Companies urged to take control of their online reputations

Negative feedback on the Internet about a business or its products can really hit a company hard in its balance sheet as once a company has got itself a bad reputation online it can spread like a virus.

Companies need to take control of their own online reputations in order to avoid a potential disaster.

More than 85% of potential buyers will first do their research on the web to see reviews and feedback, and over 70% of these will not make an enquiry if they read negative comments of a company or brand. A miniscule 5% of buyers look beyond the first page of results from a search engine, and this proves how vital it is to make sure that any bad reviews or feedback are kept to a bare minimum.

Mark Hall, Managing Director of Gotjuice.co.uk – the online reputation management company – says: “Every business should be in full control of their online reputation. When a customer searches for a company’s name or brand, the first pages from the online search results should show nothing but positive mentions. If this isn’t the case, then the business will be losing out on new sales.

“Quite often we work with companies faced with disgruntled former members of staff, unprofessional competitors or – in extreme cases – ex-partners who post unjust and fake web content in the form of reviews or blog posts,” says Hall.

“These may go unnoticed by the company for quite some time, and have a devastating effect on new sales. It is important that you search for your company name and brands on a regular basis, and respond with the right action where appropriate.”

Gotjuice.co.uk recommend the following tips to ensure any business or individual can stay in charge of their online reputation:

Always be prepared for the worst

This could be as simple as creating profiles on all review and social platforms such as LinkedIn, Google+, TripAdvisor, Twitter, Yelp, Qype and sites relating your industry. This will ensure you can respond quickly by putting in a process before any negativity gets out of control.

Ask for reviews

When asking for a review its important that you do just that and ask for a review, don’t ask for good reviews and don’t ask until you have completed the transaction, with your customer, otherwise you may appear too “needy”. Let the customer know that the company takes their opinions and feedback seriously and that you constantly monitor your progress to improve customer satisfaction.

Become a Guest Author

Create relationships with industry sites and become a guest author. Ideally, the site would feature your author biography and company name, and the higher quality the website the better the chances will be of the content appearing on the front page of search results.

Get your name out there with interviews

Seek out interview opportunities or if asked say ‘yes’! Any time you have an opportunity to mention your company name in a positive light is worth the while. This could be a blog post, newspaper article or even a podcast, which all stand a good chance of appearing in the search results pages.

Publish a Book on Kindle

This is a little more time-consuming but well worth the effort. Not only will you and your business be seen as an authority which will result in new sales, but thanks to Amazon’s authority, your author page and your book for sale page should both rank well in the search results.

Have someone ‘own’ your online reputation in house

Allocate responsibility to a team or individual within your business. If you are a larger organisation it may be necessary to have a dedicated spokesperson who has undergone media training so that they can respond to any questions with confidence.

Identify all possible risks

It is good practice to identify all possible risk scenarios that your business could face in times of a reputation crisis.

Identify your brand ambassadors

Having a list of brand ambassadors is a very effective tool for when you need a friendly face to help seed positive press, this could be bloggers, journalists, industry thought leaders and happy customers.

Always be listening

You must always have an ear to the ground to listen out for both negative and positive comments. Visit review platforms, search on Google News, results from major search engines, as well as analysing the latest content from Twitter. This can be time-consuming, and it is always more effective to use a low-cost solution such as the Got Juice Reputation management portal to oversee this for you.

Budget for your reputation

You may need to issue press releases, pay for advertising or engage with an online reputation management company should a serious negative issue arise. Bad press, a damning newspaper article, or one-star rating on page one of search results can really harm your business. Negative reviews, are difficult to remove, so it is well worth preventing these before they happen.

Run a good business

The easiest way to ensure you don’t receive negative mentions is to simply run a good business and ensure you have a process in place to gain new reviews. By offering high quality, great service and good value customers will promote you, and you will reap the benefits.

You can find further free information at gotjuice.co.uk/blog