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June 10, 2014

How to Build an Effective Company Reputation Online

In an extract from A Guide to Building Your Company Reputation Online, Simon explores how businesses can build an effective online reputation.

Aside from removing or suppressing any negative content or dealing with defamatory comments – which by no means should be ignored – there are many strategies you can put into place to achieve positive content online. This will help enhance your company’s digital profile, attract visitors to your company’s website, and leave them with a positive brand perception.

Take control of your online profile by creating a strong portfolio of digital resources – corporate websites, online brochures, blogs, and social media profiles for platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Ensure these are regularly refreshed with unique and relevant content: publish articles about your company on other industry blogs, circulate news releases to the media, and take advantage of social media to launch products online.

A Guide to Building Your Company Reputation Online by IgniyteMake the Most of Your Resources

Managing your company’s online presence is vital if you are to maintain a positive profile for your business. Select keywords and phrases for your business carefully – these are the words or phrases that someone would type into Google when looking for the type of service you offer, or indeed for your business directly. By including key phrases in the articles you publish online your company will be more visible in the search engines. Articles should be written in a ‘natural’ way, not teeming with keywords.

Social media is a really useful and cost effective tool for organisations looking to promote themselves online. Potentially you can reach a much larger audience than through more traditional methods. It is also a great communication tool. You can keep customers informed daily with details of new products, launches and offers. You can respond to customer enquiries directly, and importantly, you can make them aware you are dealing with an issue – should one arise.

Monitor Sentiment Online

It is important to track what customers, potential customers, journalists, competitors and others interested in your business, are saying about you online. Setting up Google Alerts is one way to do this, but also by ’social listening’ – paying attention to what is said on social media networks, and industry forums too.

Monitoring social media networks and any related blogs is especially important for companies who deal with customers online. Being aware of mentions of your business across the Internet will help you to identify what your customers are saying, when they are communicating, and the channels they are using to do so.

You will gain an understanding of how your product or service is perceived in the marketplace and whether you need to take steps to improve its positioning. Consumer-facing companies should proactively manage reviews and ensure they deal with reoccurring issues that customers are commenting on.

Establish a Social Media Response Strategy

Social media is evolving as we speak – not only is it being used by companies to promote brands and sell goods worldwide, it is also being used by customers to express themselves. The Reputation Report suggests that one in ten companies have been affected by social media posts. A social media customer service response strategy is important to implement if you want to keep your clientele happy – at all times. Encourage customers to come directly to you with any issues, rather than setting up an independent online community. Rather than trying to remove negative comments from the Internet, a better approach would be to resolve the problem, and inspire the customer to contribute something positive.

Executive Reputation Management

Chief executive officers, directors and senior employees are central to helping an organisation promote itself online. Their Internet profiles can be a key factor in helping win new business and increase revenue.

Individuals who actively promote themselves as experts in their field can help to build on a company’s reputation. If you are fortunate to have a member of staff who is also an industry leader, utilise their skills and networks to promote your business to a wider audience.

Encourage senior executives to create professional profiles, which will enhance the company’s digital assets. Although the European Court of Justice ruling – The Right to be Forgotten – applies to individuals and not companies or brands, it is worth considering this directive if your company is facing online allegations against one of your senior executives.

Employer Branding

Employees are potentially a company’s biggest advocates. In a survey by Weber Shandwick Asia Pacific, of 2,300 employees worldwide, more than half of the respondents have “defended their employer to family and friends or in a more public venue – such as on a website, blog, or in a newspaper.” On the other hand, employees have the potential to destroy a company’s reputation. Be aware of what your staff are posting online. Produce a social media guideline document and circulate this internally. Reprimand employees who openly post disparaging messages, and be vigilant to any inappropriate staff behaviour, as this may inadvertently lead to poor online reputation by association.

Control Your Page One Results

Take control of your page one as it accounts for around 90% of traffic for a search term of your company name. Having your own digital assets populating page one for your company’s keywords and phrases, means traffic is more likely to come your way. It also reduces the likelihood of any unwanted material or comments from ranking.

Extracted from A Guide to Building Your Company Reputation Online. For more articles like this download a copy of the guide for free from Igniyte’s website here.

If you are facing an issue online or would like to discuss managing your reputation on the Internet contact Simon Wadsworth for a confidential chat.

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