Online reputation management services have two main goals: to repair poor reputations and to maintain positive ones. Here are some of the strategies and services these companies use to accomplish these goals:
The first step most online reputation agencies perform is an analysis of the current state of your business's online image. They scour the web for mentions of your brand, and they look at your website, blog posts and customer reviews, researching both positive and negative feedback about your business. The goal is for the first pages of search results to have all positive content, as users rarely search past the first few pages. The more negative results the companies find at the top of the search results, the more work needs to be done.
After the reputation management company completes the analysis, they put together a proposal outlining the strategies and tactics they think are necessary to meet your reputation goals. Most online reputation management companies offer this analysis for free.
One of the most common tactics to improve a business's online reputation is to flood the web with positive content about your brand. The goal is to get as much positive content (that you can control) on the search engine's front page as possible. To this end, most online reputation companies create content such as microsites, articles, press releases and videos.
The best business reputation services concentrate on the aspects that will help your site the most. For example, a travel agency specializing in honeymoons might benefit from a honeymoon-focused microsite, while a company changing management might bolster its reputation with press releases and interviews with the new CEO.
Search Engine Optimization
It's one thing to create all of this content; it's a whole other thing to make sure the search engines recognize it. Online reputation management companies make sure all of the content has the proper SEO, which includes ensuring the proper keywords are mixed in with the content, the headline is correct and the metadata is optimized. Reputation management services also work with the content to build links among these venues and any articles mentioning you. Backlinks tell search engines like Google that the information is important to readers.
Online Review Management
Acquiring and managing online reviews is another key component of online reputation management. There are two steps in this process. The first step is to acquire as many positive reviews as you can. These companies will help you develop strategies to encourage your customers to leave reviews.
The second step is to manage all of these reviews. You want to know when new reviews come in so that you can respond to them accordingly. For negative reviews, you should find ways to correct the problems that resulted in the customer's poor experience. For positive reviews, you should thank customers for their kind words. Quickly responding to your reviews shows others that you care about what your customers think of you. Also, analyzing trends in your reviews can help you improve your business operations.
Social Media Management
Online reputation management services can handle your social media accounts. This work includes creating profiles for your brand on the most important social networks and keeping those profiles up-to-date with engaging content. These services can also monitor the social networks to see what others are saying about your brand.
Should your brand run into a crisis situation or a reputation attack, online reputation management companies have PR tactics to help repair your image. These plans include writing press releases, putting out social media statements and booking interviews when necessary. All of these PR plans are designed to help prevent the negative content from spreading and to start rehabilitating your image.
For an online reputation service to do its job, it must monitor opinions expressed online. Some companies do manual searches of the common complaint websites to find out what people are saying about you. The top online reputation services go a step further to read the complaints and identify common issues. Most services employ monitoring software that they develop in-house or buy commercially. Others have computer labs for automatic searching and clicking to influence website rankings.
Reputations are important, possibly even more so online, where anyone can make a judgment based on whatever information shows up on a web search or social media site. Online reputation management services have the tools to help repair a damaged image, build a positive one, and give you the help you need to continue monitoring and bolstering your reputation.
Although a basic reputation management program can be successful, it may not be enough to fix every issue. For example, an online reputation company may do a brilliant job of promoting your good reviews, but if your business doesn't fix its customer service problems, negative reviews will continue to surface.
Other variables also influence your online reputation. For example, your website may have superb SEO, but if the website containing complaints about your business has even better SEO or a great social media presence, it may rank higher than yours. Therefore, it's prudent to enter online reputation management with the understanding that it should be just one of the tools for improving your company.