Small Business Services

Protect Your Brand: Reputation Management

The internet has made it easier for businesses and individuals to do so many more things with speed and ease, like brand-building. Sales and promotions. Customer relationship management. Information-sharing.

And reputation damage.

You know how your opinion of a product or service is tarnished when you read a negative review. Maybe you weigh it against all of the positive comments and wonder if the writer was just doing something wrong, or had an ax to grind.

Or maybe you move on to a competitors’ site.

You know that it’s impossible to know absolutely everything that people are saying about you online. And when you do find something on Yelp or a complaints page or even on your own websites, it can be difficult-to-impossible to neutralize.

The bigger your company, the more of a problem this can be. On the other hand, you probably have more employees that you can enlist in your efforts to scour the web for negative verbiage.

The Wild, Wild Web

The origins of this quote are not absolutely clear, but the sentiment has been expressed by numerous writers who died long before Google took its first steps:

A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

There’s a scene in a movie from the ’70s where a young woman has just read something about herself in the newspaper that will be devastating to her personally. She slips out of her house in the bathrobe and quietly walks down the street, picking up the papers that have been left on her neighbors’ doorsteps.

A futile effort, certainly. But that’s how it can feel when you know your good name has been besmirched. So whether you have one employee or one hundred, reputation-management is a task that must be carried out on a regular basis.

Be Proactive

There’s really only one thing you can do to try to at least keep unpleasant comments from surfacing very often: Control what you can control, which is your company’s own online content. Make your website and blogs and social media pages as helpful and positive and fresh as you can. Practice good SEO, so that your own content shows up higher in searches than sites that may have a smattering of snark.

And make a habit of trolling for trolls, so you are at least aware of potentially damaging truths or untruths:

  • Search for your name – and misspellings of it – daily, both in a search engine and on social media sites.
  • Add the words “complaints” and “reviews” sometimes.
  • Set up Google Alerts.
  • Don’t let a day go by that someone on your staff hasn’t read every comment on every page that your company hosts.
  • Check out Yelp and other major review sites regularly.

Finally, if you’ve had damaging feedback in the past or you don’t have time for all of this activity or you simply want to do everything possible to protect your image online, you can hire one of the many reputation-management services available.

But read their reviews first.

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