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A corporation’s image is as essential to its success as its service. When a corporation’s public image suffers, so does the business it conducts. It should come as no surprise that a corporation with a poor reputation is doomed to fail. Unfortunately, no matter how good your reputation is, it is all too easy for it to be torn apart without some vigilance.

We live in a time where the reputation of any business is easily accessed and challenged via the internet. As a result, it has become easier than ever for customers and media outlets to express their views of you on platforms that reach hundreds of thousands of users daily. Fortunately, there is a way for this particular conundrum to be addressed effectively.

With planning and a little effort, it is possible to put together a strategy to maintain your corporation’s image in the face of adversity. It will not be the easiest thing in the world. However, taking the proper measures to protect your image from accusations and commentary can benefit you in the long term. With this article, we hope to help give you some ideas on managing your reputation and keeping your company’s image as pristine as possible.

Social Media Matters

One aspect of modern communication has been challenging for many modern companies to adopt. However, as the 21st Century has marched forward, more and more companies have begun taking to social media to reach out to their customers.

The power of social media allows corporations to announce promotions, get public opinion, or garner followers via a witty post on one of the many platforms. However, social media has become a high-risk, high-reward endeavor for corporations worldwide. For all the ways social media posting for a corporation can go right, there are just as many opportunities for things to go wrong.

Using Social Media

Nowadays, the general public scrutinizes every post made on social media. Any post taken the wrong way could bring the public’s wrath down on your corporation. If you want to ensure that your corporation can maintain a sterling reputation in the industry, you will want to cultivate your social media presence carefully. Ensuring that the posts are not politically incorrect, do not espouse any controversial sentiments, and do not disrespect your consumers is key to a successful social media presence.

Virtually every company globally has at least one social media account representing their corporation on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any other major platforms. However, the trends that fuel these platforms are ever-shifting, making keeping up with them more challenging. To keep your corporation’s reputation in a good light, you will need to maintain a connection to these social media trends and the current social climate. That being said, social media is only one aspect of managing a corporation’s reputation in the modern era.

Understand the Algorithm

The days of asking around for a quality service provider are long gone. Since the rise of the internet, you can answer almost any question with a few taps on a keyboard. This advancement of technological development is not likely to stop any time soon, but for the time being, internet searches are how most customers will likely find you.

With search engines like Google or Bing fielding millions of search results for almost a century, tailoring the search results to the users’ needs has become common practice. These search engines can do this by using an algorithm that connects the users to advertisements and web pages that relate to their previous inquiries.

Other times, however, users will be looking for a particular product or service that could lead them straight to you. The only trick is making sure your corporation’s name takes precedence over your competitors. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) practices become vital to your reputation.

Understanding The Algorithm

Part of the algorithm involves the search engine pulling up specific results that most closely match the terms the user puts in the search bar. These searches are typically comprised of keywords that relate to the industry they need. As a result, most companies have begun lacing their homepages with these keywords to put their websites higher on the list of search results.

For example, the recent rise of 5G has made the recent searches for cellphones focus on 5G compatible devices. So, having 5G as one of the keywords on the homepage of a cellphone service provider like Verizon makes it more likely to be a top result.

You can use these keywords to turn the algorithm into one of your most powerful tools for maintaining your corporation’s reputation. Failing to keep your company’s name in the relevant results leads your corporation to fall into obsolescence. If your company is thought to have fallen behind, your reputation plummets, and business dries up.

With the right amount of effort, it is possible to ensure that your corporation outranks all others in search results on sites like Google. That said, not all coverage is good coverage. SEO algorithms will pull up all relevant information on your corporation. This will include any preexisting opinions of the quality of your service.

Take Criticism Seriously

Everyone wants to be the best, but perfection is not possible. There will always be someone not pleased with your corporation’s service or product. There is nothing wrong with this, but it can lead to complications since these opinions and issues are easily accessible to anyone with a phone and internet connection.

One of the most common examples of this opinion sharing is through reviews that can be left on your corporation’s website, on 3rd party sites like Yelp, or even directly through the search engine. These reviews allow customers to leave their opinions and experiences with your corporation for others to read. Getting a good review is the goal, but a bad review does not have to sink your reputation if you do not let it.

Some companies try to solve poor reviews by simply purging them wherever possible, but this is a huge mistake. By removing legitimate reviews, all you accomplish is showing you have something to hide and will not claim responsibility. Rather, the best thing you can do to preserve your reputation is to take the criticism head-on and try to resolve the issue.

When someone leaves a genuine review of the service they received, it is your opportunity to try and make amends and show a genuine desire to make amends with your customers. You can do this by reviewing the criticism and trying to get details from the one who left the review so you can make things right with them. The key is maintaining a diplomatic stance rather than a defensive one, even if the review is unfounded.

Taking Criticism Seriously

Reacting impulsively and engaging in a hostile manner with the reviewer could demolish your corporation outright. One famous example was the incident with Amy’s Baking Company. The restaurant received negative reviews for its poor food and service, and the owners proceeded to fight back by arguing with the people leaving the reviews. Unfortunately, the argument devolved into the owners insulting and cursing the reviewers rather than trying to learn from their mistakes. Despite attempts to recover by featuring in an episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Amy’s Baking Company permanently shuttered in 2015.

Ignoring the reviews is even worse as it shows a lack of concern for your clientele’s expectations. Ignoring the reviews and allowing them to pile up will devastate your reputation, and your business will shrivel up. One major company that learned this lesson was Nestlé, whose environmental practices were criticized by customers, only for Nestlé to ignore the reviews. This led to mass discontent and anger against the corporation, which led to profit losses for Nestlé.

Reviews have become a staple of modern commerce since consumers are more likely to believe a review from another customer than an official corporate comment. The reason is that consumers are aware that a corporation is motivated by profit, which has led to the idea that all corporations will lie to make sure their margins remain unaffected. However, by demonstrating concern for the consumers’ issues, your reputation becomes one of genuine care for their satisfaction, which will only serve to ingratiate you to them. This leads us to the next step in ensuring that your company’s reputation does not suffer.

Transparency is Key

No one likes to be lied to for any reason. This applies to us individually and when it comes to interactions with customers and the corporations they go through. Telling your lies to protect your reputation will only damage it in the long run when the truth comes out.

There might have been some behavior early in your corporation’s history that was in poor taste that you would rather keep hidden. However, transparency, along with a promise to do better, can go a long way in securing the trust of your consumers. Of course, some infractions are worse than others, but for the most part, you can secure loyalty and understanding from the public by being transparent.

This offers a huge advantage for your corporation’s overall reputation by painting you as honest and open. It also helps your customers feel like they do not have to worry about being deceived by your products. Whereas burying the truth only for it to come out later without your input will cause your image to be tainted as a corporation willing to lie to the public for profit. Deleting poor reviews is a small-scale version of this concept. Still, a larger example would be hiding a serious side effect of a product you sell and allowing your customers to fall victim rather than fix the issue.

Being Transparent With Customer

Other times, the issue is that certain business practices or employee treatment can cause issues. All that needs to be done to protect your reputation is telling the truth and improving upon your mistakes. One of the most famous examples of corporate transparency came when fast-food giant McDonald’s publicly revealed the living conditions of the chickens they used. In 2015, McDonald’s announced that they would cease the purchase of chicken eggs from cage farms to ensure the chickens were as natural as possible.

This transparency led to international praise of the corporation for revealing the truth and taking measures to correct its controversial practices. Following this example will likely lead to discontent at first, but ultimately customers will view the honesty and corrective actions as superior to the initial malpractice.

Take Your Reputation Back

Managing the reputation of a large corporation is no easy task, especially with modern platforms accelerating the rate of information dispersal. The internet has made it extremely easy for the public image of a corporation to spread to all corners of the globe. Everything from the reviews left about the corporation to the posts left on social media can make or break your corporation’s reputation. This makes managing it a crucial part of operating a successful corporation, as a poor reputation can lead to a shutdown.

The size and scope of the corporation will determine how much effort needs to go into the reputation management efforts. Often, reputation management is a full-time job that will require a dedicated branch of professionals to handle the tasks. However, sometimes staffing a public relations branch is extremely difficult and outside the realm of possibility. Fortunately, it is not something you have to do alone.

Managing Corporate Reputation

We at Reputation have assisted in managing reputations for individuals and companies alike. There are so many details that go into managing a corporate image that nothing short of a dedicated firm is enough to do so successfully.

We offer services for managing social media posts, reviews, and public relations initiatives for the company. With these services at your disposal, you will enjoy an improved public reputation while you focus your internal resources on your main service. If your reputation needs assistance, visit our website, and see what services we can offer to help you take your reputation back.

Do you have any questions or concerns about managing your corporation’s reputation? If so, please feel free to reach out and contact us at any time! We’d be more than happy to assist you however we possibly can!

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    Matt Earle

    Matt Earle, Founder of Reputation.ca, is a leading Canadian expert on online reputation management with over 15 years of hands on experience working in the space. Mr. Earle’s educational background includes an H.BSc from the University of Toronto and certification as a Google Professional. His expertise has been acknowledged through national television appearances on CBC, PBS and CTV, being a guest host on CBC radio, and numerous quotes in print and online media.