Along with the development of the internet has come a wave of new fields that would not have existed previously. For businesses to succeed – and thrive – in the new marketplace, they need to understand these new fields and how they affect their marketing efforts. One such field is the area of online reputation management. Every business that has a website and some kind of presence online has a reputation to consider. This reputation includes elements like reviews, comments on social media, blog articles, and more. For just about any kind of business, online reputation management is an important skill that needs to be understood and embraced.
To better help you understand the importance of online reputation management, let’s work through a quick example. For a minute, imagine that you own a business called XYZ Plumbing in Seattle, WA. You have been in business for a couple years and have a decent base of customers, but still need to expand your reach and name recognition. You have website, and a Facebook page, and a Twitter account – and all of them get a moderate amount of traffic through search results and some paid ads that you are running. As far as your online presence goes, things are progressing nicely.
However, one day you are checking on your search rank for the keyword ‘plumbing Seattle’ and find that there are some negative reviews about your business popping up on various sites. People have been complaining about the quality of your work, your poor customer service, high rates, and more. This is confusing to you, because all of your customers tell you how much they love your work, and have never complained directly to you about anything like this. So what is going on?
Most likely, you are being attacked by a competing business, which is why you will need to use online reputation management to defend your place in the market. The problem with many review sites, and social media accounts, is that there is no way to verify the legitimacy of the people leaving the feedback. If you are getting negative feedback from ‘customers’ that you don’t recognize, the chances are they aren’t actual customers at all. Instead, they are working for a competing plumbing business in your market, and are trying to make you look bad through false reviews. While this technique is very unethical, it is commonplace and happens much more than you would think.
After you discover that these negative reviews are popping up around the net, you notice that your business starts to decline and fewer customers are contacting you for service. Sadly, the effects of these kinds of negative reviews can be quick and painful. If you are going to rise above this problem and keep your business on track, online reputation management is something you need to embrace. Quite simply, online reputation management is the task of making sure that potential customers see positive information about your business when they search for plumbers in Seattle. If you can get the negative reviews away from the view of potential customers, the problem will be solved.
So how do you do that? Online reputation management is a little bit confusing at first, so it is helpful to work with an experienced team like iZIMAX. One of the most-popular and most-successful techniques related to online reputation management is quality content publishing. When you publish content related to your business that is positive in nature, you will be giving potential customers something to find that will reflect on your business positively. It is important to note that these pieces of content should not be fake – they should be real reports on things like services or products that your business offers. You don’t want to put out a fake image, you just want to give a fair representation of your company.
The same technique can be used for reviews. Again, you don’t want to post fake reviews – you just want to encourage your actual customers to leave reviews about you in various places online. Since you do such a great job and offer quality service, you should receive mostly positive reviews from your real customers who love what you do. This will go a long way toward offsetting any fake negatives that are posted by the competition. With a combination of positive content and reviews now posted to the web, you will already have taken a big step forward in the battle of online reputation management.
Below you will find a couple more notes that relate to the task of online reputation management –
- Get it off the first page. Once something disappears off the first page of search results, it is basically invisible to nearly all searchers. Most internet searches don’t get past the first page of results, so anything appearing on the second page or later is not something that needs to be worried about too seriously. You want to make sure that your positive content is outranking the negative so you can push those false reviews out of sight.
- Contact webmasters. If you find reviews or articles that you know are fake, you can try to contact the webmaster of the site that is hosting the content and ask that it be removed. This tactic may or may not be successful, but it is worth a try in cases where you are sure the review has been posted solely to damage your business without being based in reality.
iZIMAX is proud to offer online reputation management services to help quality businesses defend themselves against attacks to their reputation on the internet. You shouldn’t stand by while people spread rumors and accusations against your business that simply aren’t true. The damage that can be done by negative reviews and posts could take a major chunk out of your business, and even make it difficult for you to keep going. Online reputation management is an important part of the modern business landscape, and you shouldn’t ignore it any longer.