Case Study: How Raven helped save our brand
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and just five minutes to ruin it.” — Warren Buffet
In an online world your reputation is everything. Clients used to ask only their friends and relatives before deciding to do business with a company, but now have a friend in Google. It’s not hard to imagine what happens when your potential customers ask their new friend about your company and it returns some nasty pages. And the importance of businesses monitoring social websites like Twitter and Facebook or online forums cannot be overemphasized.
The fact that buying is becoming a social experience is no secret to experienced marketers, but SMBs don’t always realize this. What’s more, there’s great risk of losing potential customers due to high ranking web pages that are intent on hurting your reputation, and that’s too great to ignore. Even though most large businesses are aware and pay big bucks for online tools and companies to manage their online reputation for them, smaller businesses normally are not proactive in this regard.
What I’m trying to say is that providing a great service and being transparent is not enough, especially for a small business. Although my company VMInnovations has a more than 99.5% satisfaction rating in online marketplaces, it takes just one high ranking negatively slanted page for us to lose potential customers. Unfortunately, the web is filled with examples where fake and negative reviews about SMBs are pretty much shutting down their businesses. Case in point:
As a business owner and or marketer, you would do a great service for yourself and your customers if you are:
- Present in communities where your customers are engaging in conversations
- Joining the conversations and showing that you really care
- Recognizing and rewarding your outspoken fans/evangelists
- Proactively monitoring your brand name and building your online reputation
- Dealing with online complaints while they are hot and addressing potential fake reviews
How we’re using Raven for brand reputation management
Here are some real world examples of our company “walking the talk” so to speak and how Raven Tools helps us in the process.
Listening and engaging with our customers
A couple of veteran members of a fairly popular car audio site posted a question in a forum asking whether anyone has ever bought from us before and if we were a legit business. Since we monitor our brand name using Raven’s Social Monitor, this forum thread was immediately on our radar.
After a few days of following the discussion, we joined the conversation to address the original question by providing useful, relevant information. One week and 1,000+ thread views later, we had gained several real customers, and more importantly, won some loyal fans that spread the word in other communities about our company.
Another potential customer on Yahoo! Answers posted a deal we were offering on a product we sell and noted that it sounded too good to be true. We immediately addressed the issue and explained the reason behind the deal — which resulted in an immediate positive response and most likely a sale.
Not too long after that, another question popped up asking whether our website is safe to purchase from. Again, we addressed the issue and provided links to independent third party sites proving our validity that the potential customer appreciated.
Reducing the visibility of damaging websites
Since questions about the legitimacy of our company continued to be posted online that referenced negative pages found on Google, we decided to look deeper into the issue. Upon searching our brand name with various important key phrases, such as “company name + ebay,” “company name + coupon” and “company name + review,” several “negative” web pages continued to rank high on Google search results with alarming consistency. Since more than 90% of our search visitors use Google to find us using some of these keywords, we investigated the said pages further using Raven’s Backlink Explorer.
The results were pretty shocking:
Some of these “review” pages had more than 1,500 backlinks with the above mentioned anchor texts. This tactic allowed the pages to rank very high on the first pages of search engines for many highly relevant trademark keywords. We don’t know who did this but immediately reached out to the website owners, some of whom responded by removing the pages. Others, such as www.pissedconsumer.com, have not responded to our inquiries. We reported that page via Google Spam Report and hope that others with similar experiences make their voice heard.
To help reduce the visibility of reputation damaging sites in the meantime, we are also promoting our social media profiles on sites including Twitter and Facebook. Due to these sites’ strong Domain Authority, getting high rankings for trademark keywords should be relatively easy. To aid you in the process, I would recommend using KnowEm to see which usernames are available and get busy registering – or just let KnowEm do it for you.
As powerful as these tools are, they are just a part of what you get within Raven’s arsenal. It would be great to hear your tips and strategies on this subject, so please share them in the comments.
Khushbaht Abdulloev (a.k.a Lucky) manages affiliate marketing and SEO efforts at VMInnovations, an online retailer focused on providing the best online shopping experience including superior customer service and the lowest prices for a great variety of products.