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Spring Cleaning Your Online Reputation

Guest post by Alicia Lawrence

If I Google your business right now, what will I find?  For most companies, the honest answer is “a mix of mostly good stuff… and a few bad things, too.”  This is a problem in a world where people get most of their information online.  It’s also the impetus to start considering how to “spring clean” your organization’s web reputation.

When a potential customer checks you out using Google, Bing or Yahoo!, he or she has a tendency to believe what is read.  This makes it imperative to do everything in your power to ensure that the first 10 search engine results are positive.  After all, most people stop looking after the initial page.

So how do you start spring cleaning your company’s online reputation?  In her new book called “Spin Sucks,” Gini Dietrich tackles a number of public relations and marketing items, including the notion of telling your story and being authentic along the way.  As an expert in the field, Dietrich is all about understanding that public relations has changed dramatically in the Internet era.

She’s right, of course.  Fortunately, you can start sprucing up the “first impression” you make whenever visitors investigate your business right now.

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#1:  Start by evaluating your website. 

Your website is a major factor in your online credibility.  If you haven’t edited it in a while, take time to update your information and make sure it is free of any errors. Don’t forget to add a page – or pages – dedicated to testimonials. As this site clearly shows, you don’t just have to use written testimonials, either. Video testimonials can help showcase how much people love your products, and they’ll put a genuine “face” to all the kind words!

#2:  Check what’s being said about you on social media channels.

Although you can’t necessarily change what people are saying about your company on social media, you can begin to address their concerns publicly.  For instance, if someone has complained about your customer service on Twitter or Facebook, you can respond to them.  The more responsive you are, the more open you’ll appear to anyone viewing the comment thread.

#3:  Take a look at review sites to see what’s being said about you.

Review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List are very popular, and they can sway a potential customer towards or away from working with your business.  Like it or not, perception is reality; if individuals see bad reviews, they’ll tend to believe them.  However, if you have a chance to combat what’s being said, or to try to make things right, you can fix your reputation.

#4:   Look at your Better Business Bureau rating.

A lot of people go to the Better Business Bureau before they make the decision to work with a company.  If your rating is less than “A,” you can contact the Bureau to find out how you can work through any of the complaints or issues.  That way, you can ethically boost your rating so you don’t lose future clients.

#5:  Get people talking about you online for all the right reasons!

Finally, take time to create some positive buzz about your brand. Look for potential brand ambassadors and send products to bloggers for them to review. A pitch a few relevant journalists about what your company is doing to help the community.

Don’t let a poor online reputation affect your bottom line any more.  Start being smart and taking care of any misconceptions by spring cleaning your web rep!

Comments

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Alicia Lawrence

Hi Ivan, Gini commented with some great advice that I completely agree with. Instead of approaching negative comments with how you can erase it, focus on pushing them to the 2nd or 3rd page results by filling the first page with positive reviews and great content. If the negative comment is on a commenting site, do the same thing but with your loyal customers writing what they do like about you.

Ginidietrich

I would also add that many organizations will find negative things on the first page of Google results. There are companies who claim they can erase those things for you. That is impossible. The only thing you can do is push the negative things to the second, third, or fourth pages. And the only way to do that is with interesting and compelling content that people read and share.

Ivan Widjaya

How about tackling negative reviews? How do you do that? Let's say you got a negative review. Sure, you can encourage people to vouch for you but how can you erase that?

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