We hope it doesn’t happen to your business but unfortunately almost every business will eventually get struck with some less than ideal criticisms about your product, service or customer service.
Here are 10 simple steps to try and make sure you can fix your online reputation.
Do Not Click on the bad press!
It seems so difficult but do not click on the bad press! This only strengthens its positioning in the search results.
Monitor your reputation!
One simple thing to help boost your online reputation is to make sure you are monitoring your reputation throughout the search engines, there are many brand monitoring software out there. Blue Fusion Digital also offers reputation monitoring on a monthly basis, we would love to give you a free trial for 30 days! Simply schedule a demo right here.
Unfortunately, sometimes these negative articles are not from legitimate clients or customers but instead they are from disgruntled ex-employees, competitors or even ex-spouses or significant others (we’ve seen it all). In these cases the steps above are really not going to apply because they are doing it just to hurt your business. The real bummer about those websites I mentioned earlier that are good at SEO are also known to be money hungry and not of the highest standing morals or ethics; what I mean by that is they don’t require any sort of validation or authentication of peoples claims. They literally want as many complaints against as many businesses as possible so it gives them the best chance to make money off of you. (Side note: DO NOT PAY those companies directly because they will not even remove the complaints, they only make them stronger). If this is the case you are going to have to start doing an online reputation management campaign. Here is how it works in a nutshell, you are going to need to beef up your digital footprint online, you are going to need to write a bunch of content and place it on trusted profiles and websites across the web that are going to essentially outrank the back press and fill the first pages of the search engines with good, more accurate content about your business.
Ask for reviews
While you are in the midst of creating all of this content and link building don’t forget to ask your happy clients for reviews! It takes 11 5 star reviews to negate a 1 star review but honestly, over 80% of people say they trust a company with a 4.6 star rating over a 5 star rating. People understand no business is perfect but a 5 star review always looks best.
We hope you found this article helpful in defeating the burden that is negative reviews and derogatory information that has been spread about you online. If you have any questions please contact us. We also offer full service Reputation Management from beginning to end. Ask us for our case studies.
Connect With Customers
Talk to customer
Before we go crazy and invest lots of time, effort and resources into what can be an intense digital marketing blitz to try and bury derogatory or negative press that has been written about your business. There are a few things you can try before that might be much easier and a cheaper alternative. What we have seen in our 6+ years of digital marketing and specifically in regards to online reputation management is customers want to be heard. Sounds so simple yet it is the number one reason businesses get bad reviews. Often times a customer will purchase a product or service and are unhappy with something during the sales cycle whether it is pre or post sale can vary but the common theme is something went wrong and they are unsatisfied with there purchase. In our experience a majority of the time this is not what leads to a negative review but it is the lack of communication after they attempt to give your business a chance to make the situation right (in their eyes).
Don’t engage with customer publicly.
Your natural instinct as a business owner is to react right away to any negative review or criticism you might receive which is totally understandable. Here is why it’s the wrong thing to do! Companies who specialize in offering a mega phone like platform to angry customers are annoying but also very smart, they have amazing SEO on their websites because it is also content driven and people inherently love to read bad press about people, why do you think all of the tabloids are always right at checkout at every grocery store – because people love reading about other peoples drama! So, when you comment or reply to a bad Yelp review or Rip Off Report, PissedConsumer, or Complaintsboard, etc. you are actually just making those things stronger and stronger which will make it harder and harder for you to rid yourself of these damaging articles! If you absolutely have to respond to these on say Yelp, make it something very neutral like, “Dear ______, we are extremely sorry to hear you had a bad experience with us. We would love to resolve this for you immediately, would you please contact us at (111)111-1111 or email us at __________?”
This lets other potential clients that you are active on social media which customers love and it doesn’t put you in a position where you are going to start a huge argument that goes back and forth which again will only strengthen this review or article. Please, pretty please do not resort to name calling, profanity, etc. this looks awful for you and your business and you are much more likely to lose new clients!
Create Social Media Profiles
Build social media profiles
The big hitters in social media you probably already have Instagram, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest. If you do not have them please build them ASAP! Even if you don’t have a reputation management problem right now, build them and protect your brand from name squatters or even your competitors claiming the pages and then using them against you. (Again we have seen everything). Once you have each of these profiles created make sure you fill out each profile to its full completion, cover photos, profile picture, descriptions, about us, hours of operation, etc.
Make sure you treat these profiles like your website and update them frequently. Make sure your website links to each of these social media profiles and the profiles link to your website. This helps the search engines connect them together.
This bring us to our next point! Be proactive, it is so much easier and more cost effective to spend a little bit of time consistently to add content to your social media profiles and blogs now when you don’t have an issue which will in turn build a natural barrier on the first page of the search engines and help prevent negative press to creep up out of nowhere. Even in industries where you might think social media doesn’t generate new leads it can help with your online reputation management. Not only does it keep bad press off of the first page but it also can help your overall brand visibility and branding and you might even notice a nice bump in your organic SEO! Talk about two birds…
Buy URL’s and Hosting
Now that you have created your social media profiles you have one layer of the foundation in place. Equally as important for a successful reputation management campaign is creating successful micro blogs. For these micro blogs you are going to need to go and buy URL’s that are the name of the keyword searches that are triggering the bad press. For example, if your company is Joe Smith Plumbing and someone does a google search for Joe Smith Plumbing Reviews and that search query populates a 1 star review or bad youtube video you are doing to want to purchase joesmithplumbingreviews.com. Once you have purchased this domain you are going to need to purchase hosting for it. The more domains you purchase the more hosting you will need to buy. We want to keep each domain on a different host to prevent the search engines from knowing they are all related. For example you might buy hosting from GoDaddy on one and Host Gator for the other.
Pick a CMS
Now that you have your URL’s and Hosting set up you are going to need to pick a CMS or Content Management System for each website. We personally love WordPress and enjoy the Divi and Avada themes because of there user friendly drag and drop interfaces.
Create newsworthy content
Now that the blogs are up and running and you settled on a theme or themes for your microsites you are going to need to create content for each of these micro sites. The key thing to remember is these sites are supposed to look like a normal website, you might get a call tracking number for each of these websites and use that instead of your same main business number so it keeps everything separate from your main website. Now, you are going to create content that is full of the keywords you are trying to rank for just like you are doing in SEO but instead this time you are doing it for your own branded keywords such as “Joe Smith Plumbing”
The same concepts apply to each website, create content, silo the content together and share the content on social media.
Remember the social media profiles we created earlier? Well, you might need to create them again for each of these micro sites!
Now that you have social media profiles and content on your micro sites it is time to start building links to these new profiles. Try and get other people in your industry to link to your new profiles and micro sites to help gain relevancy and authority in the search engines.