Whether you’re a small business owner or the leader of a large organization, you know that the reputation of your brand is everything.
It doesn’t matter if your long-term goal is to scale your business or simply maintain current growth, the image you project can mean the difference between satisfied customers and floundering profits.
Today, consumers are deeply dependent on Internet reviews to evaluate a company, and most people agree that they won’t even purchase a product or frequent a shop until they have gone online and Googled the business.
Don’t let negative reviews or bad press impact your bottom line. Read on for three ways companies can protect their reputation proactively and maintain a positive image.
1. Domain acquisition
This is a critical first step both from a protection standpoint and an SEO perspective.
Online reputation management experts suggest that businesses buy up the domain name for their company as well as any variations on the main name.
It’s a good idea to own “yourname.com” as well as “yournameNEWS.com”, “yournameREVIEWS.com” and any other relevant URLs.
This prevents ill doers from buying a domain with your brand name and using it to write negative content about your product.
Of course, once you own all the usernames, you can take advantage of them for SEO purposes as well and direct links at each URL to rank higher in Google.
Financial services company, Online Trading Academy, originally purchased the URL www.onlinetradingacademy.com as well as www.tradingacademy.com.
Owning both of these online properties helps them take up more virtual space and direct customers to the official company website even when there is an error in a user’s search.
2. Monitor scam sites for negative reviews
The Internet is full of haters.
There are the trolls who deliberately write negative content about companies in addition to disgruntled former employees, dissatisfied vendors, and competitors who are out to ruin your brand.
It is always a good idea for business owners to check Scam.com, Ripoff Report, and Complaints Board to see if anyone has lodged an attack on the brand.
While it’s possible to take legal action in some cases, oftentimes litigation is not an option. Be aware of what’s being said about you and your company and you can take action to bump negative reviews down in the Google search rankings.
3. Be social
Not only should you monitor social media, you should stake a claim to your name across all social platforms.
This means you should, at the very least, set-up a Facebook page for your business.
Additionally, it’s smart to acquire the Twitter handle, Pinterest username, LinkedIn company page, and Blogger and WordPress accounts tied to your business.
You want to be in control of anything related to your name so that someone with negative intentions can’t get a hold of them and use it against you.
Once social media is up and running, you want to be aware of any complaints or negative feedback.
It’s ok if someone writes something less than flattering about the brand on twitter, but you need to use that as a customer service opportunity.
What starts as an offhanded complaint on twitter can turn into an angry and image-shattering rant on a review site.
Step in before the customer does any real damage by checking social media platforms and stopping the issue in its tracks.
Your brand’s online image can make or break the business.
Don’t let negative press destroy an otherwise untarnished reputation. Take action before a serious issue arises and you can protect your brand and improve your bottom line.