One of the scariest aspects of the online world for advisors is the lack of control they have about their brand. It’s the gift and the curse of the Internet: anyone can say anything at any time. This can become even more of a challenge for those in the financial industry, as there are often barriers that prevent advisors from interacting on the web in a way that someone in a less restrictive field can. Oftentimes we see this used as an excuse not to get involved with social media and digital marketing, but the truth is that these conversations are occurring, whether you are online to manage it or not. Black marks, from a poor comment on a review site to a negative newspaper editorial, can appear anywhere on the web threatening your business’ online reputation. So the question is: what can you do about it?
Investment News highlighted one example about a firm that had a negative Yelp review. In this situation, standard online customer service etiquette encourages businesses to respond to a negative comment as swiftly and transparently as possible. But, because managing a page like Yelp (or Google) would appear to be leveraging testimonials as a part of a firm’s marketing plan, advisors do not have this option.
So, how can advisors alleviate a negative online blemish? The trick is to combat an unfavorable reputation by building a positive one. The good news is, if you’re an advisor that has been taking all the correct actions to build and engage your digital presence with social media and valuable content on your website, you’re already on the right track to having a spot-free online persona.
While you can’t simply erase negative mentions of yourself online completely, there are ways to push them out of Google’s and other search engine’s top search results with better, and more positive, content.
First, you need to know what is being said about you and your firm so you can take action as soon as possible when needed. Set up Google Alerts to help you get up-dated information on where and what is being said about you. If you are looking for an additional, more in-depth tool for social media mentions, give Mention a try. It often catches conversations on social media that Google Alerts missed.
How Many Times Do We Have to Say It? Get Social.
Get all of your social profiles up and running, and optimized, if they aren’t already–which they should be if you’ve been reading this blog long enough! These platforms are important because they let you show off the positive persona that you want your online reputation to embody, and they will show up higher in search rankings when complete and optimized. Having more social profiles appear on the first page of a Google search leaves less room for the bad stuff. Think outside of the box and create profiles for less common (but important) networks such as Google+, or sites just for advisors like FPAnet, NAPFA (for annuity providers), or BrightScope.
Blog, Blog and Blog Some More.
Utilize your advisor blog. Not only is the blog on your website a great resource for content that you control, but it also provides an incredible SEO opportunity. Make sure you’re cranking out original content that is a reflection of the trustworthy expert that you are. Instead of posting only one blog every week, up your content to twice a week during times of a reputation crisis. Make sure to include a lot of links back to your website and use those long-tag keywords to get your blog and website to show up in those top search results. You can also take advantage of partnerships that you have and guest blog on other company websites. The more content you have out there, the better chance you have at pushing negative reflections off of the initial page of search results.
Unfortunately, there could be many reasons that you need to pick up your online reputation management game, but there are ways to compliantly combat digital downers, even for advisors. One of the overarching benefits of utilizing social media is that it allows you to create, grow, and manage your brand in a positive and genuine light. If social media wasn’t a priority already for your advisor firm, we hope, for the sake of your online reputation, it is now. With such a powerful tool at your fingertips, don’t hesitate to take advantage of it!