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Reputation Management: 10 Things You Can Do To Repair Your Online Reputation

2012 May 22

Reputation Management And Your First Impression

Who says you never get a second chance to make a first impression? Indeed, you may have a second chance, especially if that first chance was taken from you. In this world where your reputation is everything and your name is far more than mere label, reputation management is a business necessity.

Internet media is complicated. Now we are all exemplary publishers and we the people build and extend the Internet a little bit more every day! Not only can anybody contribute; but, there are no rules regulating what is said, in which venue and how close any of it is to truth.

Who’s to stop a vindictive person from anonymously complaining online where everybody can see it? Often, by anonymous, it’s true that many of these complainers hide behind a shroud because they cannot withstand the slightest scrutiny. Did you ever know somebody who complains every chance they get? Far from a majority, it only takes one acerbic comment to destroy a beautifully constructed reputation. One bad review from one disgruntled or obnoxious trouble maker and years of carefully crafted integrity can come tumbling down.

How Can You Repair Online Reputation?

So, what can you do to put Humpty Dumpty back together again? Can you really repair a damaged online reputation? Yes, you can repair online reputations. Is it as simple as removing negative online reviews?

Sadly, no. For the most part, bad reviews are probably carved in Internet stone. But, one bad apple is no reason to throw out the whole bushel.

Ten Effective Reputation Management Practices

  1. Review Sites

    Review sites, also known as citation sites, are essential to successful reputation management. When people see stars on business reviews, it is social proof that your business has very positive fans. Five stars clearly indicate a winner! Three stars leave people thinking average and so-so.

    What do you think when you see a one or two star rating?

    One way to repair an online reputation is to amass as many five star ratings as possible on many different sits.

  2. Blogs

    Blogs continue to be extremely popular communications tools. Whereas, many estimates count as many blogs as United States population, that number is less important than how business benefits from blogs. Whereas, web pages are intended to present static facets of your business, blog posts are quite different. Blogging allows you to present the day-to-day elements of your business, such as events, success stories and milestones.

    Furthermore, your public audience is invited to comment on and interact with your business through your blog. Therefore, blogs become a chronology of the good things about your business and how your public responds to them over time. A continuous stream of great news eventually removes the effect of negative online reviews.

  3. Pictures

    Yes, a picture is worth at least a thousand words! Even Google recognizes images as their own search category. All else equal, people browsing on the Internet are far more likely to look at pictures than read text.

    Don’t you want your audience to see clean images of your company and happy, smiling faces?

    Cleanup your online reputation by positioning a plethora of positive images high in search results. Basic search engine optimization of your images includes:

    • Main keyword in the image filename
    • Main keyword in the HTML alt tag
    • Keywords in the image description
    • Keywords in the image caption
    • Position images on the page in context
  4. Video Testimonials

    Whereas, images are powerful, video is the single most powerful medium on the Internet! So much so, that Google often favors videos over most other online properties in the search results. Have you ever searched and found those remarkable video thumbnails on the 1st search results page?

    We all know that Testimonials are the best marketing promotion you can have, right? Video Testimonials are the most persuasive of all Testimonials. Keep it succinct, to the point and as specific as can be. Then, of course, position your Video Testimonials where they can be easily found and viewed.

    Who will remember that anonymous bad review?

  5. Press Releases

    Tell everybody who is anybody what’s going on with your business. Press releases announce noteworthy events and accomplishments. They are designed to attract news media attention, so they can help you spread the word to a larger audience.

    The fact is, you always want a lot of positive attention for your business. You need even more when you’re recovering from bad reviews. Regular press releases help:

    • Generate traffic to your website
    • Give your company more visibility
    • Build your brand
    • Provide credibility and authority
  6. Nullify Negative Keywords

    It’s a fact: Many Americans start their fact-finding and decision-making on the Internet. That’s good, isn’t it? Isn’t that why you’re on the web to begin with? They search and when they find you, you have a sales opportunity.

    However, when the 1st search results page includes links associating your company with “scam,” “scammers” and bad reviews, many people cannot get past the negativity. Instead, they use the back button and browse elsewhere.

    Your job, then, is to fill that 1st search results page with positive links to your business, whether they be blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook or citations. The point is, if you have only one reference to your business on a search results page, there are many more opportunities for negativity. Bury a bad review with many positive references to you.

  7. Local News

    Your business is part of your local community, isn’t it? How do you participate in your community? Have you contributed to a church group, civic activity or food drive? Do you partner with businesses down the block? Can you help celebrate and appreciate success stories in your neighborhood?

    The local Internet is a great source for local directories, special offers and collaborative opportunities with other local businesses. One of Facebook’s most powerful features facilitates “tagging” other business pages. Celebrate the best of your community online and ask other businesses to do the same. This will demonstrate your positive place in the community.

  8. Thread Authority

    Often times, you can participate in forums to express your authority in your field and build credibility. Find a local forum or one specifically about your industry and look for opportunities to help and provide information. When you see a discussion to which you can add value, forget your sales pitch and simply offer great advice and free information.

    When time is right, start a discussion, again offering great advice and free information. You may also write an article to guest blog on some other blog and get a whole new audience remarking about your credibility and perceived authority.

  9. Facebook

    Whereas, your website is mostly about your company and what you have to say about it, social media is primarily about what others have to say about you. Facebook is king of social media now, its members being the 3rd largest country in the world:

    1. China
    2. India
    3. Facebook
    4. United States

    Properly managing social media is a critical part of building your reputation in the community. Facebook done right is social proof, whether that be a Like, Share or simply interacting on your Wall. When many people are positively interacting with your Facebook page, newcomers start their relationship with you on a very positive note. Positive social media engagement and interaction is a powerful buffer to negative reviews that may be found elsewhere.

  10. LinkedIn

    LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world. Thread authority, mentioned above, is especially applicable here, too. By participating in Groups and LinkedIn Answers, you can quickly increase credibility and be seen as an authority in your field.

    LinkdeIn Recommendations, however, warrant mention here as an extremely powerful tool to present positive Testimonials. Whereas, elsewhere reviews and Testimonials are often veiled in anonymity, LinkedIn Recommendations cannot be anonymous. Furthermore, since LinkdedIn members are exclusively professionals, their Recommendations are imbued with professional credibility.

    Nothing squashes an anonymous bad review like a recommendation from a credible professional!

Reputation Management Is More Than Putting Out Fires

Although, you may not be able to remove bad reviews, certainly there are many ways to distract prospects with glowing references to your company. Truly, it takes a lot of work to build a good name and very little to destroy it!

It’s been said that the best defense is a great offense. The simplest reputation management is to build a wall of glowing reviews before any bad review appears. Short of that, you now see many ways you can repair your online reputation once it’s tarnished.

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