To react too late, or not at all, to what is being said, written about, or downvoted when it comes to your business could be fateful for the rest of your business’s lifespan.
In some cases, dealing with online reputation poorly has been the trigger for more and better PR.
In most cases, however, it has been the downfall of brands. Some of which never recover.
In this post, we highlight everything you need to know about online reputation management so you can start managing it in your own business.
This no doubt stemmed from news reports citing 38% of Americans believed coronavirus was caused by Corona beer.

Why is online reputation management important?

The benefits of online reputation management can be broken down into four main areas:

  • Credibility – When positive reviews are made (and when negative reviews don’t exist), you create positive links directly or indirectly with your brand. The more visibility you have online makes you credible in the eyes of customers, stakeholders, employees, influencers, and peers.
  • Trust – With credibility comes trust. When people trust a company, brand, or person, they are more likely to buy from them or make a recommendation.
  • Profit – Especially in eCommerce, companies with higher star-ratings, reviews, and positive content and PR get more business.
  • Talent – Often overlooked, when you are hiring for new positions, brands with a positive reputation attract better employees.

These four pillars of online reputation should be enough to get you to consider investing into managing your online reputation.

If you don’t have the resource to do this yourself, you might need to find an online reputation manager.

You can share your content, share snippets from your content (and check out this guide to repurposing content), or share thoughts and insights about your industry.

Social media management tools

If you’re new to the world of social media, check out this list of tools to get your social media management started:
  1. Social Pilot: Worth checking out its free trial immediately. You can schedule posts for pretty much every platform and get instant analytics once a post goes live. You can reply to multiple Facebook posts from the dashboard
  2. Buffer: One of the leaders in social media management with a simple UX. Great for Twitter and Facebook, but the LinkedIn experience is a tad clunky. If GIFs and @ mentions on LinkedIn are your thing, this is not for you.
  3. Hootsuite: Built for creating social media calendars and campaigns as well as simple posting. You can even work on social posts together.
  4. Sprout Social: Doubles as a social listening tool so you can grab inspiration for your next social campaign from your competitors and clients.
  5. Sendible: Accredited partner of Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. If your business revolves around these three platforms, check it out.
  6. CoSchedule: Combine your blog calendar, workflows, and social media queues with this one. If you’re looking for an all-in-one marketing calendar, look no further.
  7. Agora Pulse: Made for those who like flexibility with their posts. Schedule, reschedule, queue, or bulk upload your posts,
  8. eClincher: Includes a post scheduler, social inbox, content management, monitoring, analytics, and a unique visual calendar.
  9. MavSocial: For managing, scheduling, and posting, with a focus on automation so you spend less time crafting posts.
  10. Crowdfire: Inspires your social media schedule by discovering relevant content based on your topics of interest.
These could be positive or negative but are both worth keeping an eye out for.

Positive social media mentions

When someone mentions your brands in a positive light, you can retweet, like, or share their post. This provides you with more social media activity which keeps up your appearance of being active on social media. Being active on social media keeps you top of mind when passive social scrollers are flicking through their timelines and news feeds.
Positive mention social media
It also gives your audience more content to consume about your brand. After all, if they’re following you, they likely want to hear about you.
There is no downside to sharing positive content and posts that someone else has created about your brand.

Negative social media mentions

The more important side to tracking social media mentions is when someone references your brand in a bad light.

Whether the information is right or wrong, the fact that an article has been written or social media post has been shared is a flag for you (or your online reputation manager) to take action.

Negative social media mention

Negative social media mentions from individuals

Here’s how to respond to negative social media mentions from individuals:

  1. If an individual has a problem or technical issue, let them know you’re resolving the problem (and then resolve it). Communication is the most vital part of the process here – even more important than resolving the problem.
  2. If there is no actual problem to resolve but a customer has had a bad experience, apologise for the bad experience and ask what you can do to remedy the situation.
  3. When appropriate (and you have the ability to), offer compensation in the form of a freebie, credit, or cash depending on your product.

Negative social media mentions from brands

If you are mentioned (or are alerted of a mention) in a negative post from another brand, chart a different course of action.

Firstly, if it’s a competitor or news outlet, find out if anybody in your business holds a relationship with the author or brand. If they do, you can ask for help deleting or neutralising the post.
If there is no relationship, like a new competitor or a news outlet from outside your industry, you should contact the editor or content marketing manager.
For news outlets, you can usually find the editor by checking the Contacts Us or About Us sections.
Send a polite email asking to correct the incorrect information or asking if you could remove the content if it could be detrimental to your online reputation.
For any other blog, like a competitor or personal blog, there will unlikely be a Contact Us section specific to the blog. In this scenario, try Twitter or LinkedIn to find the personal profile of the author, author’s manager, or someone high-ranking within the marketing team.
Again, send a polite email or direct message asking to correct the incorrect information or asking if you could remove the content if it could be detrimental to your online reputation.
This email/message exchange often starts a new relationship between the companies. Previously, we’ve seen examples of brands being mentioned in a bad light turn into guest post exchanges and co-marketing partnerships.
Google only removes content that conflicts with its terms of service. These include:
  1. Nudity
  2. Pornography
  3. Exploitation
  4. Medical, financial, or national identification information
  5. Copyright violation
If your negative mention does include any of these or falls outside these terms of service but Google may consider irrelevant, outdated or otherwise inappropriate, you can try completing this Personal Information Removal Request Form.
Your options for removing content from Google include:
  • Remove results directly from Google
  • Remove the content completely via legal actions
  • Development and optimization of own branded content to rank higher than the negative content

If Google doesn’t deem your claim to strong enough to remove the content from Google, you must decide whether the content is damaging enough to warrant taking legal action. Here, it’s advisable to consult your legal team rather than your marketing team.

If the content doesn’t warrant legal action, the next best thing to do is to create content that outranks the negative content.

It’s easier said than done sometimes but taking the time to craft a better and more informative blog post that appears ahead of the negative post on Google is the best option.

While you won’t remove the post, you’ll likely pick up more of the traffic for those search terms finding the negative content.

These are just some examples of activities an online reputation manager can expect to undertake. As you add online reputation management to your daily/weekly/monthly task list, you’ll discover your own niche activities that become most important.