REPUTATION MANAGEMENT AT SACHS MARKETING GROUP
The blessing (and curse) of the Internet is the open forum that allows people to say whatever they want, whenever they want, without fear of repercussion. There is no control over what anyone said in the past, or what they may say in the future.
Online reputation management (ORM) is vital for businesses – both online and brick-and-mortar. Nothing that's said on the internet ever truly goes away, but online reputation management involves addressing the negative comments with positive press to counteract it.
That positive press must be well-optimized to have a chance at ranking. The idea is that by situating all positive content in the top 10 results – all the results on the first page of the Google search results – you can get rid of the harmful negativity. This works on the basis that causal searchers will not go beyond page one of the results. A 2013 study revealed approximately 92% of all traffic from an average search goes to results on the first page, and once moving to page two, the traffic drops by 95%.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM ORM?
Honestly – everyone with a business stands to benefit from having a team of people keeping track of what's being said about their business, but much of the time, it's businesses that have fallen victim to bad press that get the most benefit. If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then it could be the answer you're looking for.
- Has something happened in your business that makes you look bad in the search engines?
- Is business suffering because of what people are saying about your company?
- Have you taken steps to improve the negative things people are talking about? Think about the damage companies suffer as a result of product recalls. They have to do a lot of work to rebuild trust and credibility – ORM is part of that work. Only seek to fix your online reputation if you are confident you won't end up in the same boat in a few months.
That said, it's never a bad idea to have a plan of action in place should your business get caught off-guard by a storm of negative press. Even if you don't actively have a need for mitigating bad press right now, we can help create a plan of action so that if something goes awry you know what to do to keep the situation from getting any worse. Every marketing strategy should include some form of reputation management.
SHOULD REPUTATION MANAGEMENT HIDE NEGATIVE REVIEWS?
ORM should never seek to hide negative reviews. The fact is, everyone knows that no business will be able to keep all of their customers happy all of the time. If there aren't any negative reviews at all, potential customers are more likely to disbelieve the honest reviews that are there.
Did you know 86% of customers say their loyalty is driven by likability, and 83% of customers say it's driven by trust? And 60% of U.S. customers have not completed an intended purchase because of poor customer service? This alone causes an estimated $83 million loss for retailers every year. Perhaps even more shocking, it takes 12 positive customer experiences to negate the bad impression customers get from a single, unresolved, bad experience.
Instead of seeking to hide negative reviews completely, embrace them. Respond to each of them, as soon as you possibly can after they are live online. Politely apologize for the experience and invite the reviewer to take the conversation to email so you can rectify the situation. This lets other perspective customers see that you're paying attention to what people have to say, willing to own up to mistakes, and going the extra mile to keep your customers happy.
ETHICS IN REPUTATION MANAGEMENT
The question of ethics comes up quite often in ORM. When is it right to accept a client? What kinds of situations are not okay to accept? There are certain situations, such as when someone has committed serious crimes, where it's perfectly fine to decline an ORM client. When we choose who to work with, we consider who they are, what the situation they're trying to recover from is, and whether or not working to change the reputation from negative to positive will cause other people to suffer.
When we determine a project is ethical and we'll accept it, we also use an ethical approach to get the job done. We don't believe in using spam or black hat SEO tactics, or other aggressive methods to manipulate the search engine results. That means our campaigns are executed gradually, so the results take time… and thus are more likely to stick over the long-term. We won't create fake online reviews, trash the competition, or release false claims or sales numbers.
WHAT GOES INTO MANAGING YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION
- Conducting a brand reputation audit so we understand its current standing and can get an idea of what it will take to improve the reputation
- Crafting a strategy involving the creation of brand assets meant to engage the target audience positively
- Creating high-quality content to assist the brand in establishing credibility and thought leadership
- Using case studies, client success stories, and other forms of social proof to highlight a brand
- Establishing baseline factual information to counteract the negative propaganda
- Social listening to determine what's being said about the brand
Once your reputation has been restored, we can continually manage it to keep it good standing, should you choose.
Could your business benefit from an extra set of eyes keep track of the buzz about your business? Want to learn more about how our online reputation management services can help you? Get in touch today.
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock