Nearly everyone today is using the internet to search for products and services, company reviews, or just sharing information on social media platforms. That information stays visible and shows up in searches, so it’s important to manage your online reputation. Otherwise, a single negative comment may be doing more damage than multiple good ones, even months or years later. Here are five secrets for building up a reputation that will survive in the long run.
1. Invite User Feedback
Positive feedback will help build trust. Most users have greater confidence in personal reviews than any kind of advertising. The more reviews you can get, the better, if the vast majority are favorable. Even very negative reviews can help your reputation if you’re quick to act and set things right. Just be helpful and sympathetic, including on your blog and social posts. Most blog platforms allow you to moderate or even edit comments but tread with caution. Audiences will be less likely to trust your brand if there are no reviews to be found anywhere, or very few.
2. Remain Professional
It can be awfully tempting to respond in anger when users leave comments that you consider unfair or false. It’s important to stop and remind yourself how important your brand reputation is. Instead of firing off an angry response or harsh criticism of your own, think about ways to defuse the situation. Don’t create an enemy by escalating tension. Accept responsibility. Ask for details if you’re unfairly accused. Offer to make amends, and assure them it won’t happen again. That’s the kind of response others want to see.
3. Better Business Bureau
The BBB has been in operation since 1912 promoting market trust. They currently provide free reviews and ratings for over 4 million businesses across the US and Canada. These ratings are based on complaints, time in business, government actions, and other factors for a score of 0 to 100, translating to a grade of F to A+.
For example, direct marketing company ACN has been in business for 24 years and achieved an A+ rating. The BBB is very well known and is one of the most frequently used sources for consumers looking to verify a company’s trustworthiness. Establishing and maintaining a good rating with the BBB is an important factor in business credibility.
4. Google Alerts
This is a great service provided by the world’s top search engine. Go to the Alerts page and enter a list of relevant search phrases you wish to keep track of. Inputting your brand name and top keywords will generate an email alert every time those search words are used. You can set how often you’d like to be notified and the email address you’d like the alerts sent to.
5. Support a Cause
If you want to get in the good graces of the public, associate your brand with a worthy cause. This could be medical research, environmental protection, support for local farmers, or whatever social mission people will identify with and appreciate.
Choose wisely; it should be something you truly believe in and will stick with for the long haul. But you’ll automatically have the approval of any sympathetic audiences while showing yourself to be a responsible company that gives back to the public. It can be a great way to grow your brand and feel good about yourself.
Great reputations can take years to build but be ruined overnight. It’s important to be professional and show integrity. Even if something does go terribly wrong, a brand that takes responsibility and makes amends can still recover.