January 8, 2013
As part of Anderson Interactive’s ongoing effort to provide educational and networking resources to the healthcare industry, we invite subject matter experts across healthcare, IT and the revenue cycle to participate on the AI blog with their own article submissions. The following post is a guest blog submission by Kim Willington, a freelance writer and researcher for Helpdesksoftware.org:
How to Manage Your Reputation Online
The first encounter that many people will have with your business will be online. In many cases, the first encounter they have with your business will not be on your company website nor on any of your company’s social media profiles. They may learn about your company from an ad, a review, or even another blog talking about your company.
Unfortunately, not all of these encounters may be positive. While you can’t control everything that everyone says about your company online, you can take steps to manage your reputation online so that your customers have a positive experience with your brand more often than a negative one.
Here are a few tips for how you can manage your reputation online:
Be Careful about What You Post
The easiest way to control how your company is viewed online is to control what you put out there yourself. Every blog post, every status update, every comment, and every interaction you have with a reader, a subscriber, or a customer online can be seen by thousands of other people and can be preserved for posterity somewhere online. You must be sure that everything you write or say is part of a carefully crafted message that is designed to create a brand persona.
Of course, you should avoid discussing inappropriate or controversial topics, like politics or religion (unless your company is in the business of politics or religion). You should avoid engaging customers in public debates if they have complained about your product or service. You should avoid sharing overly personal information. There are many more guidelines that may be appropriate for your business; the key is to determine if what you are saying helps to create the brand persona you are trying to create.
Google Yourself Regularly
You can’t manage your online reputation if you don’t know what people are saying about you. You can monitor mentions of your brand by Googling yourself regularly. You can also set up Google alerts with your company name or the personal names of leaders in your company. There are also other monitoring services that can help you find mentions of your company, such as other search engines like Yahoo! and Bing.
While you may not find every last mention of your business this way, you will be able to find most mentions. You’ll also be sure to find any major stories that might develop involving your company. The sooner you learn about negative press, the sooner you can formulate an appropriate response to help mitigate the damage.
Remove Content that You Can
When you find negative or inappropriate information about your company, you can choose to ignore it, to respond to it, or to find ways to have it removed. If it is a post on social media that is inappropriate, you can report it to have it removed. However, in most cases, you will have to e-mail the owner of the blog or site where it is posted to ask to have it removed. This may be relatively simple if it’s just a matter of incorrect information being posted. If it is a negative review, asking to have the content removed can make your company look like it’s trying to evade responsibility. Instead, take that opportunity to respond to the review and to find a way to make the customer satisfied or to resolve the problem.
Register All User Names and Domains for Your Brand
Anyone can register a URL or user name including your brand name and then do anything with it. You can prevent anyone from using your name to slander your company or make it look silly by simply registering all the related URLs and user names for your company, your brand names, or the names of your company leaders. That way, when customers find your company online, they can know that it is an official website or social profile and that the information can be trusted.
Monitoring your brand online is important to the long-term success of your company. Reputation is everything, and if you develop a bad reputation online, it can cost you customers. Develop a proactive strategy for monitoring your reputation online, and you will protect your company’s good name and your good relationship with your customers.
How do you handle online reputation management? Share your tips for success in the comments!