Businesses need to take online reputation management seriously

Over 85 per cent of purchasers research the web for reviews and feedback before making a purchase, and 70 per cent of potential customers will not make an inquiry if they read negative mentions of a brand or company. Only 5 per cent of purchasers look beyond the first page of search results, showing how vital it is to ensure that bad reviews and mentions are kept to a minimum.

Mark Hall, Managing Director of – the online reputation management company – says: “Every business should be in full control of their online reputation. When a customer searches for a company’s name or brand, the first pages from the online search results should show nothing but positive mentions. If this isn’t the case, then the business will be losing out on new sales.

“Quite often we work with companies faced with disgruntled former members of staff, unprofessional competitors or – in extreme cases – ex-partners who post unjust and fake web content in the form of reviews or blog posts,” says Hall. “These may go unnoticed by the company for quite some time, and have a devastating effect on new sales. It is important that you search for your company name and brands on a regular basis, and respond with the right action where appropriate.”

Mark recommends the following tips to ensure any business or individual can stay in charge of their online reputation:

Always be prepared for the worst

This could be as simple as creating profiles on all review and social platforms such as LinkedIn, Google+, TripAdvisor, Twitter, Yelp, Qype and sites relating your industry. This will ensure you can respond quickly by putting in a process before any negativity gets out of control.

Ask for reviews

When asking for a review its important that you do just that and ask for a review, don’t ask for good reviews and don’t ask until you have completed the transaction, with your customer, otherwise you may appear too “needy”. Let the customer know that the company takes their opinions and feedback seriously and that you constantly monitor your progress to improve customer satisfaction.

Become a Guest Author

Create relationships with industry sites and become a guest author. Ideally, the site would feature your author biography and company name, and the higher quality the website the better the chances will be of the content appearing on the front page of search results.

Get your name out there with interviews

Seek out interview opportunities or if asked say ‘yes’! Any time you have an opportunity to mention your company name in a positive light is worth the while. This could be a blog post, newspaper article or even a podcast, which all stand a good chance of appearing in the search results pages.

Have someone ‘own’ your online reputation in house

Allocate responsibility to a team or individual within your business. If you are a larger organisation it may be necessary to have a dedicated spokesperson who has undergone media training so that they can respond to any questions with confidence.

Identify all possible risks

It is good practice to identify all possible risk scenarios that your business could face in times of a reputation crisis.

Identify your brand ambassadors

Having a list of brand ambassadors is a very effective tool for when you need a friendly face to help seed positive press, this could be bloggers, journalists, industry thought leaders and happy customers.

Always be listening

You must always have an ear to the ground to listen out for both negative and positive comments. Visit review platforms, search on Google News, results from major search engines, as well as analysing the latest content from Twitter. This can be time-consuming, and it is always more effective to use a low-cost solution such as the Got Juice Reputation management portal to oversee this for you.

Budget for your reputation

You may need to issue press releases, pay for advertising or engage with an online reputation management company should a serious negative issue arise. Bad press, a damning newspaper article, or one-star rating on page one of search results can really harm your business. Negative reviews, are difficult to remove, so it is well worth preventing these before they happen.

Run a good business

The easiest way to ensure you don’t receive negative mentions is to simply run a good business and ensure you have a process in place to gain new reviews. By offering high quality, great service and good value customers will promote you, and you will reap the benefits.