The takeaway: "Make sure the online assets you control are ranking well for your name," especially on social media networks, Beiter advises. Link those accounts to an online bio or other content "hub" that's also optimized for your name. Distribute favorable content about you around the Internet to balance anything negative that exists or may show up later.
Online Reputation Management Nightmare #2: Negative Reviews
The situation: An automotive company with multiple locations had plenty of happy customers. Even so, a few disgruntled customers at different locations left negative comments about the company on Yelp and other review sites. As a result, the automotive company felt its online reputation was out of alignment with its offline reputation, which was largely positive.
The solution: The automotive company turned to online reputation management firm Reputation.com for help, says Brent Franson, vice president of sales. A three-pronged reputation management trial followed, running for six weeks in October and November 2012.
To begin, managers at select locations received access to Reputation.com's monitoring platform, reporting alerts and weekly status updates to gain insight into and proactively monitor feedback for their particular locations. (There was a control group of locations excluded from the reputation management trial, Franson says, as a way to gauge the project's effectiveness.)
The next step was to ask recent customers of the select locations for their feedback. "We told customers how much online reputation matters," Franson explains, "and how we would appreciate their honest feedback on the location they visited. We also suggested places for them to leave their reviews," including Yelp, Google and Citysearch.
The third piece of the plan was to respond to all reviews for the locations involved in the trial. "If there was a negative review, we asked the customer how we could solve the problem they experienced. For positive reviews, we thanked the customer," Franson says. "Either way, we wanted to show customers how important their feedback is."
The result: For the six weeks leading up to the trial, the automotive company averaged just more than two online reviews for each location that was selected for the trial. During the six weeks of the trial, the average jumped to more than eight online reviews for each location involved in the trial. The control group locations saw no change.