You might not know it if you’re not looking, but your online business or organization could be getting negative attention on the Internet at any given time. In today’s competitive business world and with our challenged economy, it is more important than ever to gain new customers while keeping your existing client base happy. Part of that public relations responsibility involves monitoring how your business is faring in public opinion, and how your name and your company’s name are thought of online. It’s about Reputation Management and the strategies needed to build and maintain strong appeal.
The first step is adopting reputation management strategies with either your inside public relations department or through the use of a reputation management company, whose sole purpose is to make sure your professional image stays clean. Whether you know it or not, your name may be being referred to unfavorably on community forums, blog sites, review sites, or journals.
Negative attention can come from anywhere: an unsatisfied customer, a disgruntled ex-employee or a competitor aiming at revenge through smear and other negative publicity. These negative comments and posts have the potential of being found on page 1 of Google and the other search engines; it can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and the rest of the sociosphere. Without both proactive and reactive reputation management strategies, the consequences can be difficult; even disastrous.
Your reputation needs to take these three first steps towards getting your company’s PR in line: Monitoring … Evaluation … Action.
Take time to Google your company’s name and that of your employees, sales staff, competitors and vendors; note any mention of you or your company’s name. Evaluate the content of the mentions, and decide which ones need to be followed up, and how you intend to do that.
Take action in the form of several steps: Address the sites and comment-makers directly, offering them a chance to either explain their negative feelings so that you can offer some sort of reconciliation, or request that they take potentially slanderous content down immediately. Start social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, and create favorable entries that extol the virtues of your company, products or services, employees and customers. Make them often, and maintain the comments where necessary, eliminating or separately addressing negative ones.
Issue Press Releases when your company does something new or innovative, or if you receive an accolade or award. Make sure you try to get them published on as many online media outlets and sites as possible, and again, maintain surveillance on comments, wiping out negative attention on the spot.
Start a blog, where your company gets a personal face, and you are able to interact with your clients and the public at large. Maintain it on at least a weekly basis. Establish and maintain as many professional networking associations as possible, getting your name out there on business sites, where peers may interact with you and your company’s networking is maximized. In brief, COMMUNICATE … with your clients, employees, suppliers and all who interact with your business. Use the search engines through SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and through SMO (Social Media Optimization) as facilitators and disseminators of great content to continually keep all those involved in your business informed and with a feeling of contact and caring.
This of course is no small task. Consider having professionals handle it all for you, and watch your sales and reputation soar. Contact Optimum7 to help you wipe out the bad attention and create and maintain a new image for your company.
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