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Why Your Business Needs Reputation Management
When it comes to business, image is everything. Good reviews bring more customers. At some point, bad customer reviews will surface, and that’s when you need a business reputation management strategy.
But what is business reputation management? The term kind of defines itself. Similar to publicists, reputation managers specifically control and supervise a company’s image and presence.
However, publicity is not reputation — even though reputation falls under its’ umbrella. If you want to sell a product, some bad publicity can be good publicity. However, if you want to focus solely on fixing your negative reputation, your business needs some damage control. The next question is how.
Online Reputation Management
With technology today, media and news can travel more quickly than ever. Social media, internet news, and online reviews sites all play an important role in a business’s online presence.
Although all the mediums available for publicists are also available to you (word-of-mouth, television, radio), the internet is the best place to start. According to Status Labs, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. The internet is also more accessible than other mediums, and the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer shows that 59% of respondents worldwide trust online search engines over human editors.
There are many ways to tackle a business’s online presence.
Search Engine Reputation Management Company
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the foundation to a good online reputation. SEO involves “methods used to boost the ranking or frequency of a website in results returned by a search engine…” In other words, SEO attempts to make a business’s website or posts appear as close to the top of Google’s list (or any other search engine) as possible.
Normally, SEO’s goal is to “maximize user traffic to the site,” or gain as many website visitors as possible. However, in terms of business reputation management, SEO is slightly different. While the goal to gain website visitors stays relatively the same, there is an additional goal of erasing the negative search results.
Let’s say a user Googles a business, and on the first page, they find results that revolve around a recent scandal. That user is less likely to buy from that business. However, with SEO, that company can push the news of their scandal to the back of their results by bringing forward better news and reviews. If posts and pages with more positive feedback get more clicks, they will appear before the negative feedback.
There are multiple search engine reputation management services that can influence these results. SEO Design Chicago, for example, uses auto-complete influencing, positive images, SEO audits, and off-page SEO to fix search engine reputation.
Aside from hiring an outside company to perform these marketing services, there are a few steps companies can take to improve their search engine results organically.
Post More Quality Content!
The more posts your business makes, the better! Strategically posting a lot of content can help a company edge out negative news in the search results.
There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, Google prioritizes new content over old content. People prefer to read recent articles. After all, the news changes every day, and information from a few days ago might not be as accurate as information from today.
At the same time, Google also likes relevance. In the past, I’ve written a large quantity of articles on one keyword so that my employer could become better associated with those topics. In turn, my articles have appeared on the first and second pages of those targeted keywords.
For example, Vogue is associated with the topic of fashion, so they’re more likely to rank for the keyword “Met Gala” than Ford Motor Company. However, let’s say that Ford wanted to expand into the fashion industry. The more Ford posts about fashion, the more likely they will become associated with that topic and the higher ranked it will be when it posts an article about “the Met Gala.”
In terms of business reputation management, if a company starts a lot of content marketing related to a certain topic, it will rank higher for those keywords and beat out other related news.
However, relevance and newness can’t guarantee a top spot on the search results. A popular article from The New York Times will likely rank higher than a business’s blog post. It takes consistency over time and additional search engine reputation management to further improve these chances.
Strengthen Your Website!
Website problems, like broken links, are some of the simplest but most prominent issues to fix. This is especially important in small business reputation management, as corporations tend to have stronger technical teams that prevent these problems from happening.
If an article on a local business’s website links to a removed blog post, that link becomes invalid. To search engines, these broken links invalidate the authority of that website. Double-checking old articles and removing broken links will help strengthen that authority and increase the chances of a blog post moving up in the search results. It also makes a website more professional to visitors and clients!
SEO Design Chicago also recommends using internal links throughout your content. These internal links, or links to other pages on the same website, can also strengthen a business page’s authority.
Add Alternative Texts!
Images and words are not mutually exclusive! Alternative text can appear when an image does not fully load on a website, and it also can be read aloud or translated for people with disabilities such as visual impairment. These alternative texts have to be written by a contributor and usually describe the image that is being inserted into the article.
Not only should a business utilize alternative texts as a way to insert their keywords, but they should also definitely utilize alt text for members of their demographic with disabilities! It’s more inclusive and gives an edge in SEO.
Social Media Management
Outside direct SEO strategies, social media is a huge component of a business’s online reputation. Managing your social media accounts correctly can also aid in search engine management and give visitors a good idea of what the company is about.
Basic social media tactics continue to apply. Posting consistently, at the right times, and with the right content is always important. SEO Design Chicago has some recommendations for utilizing Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram accordingly to enhance your online presence.
Facebook Reputation Management
For restaurants, Facebook pages are a great way for users to leave reviews while staying up-to-date with the company’s posts. Because of this, a restaurant’s Facebook page will often appear on Google’s first page of results.
This is great news for small business reputation management, because it can direct traffic towards posts that your company can filter and control! (It can also beat out results with negative reviews.) Websites like Yelp do not allow companies to control the reviews left on their page.
While this is good for consumers, it’s not so great for companies trying to fix a damaged reputation. There are some other worrying problems with Yelp as well, such as fake or hidden reviews.
Facebook is for all companies, but restaurants, or other small businesses providing food, should especially start with a Facebook page. Use Facebook analytics or a third-party application to test which posts get the best response (and at which times). And if you get any negative reviews, use these tips to respond and protect your business’s credibility.
Twitter Reputation Management
Twitter has cultivated a somewhat exaggerated reputation as a “toxic” platform. To many users, it’s well-known for drama, “cancel culture,” and negativity.
However, Twitter is an extremely useful and popular platform for many businesses — especially large ones. Wendy’s and McDonald’s are notorious for their Twitter humor. When you Google large corporations like Party City, their Twitter usually appears before their Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram page.
With business reputation management, all social media — but Twitter especially — comes as a double-edged sword. Growing your Twitter page can edge out negative press in the search engine. However, Twitter can also generate lots of negative reviews against your business within the platform.
When it comes to Twitter, simply be cautious. Posting consistently can give your business a lot of exposure, but try not to get sucked into a Twitter battle. It’s harder to respond to negative reviews with only 280 characters.
LinkedIn Reputation Management
For companies with an emphasis on networking, investing, or consulting, LinkedIn is a great platform. Along with the same exposure and SEO benefits that come with Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn adds a certain level of professionalism to a company.
LinkedIn also boasts positivity. Because users want to build bridges (rather than burn them), positive recommendations are encouraged over negative reviews. Criticisms, if there are any, are usually constructive and gentle.
A social media page will appear more often in Google’s search results if there is a lot of activity on that page. This activity grows “a potential for links,” an audience, and promotion. Therefore, there has to be significant activity in order for a business’s LinkedIn profile to rise to the top of the results.
Kylee Lessard, a product marketing manager at LinkedIn, suggested using SEO keywords to get a LinkedIn page more attention from Google. This includes incorporating “keywords in your tagline,” linking your website, and including your vision, mission, values, positioning, tagline, and products.
Instagram Reputation Management
When it comes to visuals, Instagram is the go-to platform. While Instagram cannot share outside links in its posts like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, its visuals provide constant stimulus for its users. Utilizing the “link in the bio” feature can continue to redirect web traffic to a business’s website, and it can also be one of the quickest ways to grow a business’s audience.
Like all social media platforms, companies can maximize their Instagram growth by listening to audience feedback. Instagram Insights explains how much exposure and engagement a post received. The content with the best ratio of engagement to views is the content your followers like best.
Insights can also tell you when your followers are online. You can start with these times as recommendations, but make sure to look at the final likes and comments. By picking test times and days (for example, Sunday at 1 PM EST and Friday at 3 PM EST), posting similar content, and analyzing the results over time, you can determine what times of day get the best results.
This Is Just the Beginning
Hopefully, this overview of social media and SEO can help improve your business reputation management and edge out online negative feedback. However, there’s a lot more to cultivating a solid online reputation. Consistent management of negative reviews, filtering fake comments, growing your online presence, and generating an incentive for positive reviews is an ongoing process.
There’s nothing wrong with growing a strong organic online marketing strategy. However, if you’d like to delve into paid options, check out SEO Design Chicago’s services here. And don’t forget to read these tips for responding to negative reviews!