1. Know What’s Going On With Your Brand
The first step to effective online reputation management is understanding what is being said about your brand. You need to be aware of what is happening with your brand, and what others are saying. There are brand monitoring tools like Mention that can help you holistically manage your brand and keep on top of your reputation. Another good idea is to set up Google Alerts so you can see what others post about you.
2. Keep Your Site and Social Updated
You need to remain relevant if you want to show up higher in search results. Keep your site and social updated so that you are relevant. This means you need to keep your content fresh and pay attention to your social media strategy.
It’s possible to hire others to help with your content creation so that you can focus on other aspects of your business. Just make sure you are putting out the freshest, most relevant info so that it pushes the other stuff down in the search results.
3. Don’t Respond Immediately to Bad Press
The gut reaction when you are facing a potential PR disaster is to respond immediately. Sometimes, though, it makes sense to step back and wait. While you might need to say something like, “We are looking into this,” it’s important that you don’t get negative, attack your detractors, or in any way melt down. You also need to avoid a cover-up.
Gather more information before you start responding. Do it quickly, and be ready to respond as soon as possible, but don’t respond immediately, and try not to go negative.
4. Admit Mistakes and Commit to Fix Them
Your next move is to admit to mistakes and do your best to fix them. In many cases, people like to give second chances; this means you can redeem yourself. Be frank about the mistake, even if you don’t go into detail. Apologize, and describe the steps you are taking to fix it. Digging in and denying the problem won’t help–it will only make things worse. You can overcome a poor online reputation, but you need to start by projecting openness and regret to win back trust.
5. Keep Building Relationships With Your Audience
It’s important to continue building relationships with your audience. Online reputation management has a lot to do with how many people actually believe what is being said about you. Create a brand that people love, and you’ll weather most storms. Reach out to your fans and let them do the fighting for you. You might be surprised at how you can better manage your reputation when others feel connected to you and feel the need to defend you.