One of the off-shoots of the SEO business is using web page placement strategies to help manage visibility on the search engine displays. When a bit of negative content appears, the natural reaction on the part of most business owners is to find a way to simply get rid of it. Using SEO strategies, it is possible to displace negative content, but in the end, understanding how negative content appears is part of a better strategy to prevent this content from ever being published. Negative content lives forever – even if it is on page 2, so it is best to do all things possible to prevent it from every being created.
Managing the Brand
Social media and a maturing internet culture have brought personal and company brand images onto the same platforms. When something goes wrong or if mistakes are made, not only is the company image going to suffer, but there is significant potential for individual brands to be negatively impacted. This is true for company Presidents all the way down to the Customer Service Manager. When published, a poor customer experience can have a significant impact on bot the company on the individuals involved.
Managing the brand now implies that each individual within an organization is responsible for maintaining a positive company brand image because each person has a social channel and can impact public perception because of her/his position with the organization. Each individual also has a personal brand image that is associated with the organization, so it is important to maintain positive personal profiles and interactions on social channels and platforms outside of the company control.
Managing Customer Relationships
The most likely source of negative content that can impact an organization’s reputation is poor customer service. Making sure each customer receives the promised value for her/his purchase is a simple and solid way to ensure that negative content doesn’t find its’ way to the web. Post-purchase follow-up and direct contact with the customer is a simple strategy, but one that is frequently forgotten. Making sure the customer is happy is a solid investment in one’s brand.
Managing Internal Relationships
A few weeks ago, AOL announced that it was ‘restructuring’ its 401(k) contribution plan for the employees that helped turn the company into a viable business entity. The 401(k) restructuring plan looked great from the company standpoint, but upon closer look, employees realized that unless they stayed the entire year working for AOL, they might not receive their entire contribution. Employees weren’t happy and said so. Of course this chatter found its way onto public social platforms. Making matters worse, the company executives announced that they were scaling back some contributions to employee health plans, citing some very expensive treatments they had to pay for to treat babies of a couple AOL workers. This last bone-headed move also lit up the social wires.
Treating workers well is every bit as important as treating customers well. Negative information can easily become negative content that can impact the organization’s brand image. Treating workers well supports a positive brand image. And just like making sure customers are happy, it is equally important to make sure that workers are just as happy. After all, employees have extensive personal social networks, and once negative information gets out, it is very difficult to counter.
The simple process of communicating well can prevent most problems. Most organizations are fairly good at anticipating customer needs, likes and dislikes and take appropriate action to avoid problem. Frequently overlooked though are the attitudes, tastes and preferences of workers that manage the company and participate in the customer service process. Clear communication and reasonable decisions can minimize the danger of negative content being released into the internet world.
Matthew Stone is an accomplished SEO expert, digital marketer and is experienced in Social Media Management. Since 2008, Matthew has helped clients attract build online relationships, expand sales and increase revenues. He also works in Denver Public Relations with GroundFloor Media.
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