How to improve your online reputation with free tools
The Internet can be one huge gossip website, and companies are seeing the need to spend more and more time managing their online reputation. So, how do you improve online reputation and suppress the bad reviews, if any, that appear online when your company name is searched in Google.
Table of Contents
- 1 Online reputation management
- 2 Improve Online Reputation
- 3 Top 5 Tips to Improve Online Reputation
- 3.1 1. Fresh, Unique Content
- 3.2 2. Landing Pages
- 3.3 3. Social Media
- 3.4 4. Local Search
- 3.5 5. Monitor your Online Reputation
Online reputation management
When your company name is searched in Google, it is best to have your company website, social media listings, press releases, etc. show up on the first page, rather than complaints or negative reviews. There are various rating websites (one in particular rhymes with “help”) but many consumers do not know that to get more favorable results displayed at the top of a company local listing, companies often find the need to pay for advertising, or risk having their positive reviews buried.
These sites post comments that are heavily shifted based on fake reviews often posted by a competitor, disgruntled employee, or a very bitter or angry customer. It is best not to make your buying decisions based on what you read online, but many consumers do not know this and are influenced by biased reviews that they read. Online management of a reputation is important and your brand will benefit from a positive online reputation. But how does a small business owner achieve this? Can you automate it? Can you streamline the process? Absolutely.
Improve Online Reputation
The first step in effectively managing your social media, local and search presence is to connect with your current customers. This is a valuable opportunity that many business owners over look. By connecting with your current customers, you cross reach not only existing customers but new ones as well. Take advantage of every resource to talk about your company. A company talking about itself is advertising, so you want to be sure that your audience is maximized.
To improve your reputation online, get your voice on search engines. The best practices are not about doctoring the facts, but representing a fair and neutral impression of your company.
Top 5 Tips to Improve Online Reputation
1. Fresh, Unique Content
Fresh relevant articles are important to create often about your company. Write press releases that include relevant content about your company and if something happened recently that caused negative reviews, write about it. Explain what happened and what the company is doing to improve.
2. Landing Pages
Create landing pages that are customized with images, contact information, hours and reviews. By creating landing pages, you are increasing visibility on local search. Keep in mind that you will increase your chances of these type of pages showing up in Google if these landing pages are hosted on a website that is maintained by a company that is reputable in your industry and has a large following.
Create a dynamic social media presence. Read what is being said about your company on Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook. Respond directly to social media comments from within your social media company account.
4. Local Search
Increase visibility of your business listings for increased local search visibility. By maintaining your company listings on various local search engines, you are increasing the weight of your business in local search results and building referrals. Key information about your company should be relevant and accurate. The easiest way to do this is to increase visibility of reviews by your most loyal customers. Add an extension or plug-in to your website that offer visitors the ability to easily add reviews about your company.
5. Monitor your Online Reputation
See how you stack up online against your competition. Sign up alerts for your company and your competition on Google alerts so you will be notified any time articles are posted that mention your company or your competitors.
Best Tools for Online Reputation Management
Google offers a tool called “Me on the Web” and it is included on your Google dashboard. It is located in between account information and analytics. Your online reputation is determined by what other people post about you—whether it be a mention in an article or press release, or social media status update or tweet.
A recent new tool that is gaining traction among small business owners is “If this then that”. IFTTT.com is based on an old programming staple. On the site, you create “rules,” which are made just like their namesake implies:
- You create a rule (called a “recipe”)
- IF that rule occurs THEN your desired action occurs. For example, there are recipes that IFTTT.com will recommend, and you can easily use them. The concept is similar to using a template for your web design project. One that is helpful is to “Tag an Instagram photo #SXSW and send it straight to Twitter.” This free tool is a real time saver and will help you increase exposure for your brand as well as control your online reputation.
Complaint Sites and Online Reputation
We are all familiar with complaint sites. I am not a big fan of them because many people abuse them and use them to extort a certain response from business owners who are held at bay by these sites, so I will not mention them by name and give them any free publicity. But how does a business owner find out if there are any complaints written online about their company? GoFishDigital is a free tool allows you to search multiple complaint sites with one click.
Many small businesses are not aware that there are over 550 different social media sites exist and it is good practice to represent your brand on many of them, rather than just focus on the big 4-5 social media giants. It could be a big problem, for example, if someone is representing your company on one of these social media sites, big or small, and you should know about it. But who has time to search all of these sites? A free tool that addresses this problem is KnowEm.com. It has a free checker to see if your desired name has been taken on more than 550 different types of social sites. KnowEm also has some great rates on registering the names for you and setting up profiles with your information populated in the main fields.
Your Company Online Reputation
By keeping tabs on your company’s reputation, you are better able to effectively control what your business looks like online. In closing, manage your company’s online reputation. In doing so, you minimize chances of your company’s reputation being dictated by inaccurate, misleading or negative information.
Therefore, monitoring your online reputation is an ongoing effort. There will always be more online review sites that you need to monitor. These tools and strategies can make it easier by automating your efforts.