Practical Ways to Combat Potential Negative Publicity

January 14th, 2010 by Janna Vastola

I am super excited! After weeks and weeks of searching, I finally found the red, snakeskin platform pumps I have been looking for! Of course, before I make the purchase (and part with that amount of money for a pair of shoes), the first thing I do is Google them and look at customer reviews to see what other users have to say…”Worst shoes ever bought”…”Heel broke after one wear”…”Leather stretched”…”Strap punctured”.  Shockingly, they are all negative!

WOW! This company truly needs some online reputation management. Online reputation management is simply the process of monitoring a brand online, dealing with anything negative and understanding how to be pro-active to prevent negative content. The tactics are mostly used by companies to pro-actively protect their reputation from damaging content found online, unfortunately some companies use online reputation management to reactively “fix” the damage that is already done.

Reputation management is more important than ever in how your company is positively or negatively perceived. Think about the popularity of search engines, emerging social media and blogging. These things make it easier than ever for the public to voice their opinions – good or bad – to a very large group of people.

So, how can you maintain control of your online presence? Here are 4 ways:

1. Create new pages to rank higher

In other words, create positive content to replace negative content. This will help push any negative content further down.

2. Create pages on other sites

Set up a lens on Squidoo and send some links back to it. Start a blog on wordpress.com or blogger.com. Keep up with posts, add some links and watch it climb. Set up social networking profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In or My Space.

3. Respond to the issue if a blog or forum post

One day, someone is going to find the page so why not respond. If the person is genuinely upset, don’t get defensive, just apologize and try to resolve the issue. If the post is false, contact the site, even though there is no guarantee it will be removed.

4. Encourage happy customers to post positive reviews.

It is not as motivating to make a happy customer leave a review, as it is an irate customer. Make it easy for them to share their experience. Offer a link to a review site in e-mails to your customers, and perhaps even some sort of incentive.

The above four ways are a great start to managing your online presence. There is always something that can be done to work on this. Take the time to find where your company is mentioned or listed, and be sure to check back every so often. Reputation management isn’t a one-time thing, it’s an ongoing process!