Online brand reputation management for e-resident founders

The key to gaining control of brand reputation online to avoid damage to your business

Photo by Zan on Unsplash

Reputation on the Internet is a strange thing. If you do not manage it, your competitor will.

That is why entrepreneurs need to gain control of their reputation right off the bat to prevent the dangerous effects of any potential scandals.

What is Brand Reputation Management?

‘Reputation’ is the beliefs and opinions people hold about something. In this article, we are discussing the reputation of your business brand.

Your existing and potential clients, partners, customers, or employees will form beliefs and opinions about your business according to what they see or hear about it. When they are deciding whether to buy your products or work with you, they will look for information or ask others about you wherever it’s possible.

Thus, there are two things to consider here: first, this information needs to be easy to find; and second, it should cast your business in a good light.

Learning how to properly promote and market your company is a great way to lay the foundations for a strong brand reputation. Read some tips about how to get started with promoting your Estonian company on the e-Residency Knowledge Base.

When speaking about reputation in the online environment, ask yourself: What sources do people trust? Where can they get information about your brand? Typically, the audience trusts data from the Internet, news portals, or social networks. Those are the areas where it’s crucial to manage ‘e-reputation’.

What’s important to understand here is that Internet users do not read news websites from cover to cover. Instead, 90% of people consume information from news feeds and titles. That’s why a brand’s positive mentions are a must on all online platforms or wherever your target audience is. 

It’s necessary to remember that e-reputation ‘lives’ in the search results. And information comes from news portals there as well. 

How to remove negative information in the media about your brand?

There are numerous reasons for negative mentions in the media. Who said your business couldn’t be a victim of black public relations (PR) or competitor attacks? There are no guarantees.

While no company is immune to brand attacks, at least e-residents are safe from bureaucracy and free to spend more time on creating value for their business. Learn about all the benefits of e-Residency:

So how to remove or at least soften the potential power of negative mentions? There are several methods.

And let’s start with things you shouldn’t do. Once you find a scandalous article about your company, the first thing to do is … nothing. At least, don’t do anything sudden. Why? Well, you don’t want to spread negative information further

Most brand owners will react to bad news in a typical fashion: they will click on and visit the article more than once, refresh it hundreds of times, urgently send it to other employees and management, scatter it in chats, and even comment on the article that it’s a dirty puff piece or share it on social media… The result? In doing this, you’ll dig your own grave. Why? Well, search engines won’t realise that you are paying so much attention to the publication because it is negative. Rather, they respond in line with their own algorithm, which might be something like: ‘wow, what a popular article, everyone loves it so much, therefore I will show it as often as possible!’ 

So, if you see negative news about your company on the Internet, stay cool!  Put it aside, take screenshots, analyze ways to best neutralize the situation. If the article is on a news site, you can contact the site’s editorial office to get it removed. There’s a chance it will work. It’s another story is if a competitor posted it on their own website. Then, it makes sense to contact professionals who know how to build the power of other articles and displace negatives. 

And never make the mistake of leaving such publications to chance. Instead, monitor the media space and work to stay ahead of any crisis case. A good way to do this is to make sure your own good news is more searchable than the bad news. Publishing or sharing positive news about your company in high quality (not third-rate!) news and media resources with a high traffic rate is a must. It will help to ensure good behavioral factors for search engine results pages (SERPs) for your business. And while posting content on obscure websites with less traffic means less to search engines, don’t give up on those either: they play their second violin great and can strengthen the credibility of news on a major publication. 

Another way to boost your brand is to try to displace negative publications out of search results. Search engines like Google do their best to make SERPs as diverse as possible so that once there’s a specific query, the results come up in line with a built-in proper news rating system. There are a myriad of factors affecting what news will come up at the top. But what we can do is to manage the significant one – the number of news links. The bigger the number of links in a given publication – the more value it has for Google. 

So let’s say there is a negative article about your business on a little-known resource but with enough links to it so that it’s on the first page of Google SERPs. But when you look on the second page of the SERPs, you see another article about your company with positive behavioral factors on a reputable online resource. In this situation, to displace the bad news, it’s crucial to strengthen the good news. And the best way to do this is to make other websites link to the positive article. As the links to this page increase, it’s place in the SERPs will gradually go up, and hopefully displace the negative article.

Conclusion

If you think that reputation management means removing negatives only, think again. The truth is that it brings tons of extra advantages and perks, just because it is a part of a good marketing plan and PR processes of a company. Thanks to informative, positive publications, you can also find new clients and partners, and be attractive to new employees. All the perks!

Photo: Laura Nestor

This is a guest post written by Natalia Storozhuk of PRNEWS.IO, an international sponsored content online store and trusted member of the e-Residency Marketplace. Learn more about working in partnership with e-Residency.

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