It doesn’t really matter if you make your money clicking away with a mouse and keyboard or from behind a mahogany desk in a corner office, you’d do well to heed the advice of one of America’s top business leaders. Warren Buffett said:
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
Amen to that you might have just said if you run an online enterprise and have had to deal with the wrath of a sour ex-employee, disgruntled customer, basement hacker or even a competitor that knows their way around in cyberspace and wants to take a run at your credibility.
Here’s a few of the horror stories about how quickly your good name can suffer when it comes under attack online and how quickly all those years of carefully building yourself up can come to mean nothing in the blink of an eye or the click of a key.
Consider what happened to a New York clothing giant in 2010 if you think that reputation management isn’t an important part of your business toolkit.
Slashed Clothes and Social Media
The prestigious clothing store H&M had a flagship location in New York City and all seemed to be going along well for the Swedish clothing giant. That is until otherwise wearable clothing was found discarded and slashed in dumpsters behind the building and brought to light in a New York Times article 6 years ago.
Once the word got out an army of people took to social media to complain about the practice and negative stories eventually spilled over into the mainstream media. The negative press continues to follow them around even up to this year when a story was published detailing how a majority of H&M’s Bangladeshi supplier factories are still not safe.
Here’s an even more exotic example of what can happen to your good name online that involves an American cultural icon and a Sultan. The Sultan of Brunei owns the 102-year-old Beverly Hills Hotel, where such famous actors as Marilyn Monroe, and musicians like the Beatles have stayed. He ran into some hot water in 2014 when he decided to introduce Sharia law in his country.
The results were a barrage of negative information and even a series of boycotts which culminated in video footage of a stoning being broadcast. The resulting barrage of bad press both on and offline cost him millions in cancellations.
The Reputation Cliff
It’s safe to say that no one really wants their business to fall off a cliff reputation wise. But there’s some good news out there and that’s in the fact that we have Albuquerque reputation management techniques that are at your disposal to help you if you’ve got a bad name in cyberspace that you can’t seem to shake.
Understanding how your reputation works is critical to understanding what we can do for you. For example, information that you put out there about your brand and your goods and services can be carefully controlled from your end. All it takes is polished content and a message that gets repeated over and over to highlight the good things you want people to know about your product.
The Internet Water Cooler
On the other hand, people like to talk around the water cooler and that’s a big space when you’re dealing with the Internet. That’s the side of your reputation that you can control but if a person or company wants to do you harm, taking a swipe at your credibility online with a series of posts or other types of content can be more harmful than you can imagine.
Here at 1st in SEO, we can help you fight back with a multipronged approach that involves focusing on the good and burying those bad posts and reviews. We even like to take a proactive approach by helping you put together a content strategy that will build your reputation from the ground up and presents the image that we carefully craft for you together.
Here’s a few of the things you’ll need to know to establish a good beachhead if you’re caught up in any kind of reputation management war.
1. Being Contrite Means Not Copping Out
Learning to say you are sorry sounds like the kind of advice you might get from a love song but it also applies to your reputation online. The American buying public are a forgiving bunch but they need to be asked for their forgiveness when your company messes up.
Being transparent is important here because there’s nothing worse than an apology that really only looks like a business pitch under the surface. This is the one and only way to end a crisis situation or make things better with a target audience. One of the most important things to remember here is that you need to own the situation and not include any mitigating phrases that will be seen as cop outs like:
“It has come to our attention that, through no fault of our own, some of our products may have been defective.”
If you and try to apologize like you’re like writing a legal document, you’re more than likely only going to make the hole deeper for yourself and your organization.
2. Be Cool
If you have been working in an online business for any time, you’ll know how hard it is to accurately read posts and emails for the emotional intent behind them. Coming across as judgmental, harsh or unprofessional will resonate across your target market even if you’re right. That’s the biggest reason that one of the most important rules here is never get into an online argument.
If you let your emotions get the better of you, it can make things worse for your reputation. If you need a little convincing about how it looks and what can happen if you let your temper spiral out of control, take a few minutes to read this online rant from a bakery owner who didn’t heed our advice.
If it looks like an online interaction can’t be solved while you are right in the middle of it, try and see if you can move the discussion to an off-line media in a diplomatic way. Phoning an irate customer directly is a much better way to get the problem solved than berating them online. Besides, you might even win a few online prospects over to your side if you take the higher road with your messaging.
3. Avoid lone battleship websites
Try and keep in mind that reputation management Albuquerque isn’t really an option for active online enterprises. If you only have a website, your business is like a battleship floating in a vast ocean without a convoy around it for support.
If you’re sitting out there all alone, you’re vulnerable to another website that targets you or even a few online posts in social media that paint you in an unfavorable light. It’s important to have your own flotilla that can protect your company by surrounding it with a brand and voice that you carefully craft in all the relevant Internet mediums.
It’s also important to keep in mind that understanding all the things you need to do to make a business work doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily a great communicator in cyberspace. Before you read on about some other helpful support ships you’ll need in your flotilla, why not take a few moments to look over the professional services that we offer? Supplying accurate information and a series of online reviews are just two of the tools that we can supply.
4. Putting That Flotilla Together
Once you understand the need for protecting your reputation on the Internet, the next logical jump is finding out what ships you’ll need to protect that lone battleship website from attack.
- Take a look at what’s best for your products and services. For example, LinkedIn is a sturdy supply boat in your fleet if you have executives and employees whose reputations you’re looking to cover. Likewise, if your product lends itself to high quality pictures, Flickr and Instagram are both solid choices. In this day and age, you can’t afford to neglect video and investing in some YouTube capabilities always comes in handy.
- If your website is the battleship of your flotilla, the blogs you write are like support planes launched from an aircraft carrier. With professional writing and strategically placed good keywords, blogging has become an indispensable tool for search engine rankings and reputation management in Albuquerque both. This is one of the staples of an online business and can help you to rank for your company name as well as respond to any credibility concerns quickly and easily.
5. Keep Those Online Ears Open
It’s never bad advice to listen to people, and that’s especially true when you’re looking at your online reputation and you’re working through some negative comments. If you’re getting a series of bad reviews about the same issue, it may very well be that something needs to change in the way you’re conducting your business. Don’t be too quick to jump into your reputation management toolbox. Take the time to process what people are telling you before you jump to any conclusions because your company might come out better at the other end if you take some of their suggestions.
It’s always a good idea to keep in mind that you’re pitching your goods and services to a wider audience than you might have thought possible. You never really know whether the next visitor could turn into a prospect and a loyal customer so it’s always a good idea to consider negative feedback as a possible constructive way to make more money.
Finally, we thought it might be good idea to give you some statistics if you’re still unsure about the need for our reputation management in Albuquerque services. Here’s a few very good reasons why you need to make sure your online brand is nurtured and looked after.
- Quite often the old and the new mix together when you’re talking about the reputation of an online business. That means customer reviews are still important. In fact, 85% of people recently polled said that they read these online reviews to decide which companies to buy from.
- There is more evidence that looking after your credibility on the Internet is an important part of being successful. Consider the fact that 37% of your potential clients are searching for the goods and services they want to buy on the Internet monthly. That’s a lot of traffic and a big gap if you don’t have some plans to protect all of your branding efforts.
Finally, consider this all important industry statistic. A full 65% of the people polled in that same research reported by Business2Community.com, say they are more than likely to buy products and services from a company that has good online reviews.
One of the other areas where we can help you defend your brand is with consistency. Quite often busy entrepreneurs and managers don’t have time to put together the social media posts and other content they need to make these tools work properly.
Why not get in touch with us today so we can show you all the different ways that we have to keep your online brand safe and sound while you go about the important business of making money? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 505-247-0652. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.