One of the fastest-growing industries today is online reputation management aka ORM. Corporations literally spend hundreds of millions of dollars to protect their brand so they hire full-time experts to handle this critical task. What about small companies and individuals who just don’t have big budgets? If you are in this second bucket this is for you.
Nothing can destroy a brand or worse still your name faster than negative and sometimes even vindictive reviews. Perhaps you had an ex-employee or acquaintance that means to harm you. Perhaps you have an online stalker. Regardless, once they write it on the internet it can gain traction and unlike in a court of law, you are often guilty till proved innocent. Having helped many with this exact same problem I can tell you that you will need to roll up your sleeves.
The first rule of online reputation management is staying calm.
Let’s face it when you read negative reviews it can get you very angry especially if the content is false or blatantly inflammatory. The key is to keep your head and never ever respond in anger. If the negative content is not inflammatory perhaps you can offer an olive branch. You may want to say this is uncommon for your company and you will do all you can to rectify the problem. If however the content is blatantly false and inflammatory responding can and will only inflame the situation and in the case of negative review websites, give it a higher ranking with search engines. In this case, it is much better not to respond at all.
The second rule of Online Reputation management is to maintain control
Keeping control of your online reputation sounds great, but how can you actually do that? The answer is to produce content in the form of websites, blogs, and listings that you have 100% control of. You will notice that major corporations’ first two or three search page results are actually websites they maintain some degree of control over. Trust me this is no accident because they want those first few pages under their control. The key is to get proactive and produce that positive content in abundance and early and always what you control.
Remember you can’t please everyone
When you are operating a business, it’s fair to say no matter how hard you try you just can’t please everyone. Negative reviews are simply part of doing business. So if you reply keep it professional and simply respond how you are sorry the person is satisfied and you will do all you can to solve the problem. Leave it at that and its fair to say most people will understand. Sometimes a nasty review might say you are incompetent or worse still you are a crook. Once again respond professionally and never ever get nasty.
Promote positive reviews from your satisfied customers
There are many platforms that help a business promote more positive reviews from new and existing customers. What the best ones do is send an email to each customer thanking them for their business and checking their level of satisfaction. If they have a high level of satisfaction the platform takes them to top review sites like Google, Yelp, and even Facebook to leave that review. Needless to say, this will promote mainly positive reviews and boost your reputation for a minimal fee.
Beware of online attacks or stalkers.
You may find yourself faced with an attack or worse still with an online stalker. This can be very problematic because these people often travel anonymously and therefore are beyond any form of litigation. If you find yourself in this unenviable position you have a lot of work to do. You must produce websites with your business or personal name in the URL. When building those sites you need to follow SEO tactics targeting your brand or name as the keyword for the site and page. You will need to produce backlinks for each site, but you can link between the sites also.
Negative Review Websites
In the last 15 years, a new phenomenon has hit the internet by many names, but the best name is simply negative review sites. These sites flourish by posting negative reviews and then charging the target and or victim a fee to remove, hide or otherwise conceal the content. Courts have ruled this extortion, but still, the practice goes on. These sites build tremendous domain authority through great SEO. To top it all off Google’s algorithm has been accused of actually giving a higher ranking to these websites for a multitude of reasons. The only known remedy is simple to post content that outranks these often erroneous reviews.
In conclusion, online Reputation management is something you can do on your own, but my suggestion is to hire a pro. The fact is the cost of doing nothing or attempting it yourself can cost you more money than you can imagine. I have seen people lose as much as a million dollars in lost revenues, opportunities, and even employment.
Market Pros International has a world-class team of dedicated online reputation management experts that can resolve most issues you may face. They have helped individuals, celebrities, and even major brands so you can be sure they can help you. More importantly, they can build a bulletproof reputation that will last you for years very cost-effectively.