Billions of people use Google and other major search engines to find out more about a product or a service. They are researching harder and more than ever before they spend their money. Statistics have shown that out of the millions of searchers, 45% of them have found something negative about a person or company that discouraged them from doing business with the brand. Therefore, negative publicity or press can actually lose a brand a lot of money. This is where online reputation management comes in.
What is online brand management?
The reputation of a brand is the perception that customers have about a particular company. Online Brand reputation management is the process of controlling the results that show up whenever a person searches for a particular brand in major search engines. It involves promoting all of the positive comments and content about the brand, while pushing the negative and irrelevant content away from the first pages of Search Engines Results Pages.
Companies should never underestimate how much a poor reputation online, will cost them. If people search a company name, and are bombarded by negative reviews and articles, they will not do business with the brand. Unfortunately, a brand reputation that has been carefully created and diligently for several years can be destroyed in a very short time. This is why it is always important for corporate heads to stay on top of their brand’s reputation, so that they can nip negative reputation issues in the bud.
How to reposition the brand with online reputation management
A negative reputation can affect a company’s press coverage, sales, and hiring ability. Sometimes, it can be very difficult to clean up a mess that has been caused by negative reviews. This is why company's heads are always advised to be proactive. They should search for their brand regularly on major search engines in order to determine what results come up. They should then respond accordingly in order to clear up any bad press about the company.
Some of the worst negative reviews about a company have to do with poor quality products or services, poor customer support, and security issues. The company should never hesitate to address these issues in order to reassure their clients that everything is alright so that they can re-establish trust and brand loyalty. The following are some of the ways to reposition the brand by managing its online reputation.
Own Search Engines Results Pages
Company heads should always search for their company in major search engines in order to find out what results are displayed. They should then do everything possible to ensure that they own or control all the results that appear on the first few pages about the company. The goal is to ensure that whenever a potential client searches for the company or brand, they will only get good things. It is important for the company to hire professionals who can constantly monitor these pages in order to ensure that all the content is positive.
Take charge of social media
Social media can build or break a brand’s reputation. Because of social media, it is easy for an issue to be blown out of proportion so that it becomes an online brand reputation crisis. For example, a while ago, Delta Airlines faced a major reputation crisis due to Twitter. Apparently, in 1985, Delta Airlines were involved in a court case in which they argued that homosexual victims of plane crashes should get less compensation than heterosexual counterparts. Recently, a website known as OMGfacts which has articles on quirky facts that most people do not know about, published an article about this. The website’s 3.3 million followers retweeted the article, and it was featured in multiple blogs and on Facebook. Within a matter of days, Delta Airlines faced a huge reputation issue.
The best way to deal with social media is to first take charge of all accounts that are related to a brand. Secondly, link the social media pages to each other. The company can hire a Social Media manager to constantly follow the major networks in order to know what people are saying about the brand. The key is to be prompt in answering concerns and questions. Since everything in social media happens in real time, the people will expect very fast responses to their queries. If the company is able to maintain positive communication, they will reposition their brand after any reputation crisis.
Bury or bump the content
If the results about a brand are negative, the company can reposition themselves by bumping or burying these results with positive content. This can take a lot of time and effort. However, since most users only visit the first few pages of search engines, pushing a negative result out of these pages will reduce the chances of people seeing it.
Ask for negative content to be removed
There are times when bad things happen to good brands online. Malicious people may claim a company’s profile and post negative comments about it. Sometimes, people write negative comments in order to discourage people from working with the brand. In such cases, the company owners can try to politely ask them to remove the negative comments or reviews. If this does not work, the company can threaten to sue for defamation. This is because if the defamatory reviews are lies, they will significantly affect the company’s business.
It is very important to be proactive when managing the reputation of a brand. It is also important for the executives of the company to have a good reputation, as a negative reputation can give the brand very bad press. However, even if the reputation has been severely damaged, it can be salvaged using the right techniques. It is important to hire a professional brand manager to handle the brand online reputation management. The cost of hiring such an expert will depend on the current reputation, but it will always be worth it.