Major Internet Reputation Mistakes Made By Organizations
Organizations can be a threat to their own internet reputation when they do not know how to conduct themselves online.
When facing such a scenario, many organisations try to take the matter into their own hands when it comes to reputation management.
Unfortunately, this is done incorrectly in many cases, which makes matters worse. Most companies end up making a gaffe of themselves that cost them in terms of customer trust.
Before engaging in online reputation management (ORM), corporations need to avoid the common pitfalls by recognising major internet reputation mistakes.
Most Common Online Reputation Mistakes
1. Not implementing policies or changes to repair the reason for the damage:
Organisations need to immediately respond to a reputation crisis internally and externally, but many of them choose to address external factors before implementing policies or changes to repair the reason for the damage within their companies. Ignoring most important root causes is not a smart way to handle a reputation crisis.
For example, a company might be receiving customer complaints and negative reviews because of lack of customer support options. It may focus on removing these negative reviews than addressing the root cause of the problem, which may be as simple as installing a toll-free number in addition to providing support on email and social media.
2. Lash out against hate-authors
Never badmouth a hate-author. Actually, it’s never a good idea to trash anyone online. This goes for critics, competitors, or any one that annoys you. In fact, you may be stretching the hate without realising it; the author of the content can turn your anger into a false validation for his or her online smear campaign.
By example, The Dark Horse Café received a tweet where the company was criticised for lacking enough electrical outlets in their chains. The café said, “We are in the coffee business and not in the office business. We have plenty of outlets to do what we need.” This was reported as a negative PR case. By having an objective view about the hate author, you will be better able to tackle the problem in a calm, organised manner.
3. Threatening with legal without trying to resolve it with communication first
Again, if someone says something nasty about a company, it may threaten the critic or bad reviewer with legal action without trying to resolve it with communication first. Reputation management can’t be effective unless you know what should be the first course of action. Companies taking legal action before considering anything else are likely to incur more expenses, and that too for solving a case of negative reputation issue that might have been solved with just a polite email.
Taking legal action may also portray a lack of confidence on your part. So when you want to solve a reputation crisis originating from negative reviews, or a blog that hosts a bad experience of a customer in the form of a blog post, you might first want to send a polite email discussing what lead to the negative experience. If these were done on purpose, you should contact the hosting company of the site or blog. Hate speech can also be reported to hosting companies.
4. Engage in Black-Hat SEO
Many corporations try to bury negative content in search engines by taking SEO shortcuts; artificially inflating search rankings of web pages promoting positive content about their business. However, search engines have grown intelligent to these short-term tactics and would penalise black hat SEO approaches.
In this case, a company might create several web pages filled with positive content about its brand and get links from shady internet farms or directories in order to inflate their importance over web pages filled with negative content, but this approach will get penalised by search engines and, in some instances, the artificially inflated web pages and websites hosting them will get permanently removed from search engine results. JCPenney is a popular company that became a classic example of a company penalized for engaging in link manipulation.
5. Not monitoring reputation proactively
There have been several instances where organisations only get concerned when something bad happens. It’s important to respond to negative comments, public relation backlashes and customer complaints; if you’re AWOL, your reputation might take a dip as everyone will be wondering what’s up with your absence.
Think of it this way: it would be much easier to control your reputation when you have a long history of positive social media updates, positive customer interaction and positive reviews when that unfortunate customer complaint rears its ugly head. Proactive monitoring will also gain your business natural brand ambassadors who promote a positive image of your organisation.
What should be done?
Before embarking on a reputation clean-up project, organisations can avoid these mistakes and benefit from reputation management best practices by getting a consultation from a reputation specialist like Massive first.
30 percent of reputation cases taken on by Massive are resolved through benign discussion. A gentle approach can work wonders, even for the most upset consumer and sometimes even with adversaries. Appealing to the human behind the hate is just psychology 101.
Additionally, fully cleaning search results can cost thousands, with even the most mundane services starting at $5,000 (£3,000). Whether the author of the defamation is right or not, settling through a refund or making good on real or imagined damages can be the fastest and most economical method of resolution.
But of course, this does not always work.
Every case is different and understanding how the defamation came about, the source of it (if known) and what has been to resolve it is very important to determine the next steps.
The majority of cases we see have backfired on the client due to one or more of the mistakes above being attempted.