Imagine Olivia Pope walking into a room, rendering a group of Washington, DC power players powerless. She negotiates with the episode’s villain, manages an important politician’s crisis (whatever it is), and leaves with a girl boss monologue. This fictitious power broker, after all, knows how to maintain a reputation.

In real life, reputation management may not be as glamorous or scandalous as the techniques of Kerry Washington’s character in the Shonda Rhimes-run TV Show Scandal. But the show and reality share a universal truth: reputation makes or breaks.

Reputation management’s primary purpose has always been to make a person, company or brand look good in the eyes of their audience, followers, and market. In the age of the internet, however, the game has expanded. When you’re managing your brand reputation online, SEO consultants, like SEO Werkz in Salt Lake City, remind that there are more factors to consider, including external ads, competitors, and even trolls. If you’re a small business looking to make it big, you will benefit from professional online reputation management (ORM) services.

A Guide to Online Reputation Management

ORM isn’t limited to monitoring social media activities or public relations. It’s a bigger picture than that as your brand’s online image can negatively or positively impact your bottom line.

One aspect of ORM is transparency and openness to feedback – as well as proactiveness in addressing the issue, not ignoring it. For instance, if an unsatisfied customer tweets something negative about your service or product, be quick to ask how you can remedy their dissatisfaction. Be open to the criticism and address it immediately, professionally, and publicly.

Apart from collecting content from your social media platforms, you should be mindful of reviews that appear on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Consider monitoring review sites, such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, to see what customers say about you outside of social networking sites. If potential customers see negative reviews on these sites, it may hurt your profits.

What should you do, then? Reach out to the customer and ask for details about their experience. Find out if there’s something you can do to compensate for any inconvenience. After the conversation, you can make a follow-up. If the customer is happy this time, they might take back the negative review and replace it with a positive one.

Online Reputation Management Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

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  1. Burying Negative Reviews – One of the most common mistakes in ORM is concealing negative reviews and retaining positive ones. This could appear fishy, and customers may get the impression that it is the company creating the positive reviews. Showing all the reviews sends the message that your company has nothing to hide – especially if you’ve answered all the negative concerns publicly. Apart from shedding good light to positive feedback, criticisms can make your company look more authentic and set realistic expectations on the part of the customer.
  2. Occasional Posts – Inconsistency may also ruin your entire ORM strategy. If your social media posts are rare, your followers may start clicking the unfollow button. But, it doesn’t mean that you should bombard your audience with content (your customers don’t want you monopolizing their newsfeed). Instead, schedule a routine and regularly interact with your audience.
  3. Poor Content – Another mistake is publishing poor content. Although providing your followers with regular content is important, relevant pieces are more valuable to your readers than just random bits. Not only does this establishes your credibility, but it also helps your web pages rank higher.

Online reputation management isn’t only about protecting your brand’s image but establishing customer relationships online, as well. Essentially, you’re monitoring online feedback and engaging with customers to improve your service, which is significant, especially if you’re running a small company.