How to Build An Online Reputation to Win New Clients

Our social team had a great conversation in last week’s SEMrushchat, with guest Kevin Gibbons and our community. They discussed strategies for building an online reputation that will help businesses win new clients. Topics discussed included common ORM issues, platforms to use, strategies for building a new reputations, ways to incentivize customers, and techniques for demonstrating expertise. 

Our community shared several strategies businesses can use and things to avoid. As always, there were many great tweets to choose from, but we can only include so many in our recap. We hope the tweets we chose will give you a variety of insights and tips you can use. 

You can retweet any of the tips below by clicking on the Twitter logo next to the quote. 

Q1 What are the most common online reputation management issues every business should be aware of?

Kevin Gibbons

It’s easy to be distracted by trying to look good, but you need to focus on being great internally first – then the external perception will follow, and is much more likely to succeed, because it’s genuine.

Express Writers

Ignoring negative feedback is a big no-no. This is your opportunity to learn from your customers and make the issue right. It shows you care about them.

David Cohen

A major reputation mgmt issue businesses need to be aware of is when a person from the company, especially an exec or leader, posts something sexist, racist, misogynist, or any other content that would cause a PR nightmare or hurt customers.

Stevie Howard

I would say online trolls. I have had clients freak out because something is wrong only to find out it’s a spammer/ troll. Most companies don’t understand this concept, but it’s important to know when to douce the fire and when to let it snuff itself out.

Ben Austin

Lack of awareness – reputation damage can occur at any time! No strategy – having a strategy in place reduces the risk of various issues arising in the future. Lack of monitoring – something many small and large businesses fail to do.

Ryan Bennion

Having a contingency plan when things go wrong. Look at @PopeyesChicken. Their marketing team got a new product to go viral but stores are running out of chicken sandwiches. How were they going to handle that? They didn’t & my last visit was a lil awkward.

Q2 What platforms do you use for building your online reputation? How do you use them?

Brian Kato

I typically use @GatherUp. For me, I like having everything in one place and the ability to request reviews. Let’s face it, asking for reviews sucks and is a tedious (but necessary) task.

The Karcher Group

Every platform is an opportunity to build your reputation. No moment is too small to make an impact on a customer. It’s about speaking their language and showing a genuine interest in what they have to say. Empathy.


As a B2B agency, LinkedIn is our holy grail, a great way to connect with industry leaders and join groups. It’s definitely an underrated platform. This little site called Twitter isn’t bad either!

Don Dingee

Previous agency used @GradeUs which intercepts poor reviews and gives staff an opportunity to respond to issues before going on blast. (I see they’re in this chat. Hopefully, I summarized that right!)

Webeo Global

There are loads out there! Google Alerts, Review Push, Brand Yourself… Consistency is the key, there’s no point having them if you don’t utilise them

Ben Austin

Specifically – @AwarioApp to see what people are saying across social media. @reputology to monitor and manage online reviews in real-time. @SEOSpyGlass to help monitor backlink profiles.

Q3 The chicken and the egg reputation problem: how do you start building your online reputation if you don’t have a reputation and clients yet?

Kevin Gibbons

Eat your own dog food. Showcase your ability through thought leadership opinions/experiments, be authentic / transparent about your learnings (people will appreciate the honesty) and demonstrate your results.


When starting out you can: Provide free samples/trials for people to try and review. Incentivize people sharing their experiences online. Just ask. A simple prompt goes a long way sometimes!

Itamar Blauer

Engage, engage, engage. Find communities in your niche and start a conversation. Get yourself out there. Be consistent. You will grow. I’ve been doing this personally and it has been very rewarding thus far 🙂 Pro tip: Engage only when relevant!

Alexis Katherine

Find your target audience and jump into the conversation! Don’t worry about ‘building a reputation’ right away, just share your expertise and experience. Build up your industry and your ideal clients, and the reputation will follow.

Stevie Howard

It’s an answer people hate to hear – start from nothing. Create content, build a strategy, make a plan, a timeline, and get on appropriate networks. Then, start sharing. we all started with 0 experience. You have to do it to gain it.

Alizée Baudez

Create content and share it in groups, create conversation, and be true and honest about where you are in your process. There’s nothing bad about starting off, and people will be happy to help you along the way and share your message.

Q4 What are the ways of incentivizing your clients to share their experiences?

Cindy Li

Package it into something fun, such as a contest, a poll or a live chat. Throw out interesting questions that people love to share their insights on, such as what are some creative ways to use your products or what was the most memorable experience.

Lead Forensics

1. You could offer beta access to other areas of your product 2. Offer company swag in return for the review or the experience. Be careful though, as offering too much could cheapen your product or offer. Keep it relevant to your brand and message.

Kevin Gibbons

Think about it from their perspective. Why should they share? You need to give them a reason… There needs to be reciprocity. Your goal should be to make them look good. Do great work, build a strong relationship and then they’ll be much more likely to help.

Dan Willis

Incentivize? Get relational. Ask your community for feedback and when it comes show them you are listening through conversation. Real people connecting is often incentive enough.


Think about what would incentivize you to share your experience. Reiterate how much value they have, offer to share their experience in your space, offer goods, discounts, etc.

Alexis Katherine

Make them look good! Write case studies, for example, that make them the hero and your brand the trusty (necessary) sidekick. Be part of THEIR story, instead of making them part of yours.

Q5 What are the exact tactics of demonstrating expertise in your niche?

Ben T

Be generous! Demonstrating expertise means showing it regularly. Share information and solve problems for people in your network for no other reason than to help. Go the extra mile in breaking down the what and the why of your recommendations.

Arnout Hellemans

Help others without expecting anything in return.

Lead Forensics

1. Educate the audience. 2. Have an opinion within the industry. 3. Be transparent to build trust. 4. Be accountable for what you have done. 5. Be present in the conversation.

Kevin Gibbons

Niche is key – one of the best pieces of advice I’ve had is to aim an inch wide and a mile deep. This really helps to demonstrate that you’re a subject matter expert. It’s good to have a breath of knowledge, but you can’t know it all.

Kevin Gibbons

P.S. I love the Socrates saying ‘smart people learn from everything and everyone, average ones from experience, stupid ones have all the answers.’ The right mindset will take you to the next level!

Matt Jackson

The best ‘tactic’ is to look for situations where you can add value for people. Not being overbearing, being condescending or patronising, but genuinely where you can help, offer a constructive opinion. You have to earn the right to have your expertise trusted.

Do You Have Any Suggestions for Online Reputation Management?

If so, please share them in the comments below. We also want to thank everyone that participated in the chat. We will be looking for your expert insights this week; SEMrushchat starts at 11 am ET/4 pm BST on Wednesday, September 4th.

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