Top 5 online reputation management mistakes that can be easily avoided.

Online reputation is certainly one of the most every business or brand should pay attention to.
Everything is different today than what it used to be a decade or two decades ago when users didn’t really have a say in what was good or bad about a brand. Users and customers have come out of the silence and can generate now a much bigger impact on a brand, a product or a service with what they have to say about it. Users and customers weren’t used to share out loud and tell everyone in all the ways possible, what they liked or didn’t like about what they paid for. Today, everything has changed. A bad testimony can become viral on online social platforms and it can either ruin the reputation of any company and any person in minutes or it can make their sales increase in no time.

That is why online reputation management has become such an important matter in today’s management world. Companies are finally acknowledging their online image is just as important as their bank account, since the first one can definitely save and grow, or destroy the second one.

Just like in every matter, when it comes to online reputation management there are good practices and bad practices, there are many points of view, depending on the importance and the priority people give to, but one thing is sure: there are certain things or actions considered mistakes that companies should avoid at all cost. Here is the list of the top 5 online reputation management mistakes that no business can afford.

Losing control of your brand image

When owners of companies are not aware of how new information about their brands and their products is being shared, they will lose control easily of their brand. If you own a company, a brand, a product or a service, make sure you are the first one to communicate what it going on, either if it is good or bad, you have to make sure the first, official information comes from you, from your brand. Otherwise you will let the media and anybody else say whatever they want about you, and that is not always a positive thing. As long as you can control it and be the first to open the positive trend, things will go much better.

Responding to every single critic

Just like real life, in online reputation management there are battles you will have to choose not to fight. The truth is no company has a 100% customer satisfaction. There will always be people that are not happy or satisfied with what your company has offered or delivered. Here is when you have to decide what is better for your business. Sometimes you will feel the need to respond to every attack you receive, the same rude and violent way they have attacked you, because you get so angry and feel the need to defend your brand, but this can cause more harm than good, most of the times. It’s good that you respond to almost everything. Try to do it in a very polite and neutral way, always with a kind language.

Underestimate monitoring

Knowing about absolutely everything that is being said about you or your brand isn’t that difficult anymore. There are plenty of online platforms that will help you monitor the mentions about you and the impact that they are causing out there. Not monitoring online reputation is one of the biggest mistakes a company can make.

Creating Fake reviews

Try to keep things real. It is very commons for brands to start saying and posting and sharing the worst comments about their competitors. The only thing you will receive as a reply is an even worse comment, but now it will be about your brand or product. Either if it is about you or your competitor, try to remain honest and polite. Remember competitors are not always a bad thing to have around.

Image courtesy of Daveblog at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Daveblog at Flickr.com

Having a slow reaction and response

Whether if people are complaining about your brand,  or recommending it by saying how fantastic it is and how well it has served them, remember always to react quickly. Saying thank you, showing your brand will always be happy to offer their services or responding to what the customer is asking or claiming for. A slow online response is one of the worst things a company can have because it will literally show people that your brand doesn’t care about them. If you have an online presence, make sure it is always set to answer as soon as possible to the customers.

Image courtesy of Sean MacEntee at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Sean MacEntee at Flickr.com

Clean up your online image once the damage is done

Once the damage is done, it’s not the end of the world. Yes, something that shows up online is quite difficult, or I would even say impossible to completely erase, especially once it’s gone viral. But, that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. You can one your own or by hiring someone go about some strategies to clean up your online footprint and assure that new, relevant and more appealing content on you is available when people look you up.

How to get started
Like in real life the first thing to do I set things right. Create a great first impression that will allow people to get the image you want them to get of you. In real life, it’s all about having that professional look, showing confidence in your area of expertise and knowing the right people that can help either recommend you or give testimonials con your work. Well, it’s not all that different in digital life. So first things first, we have to find out what’s out there and assess how bad the damage is. There are many tools that can help you in this task, especially Google, by plugging in key words like your name, domain page name, or key words for your company or website. Also, visit your social networks, but check in as a visitor to see what everyone else sees when looking you up. This insight will definitely help you get on your way and evaluate what steps should be taken next.

When digging through search engines, remember that a picture is worth a thousand words. Don’t focus only on what’s being said, but images or pictures there are of you or that even you yourself have posted and don’t necessarily reflect the professional image you want to show future employers or clients.

Image courtesy of Jason Howie at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Jason Howie at Flickr.com

 

If you’re having trouble finding all your information try out Pipl or 123People. These websites will show you all of the information that’s out there related to social media accounts. And remember to not leave out YouTube Search, as well as Google.

Make a new you.

So, you’ve found everything on yourself, and know exactly what it is you want to erase. Start by creating new content. Try Namchk.com to find out which accounts you have on social media. Make sure you delete the ones you no longer use or start using that LinkedIn account that you never log on to. Make sure you have a blog and start using it actively. The idea is not only to write, but to make excellent content that is relevant to the image you want to give. This content will most likely on its own start to pick up, be back-linked or mentioned by others, which is what we want.

Getting to the nitty gritty

You also have to work for it. So get your name out there by networking with the right people and getting them to mention you or link you on their pages. Reach out to them with the intention that they either remove some negative information on you, retract or clarify misinformation or write a different post on your current positive status.

Preparing for the future

Besides all of this, you have to pre-empt this situation towards the future. So take a look at these tools to help you on your way:

  • Google Alerts – Choose your keywords carefully and plug those in so you can receive alter emails every time something is published online.
  • TweepBeep – This tools works in a similar way to the previous one, while in this case it only looks up the key words on Twitter. This is the best and easiest option to keep track of tweets related to you on this social network. 
  • Boardreader – This site will allow you to verify what’s being said about you or your company on community forums. Now, especially on this one be aware of not entering in an online argument with someone. This is not what you need.

All of these tools can be helpful when keeping track of your image, but they won’t erase what’s out there. That’s where you have to continue to work on creating content, maybe reaching out to some of the bloggers or people who have posted negatively about you or your company to see if an agreement can be reached, and finally to assure that you’re are turning things around. The negative comments when made by the mass are important to listen to, maybe there’s something behind all of it and by making some adjustments in your service or your profile need to be changed.

At the end of the day, it’s not impossible to keep your online profile clean, but it takes work. If you feel that doing it on your own is too overwhelming, you can always turn to the experts.

7 Vitally Important Online Reputation Management Tips for Physicians

Today, the Internet has more of an impact than ever on the professional lives of medical professionals. While the Internet allows prospective patients to easily search for and locate individual practices, it has also allowed patients to have some control over how a doctor or practice is perceived online.

In order to retain current customers as well as attract new ones, medical professionals should consider the following tips to aid their online presence in accurately reflecting the quality of services that they provide.

Monitor Your Reviews

The best way to defend your online reputation is to take an offensive approach. Monitoring the internet conversation about your practice is simple through the use of tools such as Google Alerts, Tweet Alarm, and Social Mention.

By monitoring your online reputation, you will be better equipped to turn any negative content that appears online into a positive by responding to comments or reviews quickly and professionally. This shows readers that your commitment to your patients’ wellness and satisfaction is strong. Additionally, reading and responding to negative reviews may also help make you aware of gaps in your service that can be easily filled for a better overall product.

Have a Presence on Leading Sites

Review websites like Healthgrades, ZocDoc, Vitals, and RateMDs are becoming increasingly relevant in the average person’s physician selection process. In addition to making it simple for people to search for doctors by location, name, and specialty, these sites allow them to view background information about medical professionals such as board certifications and schooling.

Being present on these major sites may help doctors appear more trustworthy and established, as well as improve their reach in the search for new patients. A doctor who is not a member of these websites could appear to be outdated, or could be overlooked by patients because there is no positive data that motivates them to choose the physician’s practice.

Get Feedback from Patients

The best advertising that a physician can receive is a collection of positive customer reviews. Medical professionals should consider requesting feedback from their clientele after providing their services. In order to garner as many reviews as possible, a physician can make reviews easy to complete by providing a link to a survey or review site on a takeaway sheet, or send direct links to patients via email after an appointment.

The more positive reviews that a practice has, the less likely it is to be adversely impacted by any future online negativity.

Claim Your Listings

While there isn’t a way for physicians to choose what gets posted to their review sites, the best thing that a medical professional can do to retain some control over their online image is to claim their listings. This can be done by maintaining active, up-to-date profiles on relevant websites and interacting with clients who post to the site.

Optimize listings on professional medical sites as well as social media by filling them out completely. Include information such as a short biography, credentials, a headshot, and photos of your office in order to reflect your overall services. Interacting directly with both negative and positive comments left on profiles is also an excellent way to appear engaged.

Make Your Brand More Personal

woman doctorThe Internet has made medical professionals and information more accessible to patients, which has altered the nature of the doctor-patient relationship. This is evident in the fact that 25 percent of the questions researched online are health-related. Though patients have no more education-based knowledge on medical conditions than they have in the past, they can now have a more open relationship with their physician, who may be able to quickly answer their questions.
Because of these circumstances, it is important for physicians’ online presence to be more personal than ever before. Doctors who do not show an element of approachability within their internet reputation may be perceived as cold or unwilling to answer questions, prompting distrust from prospective patients.

Work on Your Reputation Regularly

Since up to 8 out of 10 people will use the Internet to research physicians prior to making an appointment, medical professionals should consider developing their online reputations on a regular basis. The more time that you put into establishing your online presence, the more your web reputation will act in the best interest of your practice.

In order to do this, doctors can perform a simple search of their names combined with keywords, such as the name of the city in which they practice, to make sure that available information remains positive. Additionally, updating social media sites at least once a week with articles or information relevant to your patients can help engage your clientele, as well as keep your social media profiles ranking high in your internet search results.

Get Help if You Need It

In some cases, a doctor’s online reputation may be affected by negative content that he or she does not know how to overcome. It is important for medical professionals in this position to consider utilizing an online reputation management firm. By enlisting the assistance of a professional reputation management service, practices may be able to reclaim control of their online images.

Understanding how your online reputation affects you

Today’s online reputation has become so important that it could cause real personal and professional disasters. Unfortunately, it’s not that difficult for someone to tarnish your reputation, so when we are interested in maintaining our good name online, be sure to know what steps to follow or who to turn to when things go terribly wrong.

There are reputation managers that specialize in not only clearing your name because they are tech savvy, but also know exactly what to remove and what to replace it with because they are PR gurus. A reputation manager makes sure that your best face is put forward avoiding those old and irrelevant events or simply untrue ones are not tarnishing your good name. Today having a good online name is everything, it’s usually the first place an employer or client will look you up and it’s best to have everything in order.

Hence, when marketing yourself or a business Online Reputation Management (ORM) becomes a big deal and having the right strategy is essential. An effective strategy, will not only track your online profile, correcting any hiccup along the way, but will also give you new opportunities to shine and increase your brand awareness. So, let’s explore why it would be important for you to implement an ORM strategy:

 1. Be on the top of the list

Most people today research a brand before choosing to buy from it, so having a great online profile will only help you sell more. By being on the top of the list with en excellent reputation you can almost assure higher sales. Also, coming back from a negative testimony from a disgruntled client is quite hard and today it’s becoming more and more difficult to control this since we are in the era of citizen journalism, where we all have the power to report, write and be heard by millions, basically anyone willing to hear.

2. Sell the image you want to

Focus on building trust and credibility for your current and future clients. Word of mouth which at one point could spread in a small community can now cross borders, so be aware of having satisfied clients that will willingly go out and share just how good you are at what you do.  Many times investors or clients will base their decision to choose you solely on your online reputation.

3. Getting the best

Online reputation cannot only help you sell, but it can get you the people that can run your business the best. Finding talent is essential and getting the best also comes back to maintaining an excellent online profile. The top professionals in every field will surely want to be with you as long as you have a good reputation, because your name will also become their name.

Image courtesy of Garoa at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Garoa at Flickr.com

Many companies offer the ORM service to assure that you maintain a clear name online. Most will offer some or all of the following services.

  • Analysis of your online reputation
    With software they analyze all of your online presence, which will allow them to design the perfect strategy for you and your company.
  • Other SEO or marketing services
    Many of these companies will not only offer you ORM, but will also specialize in all things related to online image so it’s very convenient if you’re looking for the whole package.
  • Social media writing
    They will know exactly what and when to say it to optimize your image online, by taking over your social media.
  • Web design and development
    Most people concerned with online reputation also need or want a website that will allow them to get more exposure. So most of these companies offer this service as well.
  • Infographic services
    Want to show information about your company in a comprehensive way, nowadays infographics is the way to go.
  • Platforms for handle it on your own
    Some companies will offer ready-made PC or online software that will allow you to control your own image. They will offer some support or advice from experts, but overall this is the perfect option for the DIY fans.
  • 24/7 news and social monitoring
    By having constant monitoring of the media or social networks they can immediately make any changes, or apply any strategies necessary to counteract the negative press.
  • Content removal
    Some content can be removed and the companies make sure it’s on the web as least as possible.
  • Positive content creation
    As a counteractive method, positive content creation will get your name out there in the right way.
  • Email alerts
    You can program email alerts to know exactly what’s happening with your online reputation and brand, as well as what’s being done to improve it.
  • Creation of optimized profiles
    If you’re not really sure the best way to set up your online profile, the experts can definitely give you a hand and create the best possible profile for you.

At the end of the day, your reputation online will only continue to gain relevance in your personal and professional life, so why not get ahead of the game and assure you have the best possible profile out there.

How to improve online reputation in hotels.

Consider the following analogy.  “Oxygen is to humans as reputation is to hotels.”  Without oxygen there would be no humans and without reputation a hotel cannot succeed.  Especially in today’s day an age where online travel agencies have become a force to be reckoned with when it comes to organizing a trip.  The stars a hotel is awarded in reviews have become just as important as the ones given by different associations.  It can be argued that people reviews are more important.  According to a recent survey conducted by TripAdvisor, 84% of those surveyed give high consideration to reviews about a place they are thinking about booking.  84 PERCENT.  That is a massive number.  One that begs online reputation not be ignored.  A hotel without a proper online reputation strategy is doomed.  Fortunately, hotels can do many things to make sure their online reputation is up with the best.

Online rep begins offline

Good and bad reviews come after experiencing a hotel.  It makes perfect sense.  You can’t talk about a hotel until you have gone and stayed in one.  Quality of service plays a huge role in either making or breaking a hotel’s reputation.  Therefore, it should be a hotel manager’s top priority to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to enhance the guest experience.  How can every staff member accomplish this?

  • Keep promises:  If a hotel’s webpage promises its guest something, they’d be served well to keep their word.  One of the most damaging things to a hotels reputation is that guests feel like they have been lied to.  If a hotel can’t carry out what it says on digital media then it better not state otherwise.
  • Exceed expectations:  Guests love it when hotel staff go the extra mile.  Something as simple as changing a person’s towels without him or her asking goes a long way.  Or how about offering a cold beverage because of the scorching heat by the pool?  That would also show guests that the staff is always on the lookout for their wellbeing and comfort.
  • Training:  Not everyone is born with the customer service gene.  A little training in how to deal with picky guests or how to improve customer relations will most definitely pay off in the long run.
  • Feedback:  Hoteliers must constantly relate to the staff what people who stay at the hotel are saying.  It gives them a good idea of what they are doing correctly and what needs to get better.

Claim! Claim! Claim!

Any respectable hotel has a profile on the most important online booking sites.  It’s a no brainer.  Booking sites are where potential guests are going to look for you.  Super Smart Tag gives a very good list of the best online booking sites to be on.  Verified profiles show people that you are legit and it’s the place where the guests who visited you are sure to post their reviews.  Online travel agencies usually send an e-mail to a person following their stay at a chosen hotel to share their opinion on the travel agency’s site.  

Online booking sites should not be your only presence on the web.  Social media accounts are just as important in helping your online reputation.  Social media give possible guests an initial taste of what a hotel has to offer. Hoteliers must make sure that the profiles highlight the best a hotel has to offer.  Profiles on different social media accounts can show galleries and videos about events a hotel organizes for its guests.  The images we tend to find on a hotel’s website are often prepared or might look phony.  Social media eliminates this and gives hotels the chance to post natural and spontaneous pictures of guests having a good time.

Review the reviews

Image courtesy of Gayla Baer-Taylor at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Gayla Baer-Taylor at Flickr.com


Pop quiz.  What percentage of people recently surveyed considered looking at reviews as a decisive factor in booking a hotel?  Don’t remember? It’s in here somewhere.  84 percent. Very good.  That’s a big number to ignore.  Hotel reviews give people an excellent idea of what to expect.  Hoteliers need to go over those reviews and answer accordingly.  Positive and negative comments should be taken with gratitude.  

The bad ones tend to stick out the most.  There’s nothing in the hotel handbook that says you can’t offer a solution to a problem after the guest has left.  Looking into the matter and fixing it ensures that future guests have an excellent time and therefore rank a hotel high.  As for the original negative comment, it’s a good idea to get in touch with the person who was not satisfied in the first place.  Let them know steps have been made to correct the issue at hand and that the hotel is appreciative of the comment that was made.  It goes a long way in getting a second chance from that disgruntled guest and it shows potential guests that you are always aware of improving and making the guest experience as pleasant as possible.

What people say about a hotel can’t be ignored in an age where more and more people are going online to book one.  Hotels would be wise to do everything in their hands to make sure that the reviews are as positive as possible.  These three simple things can do a lot to get there.