Nowhere is reputation more important than in financial services. Customers commit large amounts of money with the expectation that advisors will make competent, ethical decisions about their finances. Serious clients aren’t likely to choose a firm without doing considerable research and once they find negative content online it will quickly undo any positive recommendations they might have received previously. Research has shown that just one negative article can cost a business as much as 22 percent of its new clients. Three unflattering stories almost triples the damage to 59 percent.
Negative results can appear on the internet via many different sources. When analysing a negative reputation in our experience the most likely sources are unhappy customers, dissatisfied former or current employees, and bad reports from regulatory agencies can all become sources of unwanted publicity. A relatively new threat to a finance firms reputation and their good standings, is that of hacking a data breaches. These occurrences are becoming more common and the the impact these events can have on a firms repuatation can not be under estimated, the potential loss of trust between consumer and firm is the most damaging of all threats.
Contact one of privacy specialist to learn more about what you firm can do to protect against hacking, cyber security, data breaches and spear phishing.
Gaining Ground on Google
Whatever the source, this negative content will be a problem if it ranks on a search for the firm, and it may take considerable time and money to turn the situation around. Simply publishing your own positive content is unlikely to have adequate results. Negative news posted on a high-traffic site will garner a lot of clicks. You will have to match this level of attention with the firm’s blogs, website articles and other target results to make Google rate this content as more relevant.
An active social media presence is one of the main ways companies have been able to clean up a tarnished reputation. Building strong profiles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will give you a place to promote content about the firm and have it read and shared by followers. As these results attract more clicks and likes they will start gain ground against negative posts.
It’s also important to get articles published by independent sources that reflect the firm in a positive light. Achieving mentions on platforms which Google rates higher than those hosting the negative articles (news sites or financial journals for example) will push the unwanted results even farther down the page. Positive recommendations from industry authorities and financial watchdog groups will also help to show that the firm has good standing throughout the field and reduce the amount of damage one negative article can do.
The best way to avoid a major reputation issue is to build a strong online profile from the very beginning. An active social media presence and a lot of high-traffic, positive results will make it harder for negative material to rank on page one where it will be seen. Once negative content does appear it will start cutting business almost immediately and it costs a lot more to fix a reputation than to create one. Firms should expect to invest a minimum of several thousand pounds a month for three to four months to get their reputation back on track. Serious damage control can run into the tens of thousands of pounds and may need to be kept up for a year or more.