12 Steps to Repair and Maintain Your Online Reputation

Repair and Maintain

The rise of social media has made online reputation management one of the most important aspects of running a business. This comes with some ups and downs for modern-day business owners. Social media and other internet platforms can help your business reach a wider audience. Still, errors are more visible, and severe errors can cause damage to your online reputation.

If you or your business has recently suffered damage to your online reputation, don’t worry; there are several ways you can address the problem and prevent similar errors from occurring in the future. Check out these steps for repairing an online reputation, and remember that the reputation management experts at BRANDefenders are always on hand to help.

1. Don’t Panic

The most important step to repairing your online reputation is to focus on deep breaths and avoid acting out of panic. Research shows that panic can cause hyperresponsitivity, which means we are more likely to take drastic measures when feeling extra anxious. Don’t make any decisions about repairing your online reputation in the immediate aftermath of the damage; instead, take several deep breaths and consider contacting BRANDefenders for sage advice about what to do.

2. Assess the Damage

Once you’re feeling calmer, it’s time to assess the scope of the damage. While a few negative comments here and there might hurt, they probably won’t necessitate any repair to your online reputation. However, it’s time for action if you’re dealing with a whole brigade of bad comments. You’ll now know what steps to take, and you can call BRANDefenders to get specific advice about repairing your online reputation.

3. Stay Focused and Realistic

In some scenarios, it might be tempting just to shut your eyes and pretend the negative feedback isn’t happening. This won’t help repair your online reputation. It’s important to respond to all feedback you receive, whether positive or negative. Repairing your online reputation involves showing your detractors that you and your business are committed to improving and ensuring that everyone interacting with your brand has as positive an experience as possible.

4. Don’t Go Silent on Social Media

Depending on the damage to your online reputation, you may be tempted to shut your social media accounts down or even delete them off the internet entirely. This will only make people think that you have something to hide, and it will also damage your brand in the long run by making it more difficult to find. 

The most effective way to cancel out negative feedback is by adding more positive feedback rather than deleting the negatives. This is why responding politely and calmly to negative social media posts is one of the best ways to repair your online reputation.

using social media to repair and maintain online reputation

Being responsive on social media is also an effective way to maintain your online reputation. The American Academy of Audiology encourages responding to all social media comments, both positive and negative, ideally within a few hours of receiving the comment. Customers are 73% more likely to trust a business with positive reviews, so you want to highlight those comments with a personal and thoughtful reply whenever possible.

5. Keep Emotions Out of It

When crafting your responses to this negative feedback, keep your emotions in check. You worked hard to build your brand and your business, and it can hurt to receive negative comments about something you’ve put so much effort into; however, it’s important not to take these things personally.

As you respond to negative feedback, you want your attitude to be clear and non-judgmental rather than defensive or combative. BRANDefenders can help coach you on the right tone to strike when responding to negative social media comments.

6. Set Specific and Actionable Goals

To repair your online reputation, set goals and actions. These will allow you to repair your reputation efficiently and effectively. You may need to assess whether a public apology is called for, or contact any impacted parties in private. Get expert advice from the reputation management professionals at BRANDefenders before reaching out directly to anyone who has left negative feedback on your website or social media profiles.

7. Release Control Where Needed

Remember, no matter what you think is the best way to repair your online reputation, you won’t be able to exert control over anyone through the internet. The best thing you can do is to control your image through your actions, words, and leadership. BRANDefenders can coach you in different ways to build trust and inspire others through your actions, including your responses to customers and your social media posts.

8. Keep Your Public Response to a Minimum

While responding to comments in public is an important aspect of maintaining and repairing your online reputation, it’s possible to take this step too far. Internet trolls are a common presence on review sites, with as many as 28% of Americans admitting to having participated in malicious online activity.

Getting sucked into a prolonged public fight with someone who is not acting in good faith will not do anything to repair your online reputation. Keep your public responses brief, cordial, and concise, and avoid responding again if the “customer” tries to bait you with further negative comments or personal insults.

9. Determine Whether Legal Action is Warranted

In some cases, the negative feedback against you might cross the line into slander, libel, or defamation, and you might be tempted to pursue legal action to punish your detractors. Unfortunately, even if you have a legitimate case, the costs and legal fees involved in such a lawsuit might not be worth it. Besides, you don’t want to gain a public image as a reactive person who resorts to legal solutions for minor disputes.

guy signing a legal doc

As you think about maintaining and repairing your online reputation, you always want to keep the bigger picture in mind. Confer with your legal counsel before filing a lawsuit or taking any legal action against people who post negative feedback about you or your brand on the internet.

10. Hire Reputation Experts

Your legal team is your first line of defense and advice when addressing any legal issues your company may be experiencing. Similarly, when it comes to figuring out how to maintain or repair your online reputation, it’s important to have a reputation management agency like BRANDefenders in your corner. 

As your business grows, it can quickly become overwhelming to try to manage and maintain every aspect of your online reputation, especially when your brand weathers damage or is exposed to extensive negative feedback. BRANDefenders agents can help you stay on top of your brand’s online presence and provide detailed advice on how to repair your online reputation.

11. Monitor Your Online Reputation Vigilantly

Keeping track of your brand’s online presence is vital to maintaining and repairing your online reputation. After all, it’s impossible to respond to positive feedback and address any potential problems if you aren’t aware of those comments, to begin with. 

Make sure your settings are configured to alert you about any activity on your business’s social media platforms. Also, have a detailed response plan and etiquette protocol in place so that your whole team is on the same page about how to respond to different types of comments.

12. Evaluate Your Results

Every business and consumer base is different, so the specific social media tactics used by one brand may not be as effective for another. You may find that your tone and approach to handling conflict on your social media pages change over time as you learn new techniques and gain confidence in your online persona. You’ll also gain new insight from working with reputation management experts like BRANDefenders.

As you continue to develop and hone different strategies for maintaining or repairing your online reputation, it’s important to evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies along the way. One way to do this is to tally up your business’s positive comments each month and compare that to the number of negative responses. Take time to celebrate your business’s successes, and make sure not to dwell in the past or bring up any previous injuries to your brand’s online reputation with new customers.

Repairing an Online Reputation Takes Time

Don’t expect immediate results when it comes to repairing your online reputation. Depending on the extent and the nature of the damage your business’s online image has suffered, it might take several actions and a lot of time to repair your online reputation. However, with a lot of patience and the help of reputation management experts like BRANDefenders, you and your brand will be able to weather the damage to your reputation in time and come out on the other side.

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