In the online world, what your customers see is how they will perceive your brand. Case in point—three out of four consumers trust a company more if it has positive reviews and 60% of consumers say negative reviews make them not want to use a business. Wondering how to take the necessary steps and repair your online reputation? We’ll show you a super easy process below. Our favorite tools for accomplishing this are WebiMax and Nextiva. Webimax delivers a custom online reputation strategy and for each of its clients whereas Nextiva gives you a platform and full control to manage reviews and your reputation however you’d like.
Why Repairing Your Online Reputation Is Worth It
From low star ratings on Google Business or Yelp to negative comments on Twitter, a lot of elements can impact your online brand’s reputation in a bad way.
If you don’t take active measures to handle these quickly and effectively—even for things that appear small or inconsequential—they can snowball into larger problems before getting completely out of hand.
Before you know it, your brand reputation will be defined by low-quality reviews and bad customer experiences.
93% of customers say they read online reviews before making purchase decisions. This means if your company has negative reviews—or worse, no reviews—you’re likely to only get seven customers for every 100 that look up your brand.
On the other hand, if you proactively work on building a positive online presence, you’ll experience several benefits. People trust a brand with a good online reputation, which will help you attract more business and eventually increase your profits.
In fact, every additional star on your Yelp rating can boost your business’s revenue by up to 9%, according to a Harvard Business School Working Paper.
Besides customers and profits, repairing your online reputation is also helpful for attracting top talent. Only one in five job seekers will consider working for a company with a one-star rating. Before accepting or even applying to jobs, applicants also check workplace reviews on platforms like Glassdoor, which is another venue to monitor your reputation on.
The Investment Needed to Repair Your Online Reputation
We’re sure you agree with us on the importance of repairing your company’s online reputation. But, to do this right, you need a solid strategy and an investment of time and/or money.
Don’t get us wrong; you can take matters into your own hands and repair your reputation DIY style, but there are a few elements to doing that where you’d fare better by enlisting expert help.
The chief concern is time if you do this on your own. You might be able to wrangle your Google Business profiles and social media pages without negatively affecting the other work you have to concentrate on. That’s where a prebuilt strategy comes in handy. You’ll need to prioritize how to attack this endeavor, in terms of whether you’re focusing on building up positive sentiment or suppressing negative reviews.
But if you want to fully establish or repair your reputation across all the channels and venues on the web where your company is being appraised, that quickly becomes a full-time job in itself.
In this case, we recommend using an online management reputation management service like WebiMax or Nextiva to repair your brand perception online, gain more positive reviews, and eradicate negative reviews and sentiment.
Since every business is unique, you won’t find reputation management services that offer fixed pricing. Costs can range anywhere between $400 per month and $8,000 per month. There are also contract terms to consider with providers (you may need to commit to a year of service or more) and additional fees that may be incurred, such as paying for monitoring and repairing your reputation on more niche platforms.
5 Steps to Repair Your Online Reputation
Note the focus here is on repairing your online reputation, which is why we’ll focus on removing and suppressing negative reviews instead of comprehensive overall online reputation management.
With that out of the way, here are the steps to repair your reputation online:
#1 — Claim Your Online Business Profile
Before targeting any negative reviews, ensure your current and potential customers can find information relating to your business easily and that you’re in control of your company’s narrative in those areas.
There are two places where you’ll need to create or claim your company’s profiles.
First, business review websites like Yelp and Google are a crucial part of your online reputation. Don’t make the same mistake as others by ignoring these pages.
Create a business profile (or claim the existing one for your company) on both platforms to let customers leave reviews about your business. On Yelp, you’ll find customers can leave reviews even when you don’t have an official business profile, but you’ll need to make one in order to reply to these comments. Once you create your profile, engage with negative customer reviews, acknowledging their comments and apologizing if necessary.
Social media is the other half of this equation. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be active on every social media platform; only the ones frequented by your target audience.
Whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, or TikTok, make sure your company information is complete on each platform. Doing this will ensure that your official accounts will pop higher in the search results.
Also, social media tends to encourage customers to speak freely about their experiences. Often, these aren’t happening on your social profiles; users will share their feelings and may tag or simply mention your brand.
Being active on social media will help you keep your finger on the pulse of what your customers are saying about you and allow you to promptly thank customers for a positive review or take corrective measures when they post something negative.
If you’re okay investing in online reputation management (ORM) services, this is where you can hire an ORM service like WebiMax or Nextiva. Not only will it set up your company’s social media and business profiles on relevant platforms with the correct information, but it also monitors what users are saying about your business and presents those findings conveniently to you in the dashboard.
#2 — Identify the Root Cause of Your Negative Reputation
The internet is unimaginably vast, so your next step is to get specific and identify the driving force behind all the negative sentiment that’s damaging your reputation.
The most common case is a rash of negative reviews that swells up for one reason or another. Sometimes a damaged reputation is a result of the lack of appropriate content. In this case, Google finds anything—positive or negative—to fill its index. A viral news cycle mentioning a defamatory comment from your board or a customer data leak may also contribute to negative publicity.
To get the answers, do a thorough assessment of your online reputation. Look up your business on Google and analyze the content you see on the first three pages of the search results. Also, visit social media, business review platforms, and any other venues where chatter about your business is happening.
Consider the following questions:
- Are too many customers posting negative reviews?
- Did a competitor create an unfair comparison blog post about your business?
- Are former employees leaving negative Glassdoor reviews?
- Do you have any defamatory or negative content posted on your Twitter or Facebook channels?
If you notice an overwhelming negative sentiment on any platform, you’ve found your root cause. This platform should naturally become your priority when you set out to repair your reputation.
#3 — Take Measures to Repair Negative Sentiment
Let’s get one thing straight: Google won’t remove negative comments from search results. But that doesn’t mean you cannot try repairing the problem right at its source.
For example, if you find an influencer has published an unfavorable story about your company, reach out to them and apologize sincerely. Ask them what you can do to improve their experience, and politely ask them to delete or update the content.
If you play your cards right and make a genuine effort, they may update their post or create new content that reflects a more positive impression.
Before reaching out, keep the following pointers in mind:
- Use a polite and friendly tone
- Try to document your request in writing or screenshots
- If you manage to get the content removed, ensure it’s also removed from Google’s index
- Don’t threaten legal action
That said, news sources likely won’t remove your content upon request because they have to remain impartial. You may have to take a different approach to mitigate that coverage, such as finding other outlets to run a more positive story.
Responding to reviews is equally important, too.
Reply to positive reviews and show your appreciation by using genuine and upbeat statements like “we’re thankful for your business“ or “thank you for choosing us.“ Your response to negative reviews needs even more tact. Address the problem and apologize when appropriate to signal to the reviewer you care about their continued business.
#4 — Remove Negative Results from Google
Google processes around 63,000 search queries every second. For context, that’s a staggering 2 trillion global searches every year. That’s a lot of eyeballs that will encounter your brand reputation when searching for your company or it offers.
Think about what sentiment best defines the results you see on the first page of Google results, taking care to note any negative articles. If your company’s online reputation is below your expectations, then it’s necessary to take action.
If you own the negative content, you can simply remove it from the search engines yourself. But if the negative content is written by third parties, you have to reach out to them and request to take it down just like you did in Step 2.
Alternatively, you can use Google’s DMCA form to request removal. Remember, you’ll have to submit a separate notice for each Google service where the negative content appears.
Again, there’s no guarantee Google will completely remove content if you use the DMCA requests, so just think of it as a precautionary measure.
The other option is to drown it out with new content. Creating SEO-minded, effective content over time is a great organic way to improve the items appearing on the first page of Google results.
Create new web pages or blog posts about the target topic to fill the content vacuum, if any. Then optimize your new and existing positive/neutral content by applying SEO best practices. Next, focus on securing backlinks from positive/neutral articles that promote visibility and favorable brand sentiment.
It will take some time for your new content to rank and push the negative items down to page two or further, but it’s also the only guaranteed way to suppress these items.
#5 — Sort Out Your Reviews
Just like any business, you’ll have both positive and negative reviews popping up on the internet.
You want to encourage positive reviews as much as possible, of course. This will help you counter negative issues that already exist and cannot be removed, or emergent ones.
The following are a few tips to get more positive reviews for your brand:
- Just ask your customers—it can really be that simple!
- Identify the right moments to ask for a review in the customer journey
- Identify common themes of negative reviews and address them internally
- Set up your CRM to request positive reviews automatically after purchase
- Ask vendors to leave positive reviews
Here’s a LinkedIn post from Nick Bennett, the Director of Customer Marketing at Alyce, outlining how he secured 73 new, quality G2 reviews in just two days:
Next, shift your focus to the negative reviews, in the same manner as Step 3. Go through all comments on platforms relevant to your business like Google Business, Glassdoor, Yelp, and TripAdvisor.
Every platform has a set of guidelines that users need to follow. If you find any negative review violating these guidelines, flag and report it.
For the reviews you can’t take down, reach out to the users who posted them and try to resolve the problem. You may get users to take down the negative review themselves or change it to a positive one once their problem is resolved.
Over time, this will improve your review score on the platform and build a positive brand reputation.
After following the above steps to repair your online reputation, you must monitor your brand name.
Chances are, there will be new mentions of your brand being posted online all the time. While keeping tabs might be difficult if you do it manually, you can use tools like Google Alerts and SparkToro to monitor what people say about your company. This will help you respond to negative sentiments faster and collect insights into your target audience.
Here are a few more posts from us to help you rank higher in the SERPs and get more positive items to show up higher than the negative ones: