Truthfully, there can be quite a few things online that are harming and damaging your company’s online reputation. But you’re likely to come across some very common ones; here are some of the most common problems:
- The industry’s perception of your company: if trusted professionals in your industry don’t respect you, they may be likely to say so and give negative publicity to your company. And if that’s the case, customers may come across that when searching for you, and might believe what they read.
- Scandals or salacious stories involving your company: if your company has been involved in a scandal (tax fraud, customer disputes, etc.) even if it happened years ago and when the company was under different ownership, it could still be lurking out in cyberspace, and it could be potentially damaging for your company.
- Third-party hate sites: if you have ever had a disgruntled employee leave your company, or you’ve ever had a run-in with a particularly unhappy customer, it takes nothing for them to start a website and start posting all kinds of negative reviews about your company. Hate sites can be extremely detrimental to your company’s reputation, and it’s important that you do what you can to get them taken down as soon as you can.
- Attacks from competitors: if your competition doesn’t believe in fair business practice and doesn’t hesitate to play dirty, they may openly attack you on their own website in order to lure customers away from you and start working with their business. This is something that should never be done and if someone is using these tactics against your company, there may even be legal action that you can take. The important thing is that you find these online attacks and take care of them as soon as you can.
- Complaint sites: complaint sites are different from hate sites in the way that they don’t have to be created by a specific individual or group that is unsatisfied with your company. Instead, they may be sites such as the Better Business Bureau, where consumers are encouraged to leave third-party reviews and testimonials are certain products and services. It’s important when you’re searching for negative reviews and comments about your company that you also look to any organization that works with public consumers.
- Bad press, literally: if something hits the news, the chances are good that it’s going to be everywhere, and that negative news story could follow your company, and your online brand, wherever it goes. So even if someone is shopping for your product, they may come upon a negative story about you or your company at the same time. Bad press is one of the most common problems businesses run into when managing their online reputation.
- False information: Word of mouth can be a company’s best friend, but it can also sometimes be like playing the telephone game. Someone says something slightly negative about your company (or is simply misunderstood when speaking about your business) and that information gets passed from person to person. As it does, it gets changed a little each time, and that can end up to a lot of misconceptions and false information being published about your company. On the other hand, you could just have someone with a grudge against the company that publishes blatant lies. Whatever the reason for the false information, it’s a big problem, and one that needs to be fixed immediately.
So once you know what the biggest and most common online reputation management problems are, and you’ve identified where these problems lie online for your company, how do you go about fixing them? The first step is to hire a good marketing consultant who knows the ins and outs of online reputation management. These professionals are extremely familiar with these, and all other problems regarding online reputations, and they’ll be able to help you find and fix them.