Reputation management is incredibly complex, but it is something you absolutely have to engage in. It is recommended to do this with the help of professional online reputation management consultants, however, who are true experts in the field. They will start by finding out the baseline, your current situation, and go from there.
What Are People Saying?
Review sites, social media, forums, and blogs, are the go to places if you want to know what people are saying about you. All you really need to do is enter your name in those sites, and see what comes up. If much of that is a complaint, then you may have a problem. Do also type your brand name in Google and look what comes up first: your website, or a review site. After all, what you see is what anyone researching you will see as well. Do also read what comes up, so you know not just how much is being said and whether it is positive or negative, but also what is being said.
What Do You Want from Your Reputation?
You cannot answer this question in a generalized way. Simply saying you want to have a better reputation online isn’t specific enough. You have to think about a plan of attack to actually address very specific actions. Some examples include:
- Stopping people from speaking negatively about you on a certain forum.
- Stopping people from posting untrue reviews.
- Encouraging people to leave more positive reviews.
It is likely that you have multiple goals, which is fine. Divide those into short- and long-term goals. That makes them more achievable, particularly since completing the short term goals should affect the long term ones as well.
Do You Need an Audit?
Businesses have to be frugal and hiring a professional company to perform an audit and improve your reputation may seem like a waste. It’s not however. They can audit your business and tell you:
- What your average overall rating is.
- How many positive results Google will present searchers with.
- How many like you have on Facebook.
- How many complaints you receive.
- What your Klout score is.
What a professional company will do for you, once they know the problem and your objectives, is true damage control. This does not, however, mean negative reviews will be reviewed. That can be a strategy, so long as the posts are on a site that you own, but it is not a good one, because it will make people feel like they are being censored, and they will then only take their grievances to a different site, where they will be harder for you to find. In fact, it is far better to leave negative reviews in place and to deal with them properly: by resolving the issue that your customer is raising as much as possible. Be polite, be honest, apologize for any inconvenience, and stay in control of the conversation by leaving it on your website.