Your reputation is vital to your business. Learn how to handle negative press effectively.
It only takes one negative article or bad review to bring down a reputation and this, in turn, only takes one bad experience for a customer or former employee. Online reputation management should therefore be considered a vital part of running and managing your online business. In an ideal business world you will never have to face negative press but the reality is that this can happen to many businesses and for many different reasons; it really could happen to you.
Your reputation is critical to the success of your business. Clients and customers are only likely to rely on those organisations that they see have a positive reputation. What’s more, companies and individuals will use search engines and social media websites, as well as online directories and review sites, to search for information on a company. If a search for your company name or individual name brings up negative listings then it is your business that will ultimately suffer.
Start by knowing how your company is viewed by others. Conduct your own search using your business name, brand and product names, and look for information using search engines and social media websites; anywhere that a potential customer might consider searching. The aim of any online reputation management campaign is to ensure that the results displayed are positive ones.
A disgruntled former employee or a client that feels they have been wronged by your service may post a negative review. Alternatively, you may be subject to bad press from media organisations. Unfortunately, such press can be self-perpetuating too with many other websites, blogs, and individuals linking to the content and creating their own version of the story.
Now, when a potential customer searches for you they will see multiple versions of this negative press. While review sites and directories may not have that much power, news websites and media companies certainly do.
Avoid Instant Overreaction
By monitoring your reputation you will be able to see as soon as any negative press hits the Internet regarding you or your company. You should take action quickly but it is important that the action you do take is measured and well thought out to ensure that it yields the best possible outcome.
Many people’s first instinct is to jump to their defence and post a response to any criticism. However, by posting on the original news article or review it may inflame the argument and give greater weight to the web page where it is hosted. Take the opportunity to thoroughly review the story, determine its merit, and then consider your next move carefully.
Burying Bad Results Using Positive Results
Rather than lending your own weight to a web page that supports a negative review, you may want to look to bury these results. This is typically done through the use of review sites, article submissions, blog posts, and other forms of content marketing.
Create good quality content and use your company name and brand name in the bio section. Link to your own website and find good quality sites, directories, and blogs to host the content. This will give your positive reviews a more prominent position than the negative press you receive.
Take Downs And Legal Action
There is legal action that can be taken if you believe you have been subject to inaccurate criticism. However, this can take time and if it is determined that the press you received was accurate then you may find that the resulting failed legal action only leads to worse press.
Unfortunately, sometimes, inaction is your best form of action. Some results will only see the top of search results for a day or two before normal service is resumed. Taking heavy handed action will almost certainly lead to further distrust on the part of your potential customers and so this should definitely be avoided where possible. Online reputation management requires an even hand and a steady strategy.
We have extensive experience in dealing with online reputation emergencies. Contact us today to see how we can help manage your reputation and ensure that potential clients are not deterred by negative results.