When a crisis hits, bad news travels far and fast. Your company may be able to weather the storm, but digital ghosts linger online long after the dust has settled. Here are five things you can do to push back the negative news coverage and strengthen your online reputation.
- Take Cover(age)
In order to make the news, you must do newsworthy things. While positive press is often a consideration for companies, you'll likely need a heavy, months-long (or longer) push after a crisis hits so that positive press appears on page one of the search results and negative news is pushed to page two and beyond. So push for positive press, get in front of cameras, make yourself available for interviews and events unrelated to your crisis.
- Reviews Matter
Online reviews play a major role in your online reputation management plan. Be proactive in terms of increasing your total number of reviews. Encourage stakeholders to like your content or share their experiences, and consider offering incentives for those that write reviews. Respond quickly and professionally to any negative reviews you receive, and you may just win customers back while gaining credibility from others who view your response.
- Pay to Play
Consider Google Adwords. Purchasing an Adwords ad that contains your company name and appears when consumers search for your company is one of the simplest and most cost-effective means of gaining back one slot on the home page of Google.
- Lights, Camera, Action
- Get professional and amateur photos taken of your company and at company events. Seed these photos across the web, using variations of your company name and a descriptive sentence that uses the correct alt markup.
- Create numerous videos about your company and populate them on YouTube. Promote videos to grow your audience, and you'll be on your way to driving traffic to your website from YouTube and to winning back another slot on Google.
- Smart Social
- Use the service KnowEm to find and register for social accounts your company has not already claimed. Post original content and engage with the community across social platforms most important to your business (most likely Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram). If you've created fantastic content for one platform, cross-promote it across all your social media. Building up your presence on high-authority social networks will also help your profile rank higher on Google.
- Utilize Social listening tools such as HootSuite, Social Mention and SproutSocial to keep a finger on the pulse of your brand. Ensure the employees responsible for monitoring and commenting are trained in crisis management and have an approved communication plan that includes direction on when to escalate to management.
Addressing the manner in which your brand appears within Google’s search results after a crisis is potentially the most important action you can take to ensure consumer confidence and increase sales. Proactive online reputation management requires an investment in resources to tackle heavy content creation and the ability to get published by high authority websites. We work with brands on crisis scenario planning and management every day and we’d love the opportunity to share our expertise with you. Contact Mark Gale to start a conversation about your brand’s future, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 262.563.5129.