In the new world of the internet, businesses have a whole host of advantages that they didn’t have before. From the ease with which adverts can be targeted to a relevant group to the convenience of online software in everything from graphic design to accounting, the internet has been an undoubted net positive for many businesses.
However, this doesn’t change some of the old rules of doing business. It’s still, for example, important to treat your customers with respect at all times, even if you’re not in the same place as them physically while the transaction occurs. It’s also necessary to manage your reputation online – even if that means taking active steps to control it. In the face of the power of Google, this article will share some of the main tips for ensuring that your online business reputation is as clean as possible.
Produce Positive Content for Your Business
For a business or an individual who has experienced something negative being posted about them online, their first reaction is often one of anger. However, by far the best solution is to play the internet content war at its own game. Instead of responding in anger, it may instead be worth thinking about whether or not you can produce some positive content of your own, about your business, to counteract the negative information out there.
Search engines, for example, show results based on things such as relevance and uniqueness of content. If a news site covers a negative aspect of your business’s past, this is likely to be a unique article – and a relevant one. Why not produce some useful and unusual content of your own – but make it positive? This way, you’ll be likely to displace the negative material over time – and with the help of ReputationDefender, it’s simple and easy to do.
Ideas here are endless, and there are plenty from which to choose. Consider running a profile piece on your CEO, for example, and asking a leading business blog to publish it. Or think about making a fun video that reflects your company in a good light and publishing it on Google-owned sharing platform YouTube for an extra search results boost.
If someone has posted something negative about you online and you’re not able to counteract the negative effects through a self-produced positive content plan, then the first thing to do is to offer to work with the person or people who posted it in order to help them understand your position and come to an agreement over what to do next.
To a large extent, the strategy that you ought to employ here will vary based on the particular group of stakeholders in question. If customers are approaching you on social media with public-facing negative remarks, then it’s likely to not make much sense to simply delete their posts due to the ease with which social media posts can be recovered and re-posted – and it’s likely to provoke anger if you simply erase them without notice.
If it’s a journalist or a news site, however, then you could perhaps be a little tougher and point out that they have a legal responsibility to prove all assertions. You could offer to bring the journalist over to your place of work to show them what you do, or to demonstrate to them in practice that one of the assertions in their article was wrong.
The Right to be Forgotten
If all else – including libel lawsuit threats and working proactively – fails, then you may be able to take advantage of what is known as the “right to be forgotten”, under which search engines will filter old results if there is a clear and fair reason for doing so. The right to be forgotten, or the right to erasure as it is sometimes known, is an EU law. However, there is not currently any suggestion that it will be repealed when Britain leaves the EU, and so far, it is looking likely that most such laws will be preserved. However, there is no way of knowing this for certain – so if you have any need to use this law, it may well be worth taking advantage of it now, just in case.
In an age when information is now more readily available than ever, it’s perhaps inevitable that misinformation and problematic content will make its way through from time to time. Whether it’s a post from a disgruntled customer or an outright lie spread by a competitor, there are all sorts of scenarios in which problematic information may pushed around the web. Luckily, though, there are steps that you can take as a business to overcome these kinds of reputational issues and ensure that you get what you need to look after your good name.