules and guidelines for what can and can’t be said in a review. But for the most part, these aren’t actively monitored and enforced. There might be a system that automatically flags and removes reviews with curse words, but that could be the extent of it.
So it’s on you to flag negative reviews for removal. For example, you can get reviews removed from Yelp if they contain:
- Promotional content
- Conflicts of interest
- Privacy violations
- Intellectual property
- Payment demands
- Threats, harassment, hate speech, and other inappropriate content
But going through hundreds or potentially thousands of reviews manually can be a time-consuming process, especially if you don’t know what to look for.
It’s much easier to just outsource this task to a reputation management company like WebiMax. They can handle negative review removal on your behalf, so you won’t have to do any heavy lifting on your own.
Pro Tip #4 — Push Down Negative Content That Can’t Be Removed
Unfortunately, not everything about your business can be removed from the web. Things like blog posts or news stories are a little more challenging than reviews.
But one way to prevent these negative stories from being seen is by suppressing them. This involves producing new content that will outrank the negative.
While some of this content can still be found if people search for the right terms or do some serious digging, the idea here is that they won’t appear for general searches related to your brand.
Online reputation management services, like WebiMax, can be really helpful with strategies that push down negative content. If negative stories are buried on page four or five of a Google search, it can drastically improve your online reputation.
Otherwise, it’s just a matter of publishing positive stories that rank for similar keywords. You can achieve this with press releases, HARO (Help a Reporter Out), blogging, and getting your brand featured on other authority sites.
Pro Tip #5 — Encourage Positive Reviews
Increasing the volume of your online reviews is a great way to build trust and credibility. It’s a bonus when these reviews are positive.
But most customers won’t go out of their way to leave a review unless the experience was amazing or terrible. This typically creates a polarized sentiment, even though the vast majority of people fall somewhere in between these two extremes.
The solution is simple—just ask for reviews, and make it easy for customers to leave reviews.
Follow-up emails asking for a review with a direct link to a particular review site can be highly effective. This is much easier than asking the customer to do extra work on their own, like navigating to the platform and searching for your company.
You can even reward people for leaving a review with a promotional code or some type of discount for their next purchase. Just make sure you’re not specifying that the review must be positive to receive the promo.
Pro Tip #6 — Act Quickly
Acting fast when your reputation needs repair can’t be overstated enough. That’s because bad news and negative publicity spread like wildfire.
Let’s say something goes wrong at your company. It happens.
Maybe you’re being sued by a former employee, or you’ve been accused of polluting local water sources. What might start as a small blurb buried in a local news website can quickly be picked up by other media sources.
Before you know it, your brand is getting bad press in the New York Times or Washington Post. The story goes viral on social media, and now there are hundreds of mentions of this one story throughout the web.
But if you immediately take action to remove that news article from the internet, you prevent a downward spiral of your reputation that’s damaged beyond repair.
That’s why we recommend setting up alerts for brand mentions. This way, you’ll get notified in real time, so you implement your response plan in hours instead of days or weeks.
Strategies for Repairing Your Company’s Online Reputation: Top Questions Answered
What to Do Next
We strongly suggest working directly with an online reputation management company to repair your company’s online reputation. These services help brands restore damaged reputations daily, which means they know what measures to take for maximum effectiveness.
To restore your brand’s reputation, browse our reviews of the best online reputation management companies. Then, list the top contenders and take advantage of free consultations.
You can also use online tools to monitor your brand’s online reputation. These tools will help you act quickly in the future to prevent another damaging event. Check out our list of the best reputation management software for things like review monitoring, social media listening, local search listings, and more.