Ben Franklin said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation — and only one bad one to lose it.”
Warren Buffett famously said a similar adage: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.
Even if you take that quote to heart and try your best to earn and keep a positive reputation online, it only takes one inappropriate tweet or one negative review to bring your positive reputation to a screeching halt.
What do you do when that happens?
In most cases, you would want to own up to the mistake, apologize and initiate a plan to prevent this from ever happening again. While it takes some time to repair the damage that has been done, you should begin to start seeing some positive feedback from your attempts to fix your mistake.
During this rebuilding process, you should also be paying attention to the following four key metrics so that you can monitor how you’re faring and what adjustments you still have to make.
1. Conversion metrics
Conversion metrics are an essential part of every online reputation strategy. In particular, you want to pay close attention to the following eight conversion metrics.
Traffic sources: You should be having visitors coming from a variety of sources like direct visitors, search visitors and referral visitors. If your reputation is damaged, people will be less likely to refer their friends or family to your business.
New or unique visitors: How are new visitors interacting on your site? Are they just browsing, curious or converting?
Returning visitors: What are your returning visitors doing when they come back to your site? More importantly, what made them revisit your website?
Interactions per visit: Monitor the behavior of your visitors so you can learn and make the right adjustments.
Value per visit: You can calculate this by the number of visits divided by total value created.
Cost per conversion: How much did it cost you to convert a visitor? It could cost more if you have a bad reputation.
Bounce rate: This is “the rate at which new visitors visit your site and immediately click away without doing anything.” For example, someone may visit your site just to see if you’re still operating or what all the negativity has been about. They could have this information almost immediately and then leave your site.
Exit pages. Go deeper in your analytics to determine where exactly visitors left your site.
You can easily — and conveniently — monitor these conversion metrics with tools like Google Analytics.
2. Social-media activity
This doesn’t mean your latest Facebook post. Social-media activity metrics examine everything from how much your audience has grown or decreased and if people are engaged with your content. You can uncover these metrics by using Facebook Insights and visiting the analytics pages on your Twitter or LinkedIn accounts.
You can also turn to tools Google Analytics, Buffer, FollowerWonk, Klout, Cyfe and SumAll. Once you’ve taken a closer look at your analytics, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions that can continue to help you repair your reputation.
3. Online reviews
If you want to really understand how you’re viewed online, poke around review sites like Yelp, Google My Business, Foursquare and other social media. Are people leaving five stars or sharing what makes your business awesome? Or, are they leaving one stars and stating why they’ll never do business with your again. It’s a daily task that sometimes can be discouraging or infuriating, but it’s essential when examining your online reputation.
Thankfully, there are a number of ways in which you can find out what people are saying about you and your brand by setting up a Google Alert and using tools like Social Mention, Hootsuite, Trackur and ReviewPush.
4. Google autocomplete
When you search for your brand, what terms appear? Hopefully, the terms that appear will be the branded keywords that you want to be known for when you started a marketing campaign. And, in a perfect world, you would also turn up positive results like “best” or “favorite.” But, what if you receive negative autocompletes like “rip off” or some other controversy?
Dan Virgillito suggests on Search Engine People that you:
Own the search term. Create mini sites that contain the search terms so that you can tell your side of the story or address the issue. Investigate. Find out why these negative terms began to appear if you’re not already aware of the origin. Don’t manipulate the terms. You’ll end up causing more harm than good. Outrank. Promote your positive content so that you can bury the negativity. Remove. This isn’t an easy task to achieve. But, you can report offensive predictions to Google or argue that you were filtered incorrectly. Again, if you’ve set-up a Google Alert or look carefully at your analytics, you’ll have an easier time in identifying any negatives from Google Suggest.