Online and offline, first impressions matter a lot. However, because of the power customers now have, online reputation is more critical than ever. Also, in an age where online reviews are ubiquitous and anyone can Google your or your business in seconds, managing your reputation can seem impossible.
At the same time, you cannot underestimate the consequences of losing control of your reputation, such as:
- Loss of commercial income and sales
- Poaching of loyal customers by competitors.
- Employee retention and recruitment issues.
- Inability to keep a job after losing a job.
- Symptoms of mental distress and physical discomfort
Harmful online content can be overwhelming and stressful. But it doesn’t have to kill your reputation. On the contrary, it is possible to repair a damaged online reputation with patience and the right strategy.
Determine the root cause of your negative reputation
Reputation repair and management is unique to each individual and company. Is the issue related to negative reviews on Yelp or Glassdoor? Is there an old story that won’t go away? Do you have defamatory content on Facebook or Twitter?
Finding the cause and origin of the problem can be complicated. This is because there are many places where negativity can come from these days, such as someone’s personal blog or a review on a poorly visited website.
However, you and your business must first conduct a thorough assessment of your online reputation.
There are times when damage to one’s personal reputation online occurs unexpectedly. A person with the same name, for example, can do something embarrassing in public, but the Internet can’t tell that you’re not the same person. The result is that people who see search results for your name think you’re them.
Start by searching your name on Google if you don’t know where to start. You can also look for the platforms where the negative feelings originate.
Then write down the types of results you see and whether or not they are positive or negative. You want to try to repair your reputation on any platform where negative sentiment has been expressed about you or your company.
Apologize (if necessary)
If you’ve made a mistake that has damaged your reputation, apologize sincerely. Everyone makes mistakes, and when we do, we need to take responsibility for them.
Taking responsibility for your actions is not a sign of weakness. On the contrary, in some situations, admitting our mistakes is the best course of action.
This step does not apply to someone else who is destroying your reputation without your consent.
Clean up your digital presence
Make sure your social media accounts are free of inappropriate photos, comments or posts. To maintain a positive online presence, be sure to remove content that may be considered inappropriate or controversial. If you are looking for a new position, this is especially true.
Does this mean you should lose sleep over it being cancelled? No. You shouldn’t fear the reaper of cancellation culture. Instead, it’s about being responsible and using common sense. After all, if there’s a photo of you doing a keg stand, how would that reflect on your professional appearance? And, if you’ve made controversial statements in the past, apologize and make an effort to understand why those remarks were insensitive.
Your business or website will rank higher in search results if you use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.
However, if you want to rank for those keywords, you need to create valuable content that targets those terms. After a bad review, creating that content is even more crucial.
By creating informative and useful content, you can prevent harmful information about you and your business from ranking higher in search engines.
It is important to note that 75% of searchers never look beyond the first page of results. So even if there are negative reviews about you, they will probably make it to the second or third page.
Fresh, quality content is also highly valued by search engines. Your site should have a blog if it doesn’t already. You should also create social media profiles and update them regularly with engaging content. For business owners, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to claim your business on Google and Yelp.
If you want people to know more about your business, you can post valuable information about it. And by increasing positive search engine results for your business through SEO, you can help bury negative results further down the results page.
One more thing, this can be overwhelming for the average person. Fortunately, some tools can help, like Linktree. Various links can be created through this platform to different social media platforms, especially Instagram. This tool allows you to create a landing page for your work and other profiles that can host multiple links. Additionally, these landing pages can be customized to include all the relevant links your followers should know about to improve your brand reputation.
Delete negative content
It can be difficult to remove negative information from the web once it has been published.
If someone posts inappropriate and defamatory content about your business, you can contact Google and ask them to remove the content. To find out what types of content Google will remove, see their removal policies.
You can contact Yelp to find out if the negative reviews are legitimate. Also, some online review sites may remove comments if you can show that some of the reviews were made in anger.
The webmaster may still need to be contacted to remove content from the site if the content is removed. Just because an item doesn’t appear in Google results doesn’t mean it’s gone from the Internet.
Although it would be ideal to remove negative search results from the Internet, in reality, this is a difficult task.
Although some search engines accept removal requests, this does not mean that the information will not appear again later, even if it is removed or de-indexed. Deletion is a long-term solution that improves your current online identity while protecting your reputation in the future. This is why, again, you need to implement SEO by sharing more constructive and positive content.
Respond to reviews
You probably have some reviews that need a public response. It is essential to respond to both positive and negative reviews! The reason is that 89% of consumers read the responses that companies give to reviews. That’s a lot of potential customers who are interested in your reviews.
Whenever you receive a positive review, acknowledge and appreciate it. Be sure to say “thank you for choosing us” and “we appreciate your business” often. Remember to be positive and genuine in your answers.
To get new reviews, implement a strategy to get them from satisfied customers/customers. For example, if you want to leave a review, you can send them an email drip campaign, ask them in person, or even hand out a business card.
It’s harder to respond to negative reviews. So, when necessary, apologize when necessary, use restraint and remain professional. And always try to move the conversation from the spotlight through direct messages or emails.
Feel free to brag
Getting a good review is nothing to be ashamed of. Instead, use something extraordinary someone says about your business to your advantage. How? By sharing it on social media, putting it on your website, or even sending it out in one of your email newsletters.
You can give your reviews more power by sharing and showing them off. With minimal effort, they can help you attract new customers or clients while maintaining a stellar online reputation.
Keep your eyes open
To avoid the snowball effect of mishandled negative feedback, monitor and respond to online reviews and mentions.
Companies use reputation management software to manage and respond to online reviews and mentions. So be sure to monitor your inbox for customer comments and complaints and respond to them.
Remember that negative feedback or feedback is an excellent opportunity to show that you really value the other person’s point of view. And that you care about the quality of your goods, services or brand. As a result, you gain the trust of your customers and strengthen the credibility of your brand.
However, it would be unreasonable to do this manually. The good news? There are many tools that can automate these tasks for you:
- Google alerts. Track mentions of your brand on the web
- Hoosuite. Social media monitoring for brand mentions
- Ahrefs. Monitor your brand’s keyword rankings
Call to Calvary
If you are having problems with your online reputation, even if you are actively improving it, then working with an internet defamation consultant or lawyer is perhaps the most effective solution. These specialists can find and implement the online reputation management tools that work best for your specific needs much more quickly and appropriately with an outside perspective.
At first, it may seem impossible to repair your online reputation. However, it is possible and imperative to identify the sources of any negative brand sentiment and then take action to eliminate or suppress it. Additionally, creating positive content for search engines to index or adding more positive reviews can proactively improve your brand reputation.
Also, it will take time to repair your reputation. The results of SEO strategies can take 6-12 months to appear. However, negative reviews can be repaired within a few weeks or months if you work hard at it.
It won’t happen overnight to repair a damaged online reputation. But if you stick with it, you will see changes with time and dedication.
Image credit: Ono Kosuki; Pexels; Thanks!
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