In a reputable audit study I conducted with Digitalis UK last year, we found that of the top 50 global brands, 14 had negative content in the first two pages of Google search results.
In many cases, this situation was mostly useless – in this same study, we found that their Twitter profiles did not appear on page 1 and 22 had no Facebook pages . reputation management!
Chances are, your organization may be in a worse situation. Read on for my top 10 reputation tips for 2018 to help you reduce risk for your organization.
The top 50 global brands are probably not affected by a negative event as sudden as small businesses that are more vulnerable to market fluctuations in their sectors. For example, the major cable companies in the United States have a poor reputation in customer service, but they continue to have a large number of subscribers. Comcast, Charter and AT & T U-verse each have over 10,000 pages of the Ripoff report indexed in Google.
My observation has been that some of these types of businesses largely ignore the negative things that people say about them. They basically have captive audiences of customers who have little options to go elsewhere – their alternatives are from other similar companies having a reputation for customer experience as bad.
However, most businesses are probably more vulnerable in their online reputation than larger companies, and most would suffer if something negative about them appeared on page 1 in the search engines. If you work for a small or medium business, you do not have the luxury of being ambivalent about your online reputation. Allow it to go sour, and your business can probably have financial repercussions.
Those of us in the online reputation management industry have long written about the opportunity to proactively manage their online reputation, but that's like whistle in the wind. We continue to strongly urge people to consolidate their online presence, and this advice is generally ignored – until they are seriously injured.
Proactive management of online reputation is far better than just insurance. Performing good online reputation management can help improve the importance of a business – or its perceived prominence. This can also help with overall organic rankings, increasing the visibility of a company's products and services relative to their competitors.
The beginning of the year is a good time to go forward in a strategic way rather than just reactively. Risk avoidance is a good reason to invest to strengthen its position in the market, even though people perceive things like insurance payments as not being so sexy.
Proactive online reputation management not only reduces your vulnerability to harm, but also increases all other promotional activities you undertake. So be sure to add it to the list of priorities for your year and set the stage to reap the benefits almost from the beginning.
10 reputation management tips for the year 2018
1. Expand your Twitter company account
Many companies that approached me because of a reputation attack last year did not have a Twitter account at all or had accounts that were so bad. underdeveloped that they might as well have had none. In a few cases, companies that operated Twitter accounts had small unrelated Twitter icons on their websites because their web developers had failed to link their social media icons.
Twitter is one of the simplest for a profile page that can be optimal for your name searches, relatively fresh out of the box if you have it set up correctly. Small businesses often create a Twitter account and do not develop it properly. If this is not the case on page 1 for your name in Google, then you probably have room to improve yourself.
Do it properly and you can even see Google embed recent tweets in a row under your Twitter list in the search results, taking even more real estate on the page.
2. Expand your company's Facebook page
As on Twitter, a Facebook page for your organization can be very effective if it has been built correctly. Pages must include your name, profile picture, website, location and description. It should be linked from your website and have a growing number of subscribers, and you should regularly post updates.
3. Make sure it is easy to know who is behind your business
If you want your business to look up in 2018, create your website without any clue to the people who run it. I have seen companies with limited reputations doing this. Do you want to depend on a company that does not feel safe enough to put the names of its employees on its website?
When a person unfamiliar with your business comes to your website for the first time, she should be able to find a "About Us" or "Our Team" page and click to see the names people. Better yet, put human faces on your brand by including photos. This is good for increasing confidence in your business, and this can affect the feelings of people who they need to contact you about a customer service problem.
Finally, having a page that shows who you are will help maximize the online presence of your senior executives, spokespersons and ambassadors. I've even speculated in the past that having a good page "About Us" could be one of Google's quality factors for organic rankings.
4. Manage the online presence of any eminent employee or officer who has neglected
In many companies, the brand is closely related to prominent personalities, so if the person's reputation takes a hit, it may reflect the business and affect its business. For this reason, it is necessary to perform proactive online reputation management for these individuals.
Your most eminent employees must not only have their own profile pages on your site (in an About section or Team, as described above), but they must also develop their own online presences just like you do it with your company. Everyone needs Twitter, Facebook pages, personal sites, LinkedIn profiles, YouTube accounts, biographical profiles, blogs, and more.
Far too many CEOs and executives do not realize that their desire for privacy should not equate to a zero online presence. People who have unique names and who have no profile are simply ducks sitting for an online attack from an unhappy customer, an unhappy employee, an angry investor or a crazy insane. This can represent one of the biggest gaps in the management of business reputation.
5. Launch an optimized press kit for your company
This is an area in which you can massify your reputation management online. In addition to publishing high quality photos and videos on your site, you can not only better manage your reputation by searching for images and videos, but also help others publish articles about your business.
Facilitate the use and use of historical timelines, fact sheets, logos, photos, and videos involving your business – use Creative Commons licenses for people to get n & # Do not need to contact you to pick up and use the media. ]
6. Optimize your Google My Business listing, even for all your branches
Surprisingly, some companies ignore their Google Maps presence. But paying attention to this has several advantages. For one, it increases the information about you on the Google search page and takes more catchy real estate. You can not only add images to your listing, but Google has also started allowing videos.
You may not realize that you can also bring up your company headquarters here. Even if you are not a company that allows site visits to customers, you can always integrate the location of your office. Many companies are still unaware of the optimization of these lists, but it is useful to have your ads claimed and verified in case there is incorrect information or if you have to respond to a negative review. Google.
Another benefit is that you can associate your business with categories that will allow your ads to generate results when someone searches for your type of business, which will increase your visibility. If you neglected this, do not miss another year without optimization.
7. Start increasing your positive online ratings
Many operators do not feel comfortable asking customers to review them. However, if you have little or no opinion online, you can be very affected by a single criticism.
Getting a greater volume of reviews can help you protect yourself from the negative effects of any criticism. You should use a combination of strategies to start having more positive reviews.
The simplest ploy is to ask your most delighted clients to write an online review. Warning: Yelp is a bit odd in this respect, and their rule is that companies should not ask to be reviewed.
8. Launch, feed and water your YouTube video channel
If your business does not already have its own YouTube video channel, it should. If your channel is not already optimized, you must do it.
Plan to post at least 12 videos this year – at least one per month. And optimize each of the videos you publish.
Videos must have good titles and descriptions. As Jeremy Vest of Vidpow said in a podcast, "[M] brands and companies do not think about video discoverability, even though it's the second largest search engine in the world."
Videos are often desired by consumers, so Google's algorithms are biased in their favor. As you develop more videos, you have more content that may well rank for your name. And when you optimize your YouTube channel page, it can also be ranked in regular search results. In many ways, video is too easy to do these days for you to continue to ignore it.
9. Leverage your employees to be brand ambassadors in social media
In the 1.0 business world, all the public relations functions of a company were top-down. However, in 2018, this should not be the case – you should have enough confidence in your employees that they are the front-line ambassadors of your brand and sometimes your main lines of communication.
Allowing employees to speak on your behalf requires that you give them a lot of confidence to make good decisions. You can still impose rules, and that's a good idea. Employees should probably have a minimum of training on the types of things that they can and can not say.
In addition, training your employees to network and optimize their own online presence may result in an increase in your company's websites and social media accounts.
The fact that your employees update their LinkedIn profiles to associate them with your business will allow these pages to have stronger rankings. Likewise, inviting your employees to connect to the company profile on the Twitter and Facebook pages will also help them.
10. Review, revise and improve your customer service policies
In many cases, you can completely avoid bad results by improving your own performance. Are there frequent hiccups in your sales and service processes? Are there aspects of what you do that cause frequent complaints from customers? You should find ways to improve the experience of your customers for all of these things in order to eliminate areas of friction that could escalate into an online reputation crisis.
Also, educate your employees on how to handle crises when they occur, so that problems can be solved in the eyes of your customers without giving them the impression that they are not heard only when they publish noisy complaints on social media. Do not rest on your laurels, but rather ask how you can make business with you easier and more enjoyable.
Bonus Reputation Management Tip: Traditional public relations strategies can still result in the creation of corporate identity, promotion and the proactive success of the reputation management. Write this authoritative book about your industry. Contact the press to report on interesting topics your company might be involved with.
Local TV stations often look for stories of human interest to show video clips – maybe your business has something that might interest you, or maybe you have recent news involving your industry. Involve your business as a sponsor of a local event, festival or children's sports team. If you do innovative things and become better known through different media, you can build your brand traditionally, and these activities can further strengthen your online presence.
All of the above tips can help you develop your brand identity, brand awareness, and the strength of positive media about your business in online search results. As the materials are strengthened, it will take a lot more so that any new negative element gets up on page 1 of Google and Bing. Negative items that are not visible on page 1 in Google usually have little impact on the impression that your company makes about new customers or potential partners.
Also, if you have a number of assets under your control that rank well for your name online, then you can represent yourself and defend your reputation if or when something can happen. Having these communication options allows you to spread the wrong things if there is a misstep or problem that attracts negative attention.
Do not miss another year without strengthening your reputation online! These tips can help you survive if something bad strikes you, and the benefits of doing them often help pay for the investment you have spent on them.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. The authors of the staff are listed here.