Even the most well-positioned and secure brands are not immune to the lurking dangers of damaged online reputations. In a world where communication channels like blogs, review sites, and social media dictate a brand’s reputation, even a small standard’s lapse, or a handful of bad customer experiences can be damaging to its standing.
Users are more likely to share about negative experiences
Some people take the time to share their positive experiences with a brand, however, most regard that as just the “normal” interaction with one. But negative experiences stand out in people’s minds, and when it comes to sharing positive views versus grievances, they are far more likely to vent their frustrations and stories of negative experiences on public forums and social media networks.
Once damage starts being done to a brand, it quickly amounts to negative impacts on a brand’s value, as well as the performance of the business. A Deloitte study showed that as many as 41% of brands that encounter a reported event that negatively broadcasts their reputation to the world, experienced a loss of revenue and reported loss of brand value.
Reputation damage repair
It is far easier to have a brand’s reputation damaged than it is to fix it. Reputation repair requires effort and time, but with the correct strategy, it can be done. In 2009-10, Toyota suffered a massive reputation crisis when nearly 4 million vehicles in the United States reported quality issues. In one of the most notable reputation repair campaigns, Toyota was able to recover from its severely damaged brand, recovering the brand value by adhering to a comprehensive reputation management method.
How to fix online reputation
There are several methods by which a brand’s online reputation can be restored, and the damage incurred can be minimized. But regardless of the approach, a well-put-together strategy is essential for ultimate success. Let’s take a look at some of the factors involved in approaching online reputation repair.
Understanding how serious the reputation damage is and devise the correct strategy
The key to solving any problem is understanding its nature and its extent. The same is true in reputation repair. So the first step is determining what caused the reputation damage and grasping the gravity of just how significant that damage is.
Reputation damage occurs for a host of reasons. The most common ones are:
- The service standards come up short of client expectations
- Client interaction resulted in miscommunication
- The reputation-damaging issue goes viral on social media
- Smear campaigns from competitors
The reason, despite what it is, needs to be identified first, allowing the determination of how to best approach addressing it to follow.
- Target keyword identification for search engine ranking
Almost all online experiences (more than 90%, in fact), originate from search engines. Since keyword research is the bedrock of all content marketing and SEO activities, in-depth research into the identification of keywords, which includes long-tail and short-tail keywords, then devising an SEO strategy that will rank a brand higher, is imperative.
- Suppress negative results and content
While Google will not remove a page from its results unless it violates searching guidelines, when searching, very few users venture further than the first 2 to 3 pages of results. Therefore, one of the main attacks on reputation damage online is to force negative content about a brand further down in the search rankings via SEO. This can be done by generating positive content in the form of blog posts, articles, and reviews, seeded with the correct keywords to accentuate the brand’s positives, elevating the searches that cast it in a glowing image to the top of the rankings.
- Counter negative online reviews
Before engaging with a new brand, most people check reviews on review sites such as Yelp. Research has found that as many as 86% of people hesitate to bring their business to a brand with a negative review. The negative reviews won’t go away, so the way to mitigate their impact is to come up with strategies to generate positive ones. The strategy often requires strategically implemented apologies, highlighting the brand’s strengths and upside, while also encouraging those clients who had positive experiences of brand engagement to share them.
- Comprehensive content marketing strategy development
One of the most pivotal aspects of repairing a damaged online reputation is establishing a comprehensive content marketing strategy. Some believe that publishing rosy blog posts about the brand is all there is to it, but it is more complex than that. It requires a shift in marketing methodology that is constructed with thoughtfulness and high-value content. The intent is to compile an email list that can be utilized to build relationships and engage in word-of-mouth marketing by developing a brand advocate community.
- Guest blogging for rebuilding credibility
Established publications hold a lot of sway and influence power, so leveraging guest blogging from trusted sources such as top industry blogs and news websites can be a real game changer. By having these publications post positive content about the brand, there is an aspect of borrowed credibility. This can rapidly boost a brand’s reputation, and reduce the drop in search engine rankings.
- Influencer outreach
Industry influencers are another amazing source of borrowed credibility. By building partnerships with influencers, a brand can quickly revamp its positive image. Much like guest blogging, this will be a gradual approach that takes time, so it calls for patients. Recent studies have shown that for a new inbound link to influence a brand’s positive image averages about 10 weeks.
- Social media marketing for relationship building and content amplification
Regardless of their positive or negative nature, most conversations about a brand take place on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. Conducting a successful marketing campaign through social media strengthens customer relationships alongside repairing damaged brand reputations.
In summation, the most notable strategy of brand reputation repair online is to suppress negative content and bolster the positive. It involves a host of techniques and tools, as well as the utilization of platforms that assist in promoting a positive brand image, in a holistic approach. Change can take place quickly in the online world, so the application of this strategy is best left up to a team of professional experts who know the proper way to implement an online reputation repair strategy and understand the impact of the actions undertaken in their efforts.