If a powerful blog or forum ranks on the first page of the search engines for your brand, you are at risk. This means that essentially anyone who wishes could post on that blog or forum can have a negative impact on your brand when people perform due diligence on you.
A negative post, true or not, can shut down your sales lead funnel, even when the negative post is not by someone who may have been a customer, or a prospect, or even had any dealings with your business. This is where online reputation management (ORM) is key.
What issues should you plan for?
- For a strong reputation management program we recommend you cover these broad issues in your plan:
- How to monitor public attitudes to your business sector
- How to monitor search engine results pages
- How to monitor back-link profiles for problem sites
- How to monitor your brand and product names
- Set out clear pro-active engagement practices for social media
- How to repair your website SEO issues
- Think about creating micro-sites, social media profiles and blogs
- Consider inserting paid content at strategic locations
How long does it take to deal with a negative comment online?
There are several tactics that we can deploy to dislodge the negative comments from the home page of the search engines. This can be down very quickly and effectively over a 3-4 week period. However, if the comment is on a highly ranked blog or forum, or a .gov website, then it can take much longer. We recommend that you try to deal with the issue at the source for this listings.
A polite phone call
We have had negative posts that ranked highly for client sites removed with a simple phone call or a well considered email in as little as two weeks. In some cases, the post remained, but the content edited to be factually correct and less ‘angry’.
Prevention is better than cure
It may pay to get involved in the community where the negative posts are occuring and contribute to the community in a positive way. Seek to find affiliates within the community and help them with problems. This is exceedingly difficult when emotions (or egos) are strong. Once you have a strong reputation in that community, negative posts tend to simply vanish.
Here’s a typical ORM project approach
Survey your current customer satisfaction levels
Set up ORM tools to monitor key online sources
Review your knowledge bank and assets that may be made publicly available
Identify your resources for supporting ORM
Research and understand the risks of disatisfied customers and consumer-created media
Register domain names that are at risk of becoming negative sites
Register social media profiles for your company name, key personnel and brands
Research who might be using client trademarks on usernames and blogs and take appropriate action
Review the websites causing the problems for backlinks and take action
Begin a direct contact strategy for negative posts
Begin an outreach strategy
Share your content (e.g. slideshows, photographs, whitepapers) on microsites or other aggregators