If you’ve ever worked in the corporate world, then you know that a crisis can debilitate an organization’s reputation.  Whether the source is external (natural disaster), or internal (employee lawsuit), it’s how the organization and its leaders handle the crisis that is most crucial to saving face.

In most cases, especially at larger corporations, crisis communication strategies are implemented and ready to be executed should a mishap occur.  Perhaps more relevant today than in the past, it is clear that effective PR strategies are critical for managing unfortunate situations.

These same practices can be applied to managing a business’ or individuals’ online reputation.  Similar to how a solid crisis communications plan covers unplanned situations at the office, having an online reputation management strategy in place will help mitigate crises that occur via the internet.

Here are three best online reputation management practices that you can implement should a crisis arise.  

Do damage control

Nearly 90 percent of consumers read business’ responses to online reviews. Further, Google has confirmed that responding to reviews improves SEO value.  As a business, responding quickly and proactively to negative online reviews or complaints is the first step to maintaining positive PR.    Respond to public social media comments in a helpful way that strives to offer solutions to the poster’s problem.  

The silver lining to a negative review – customers are typically forgiving if they see you trying to right a wrong and will often overlook a few negative reviews if most of the reviews are positive.

Monitor your online reputation

It’s not enough to respond only to crisis situations; rather, it is also important to maintain your online reputation as a part of your daily public relations strategy.  By monitoring your company websites, social media accounts and brand name, you can make reputation management a part of your ongoing internet marketing efforts.  

Proactively monitoring your online reputation be done in a few ways, including: searching social hashtags and reviewing content, claiming your business on review sites, contributing to a company blog, searching your competitor’s websites and setting up a Google Alert with your company and brand name so you receive emails anytime a customer leaves a review.

Use SEO to leverage yourself as an expert

Search engine optimization works parallel with reputation management when executed properly.  Here, adding hyperlinks to other positive content in the first paragraph of a company press release can get your brand to rank higher on search results, thus overtaking negative ones.  Companies can also elect to create a strategic content plan and implement it weekly as long as the content itself is relevant or adds value. Create searchable social channels, videos and new landing pages to manage your company’s search result narrative.

In today’s digital age, making reputation management a part of your public relations plan is essential to the success of your business.  Don’t wait for a crisis to hit; instead, carve out regular time from your schedule or hire a reputation management company that specializes in SEO and best practices to do the legwork for you.

Matt Earle

Founder & President

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.