While there are different kinds of crisis your blog could experience, one of the most damaging crisis your blog can suffer is to have its reputation damaged; whether directly or indirectly, very few companies really survive a severe reputation hit, yet most businesses pay little attention to their reputation.
Also, in this age when everything is a search away, it only takes a blogger with some clout to do some major damage to your brand; funny enough, even after years and the mistakes you made have been fixed, most of these blog posts won’t disappear.
Here are a few ways to manage your reputation, even if you don’t have the budget to form a reputation management team or hire an agency.
1. Prevention is the Best Medicine
If your business or startup hasn’t experienced any major reputation crisis, you still have a long way to go. Instead of scampering for a solution when the problem has already started, you can still take major steps to protect your reputation.
Even if you’re suffering from some reputation problems, the last thing you want is to have things compound over time; even little mistakes can cost you your brand.
For example, as long as your Twitter or Facebook account is in some way linked to your company, even the smallest mistake can come back to haunt you. Before you share anything on social media, ask yourself if everything will still be okay if all your customers suddenly wake up and find what you shared in front of them.
2. Invest in Your Customers
What is the most powerful form of marketing you can invest in?
It’s easier to be tempted to think it’s customer marketing, social media marketing, guest blogging or some other major form of marketing everyone else is talking about. However, it’s not; the best form of marketing is customer marketing.
“Customer marketing is a strategy used to capitalize on opportunities by increasing the profitability of each client.” - Wisegeek
Ultimately, every form of marketing you invest in is aimed at bringing in new customers and it doesn’t matter if you can’t retain them. However, what if you can take your marketing to the next level and make your customers your marketers?
Not only will they help your business grow by raving about you, they’ll also tell their friends and everybody they know that you’re reliable and can be trusted; nothing beats your customers coming out to stand for you and defend you when you’re in a crisis.
3. Have a Blog and Make it Known
The same thing goes for social media accounts. Don’t ignore having a blog and don’t just have a blog and ignore it. Make sure your blog and social media accounts are a core part of your website and ensure that your customers and the public know about your blog and social profiles.
This way, even if a reputation crisis happens in the future you can easily defend yourself and let people see your own side of the story; when there’s no effective way to communicate your story with the public and you can’t tell people about it, they’ll start assuming whatever they can based on what they hear. If you can logically defend yourself by presenting all the facts, though, and you have a good reputation for being reliable and trustworthy, things won’t get out of control.
4. Be as Fast as You Can
In the online world, speed matters a lot. Things can happen in minutes and sometimes, it only takes a day to seal the fate of your brand.
While you have to take active measures to protect your brand, you have to do it fast, real fast; set up social media and search engine alerts for your brand keywords and other relevant keywords and ensure you’re always responsive when your brand is mentioned.
When people say nice things about you, thank them and do it real fast. When people say bad things about your brand, be there to address their concerns as soon as you can; not only will this make customers more loyal to you, it’ll also demonstrate to the public that you take your customers and your brand really seriously.
5. Monitor and Control Your Search Engine Rankings
Make sure you’re constantly monitoring your rankings to ensure that the negative reviews don’t outrank your website. Be active online by writing guest posts for other blogs, by accepting interview requests and by constantly promoting them to ensure they’re in the limelight.
Here are 2 tools that can help you keep track of your online reputation:
Google Alerts is a tool designed to help you keep track of mentions of your name and keywords in any source indexed by Google. You can configure it to notify you anytime there’s an update, every day or every week.
Google Alerts is free to use.
Mention is another tool that can be used to keep track of your mentions online; it’s much more valuable than Google Alerts because it keeps tracks of what is being said on social media, on blogs and other sources.
They have a free and paid plan depending on your needs.
Joseph is a reputation expert that helps you realize how hiring a reputation management company to repair your online reputation can protect your brand and take your business to the next level.
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Category: Startup Advice