Online Reputation Management in China

Written by: Danielle Minja, Communications Officer 


As a society, we have placed heavy emphasis on our interactions, and one of the most common ways we solve the intense pressure that comes with meeting people is by first looking them up on the internet. So, if you’re worried about something you posted or something that was posted about you or your family, it’s probably best to look into Online Reputation Management.


On our YouTube channel, we have made videos on online reputation management mainly focusing on Canada, the US, the UK, and even Australia. To continue that series, we sat down and spoke with Crisis Management expert Yan Yan, Executive Director of PowerBJ a PR firm based in Beijing, China.

How different is online reputation management in China?

When asked about the main difference between reputation management between China and Canada, Yan says, “The main difference between China and Canada is that China uses Baidu instead of Google as their main search engine.” So because of that, reputation management tends to be done in a highly specialized way, though not too different from the way that it is done in other countries. One main goal for reputation or crisis management in China is to ensure that you can get ahead of the problems that may arise, and be prepared with various resources to solve those issues. Yan says, “Usually, we prepare 10-15 articles for one brand that we work with so that if a crisis happens we are able to publish fast and solve it.” This focus on preparation ensures that the company, no matter its size, can get ahead of its competitors and any potential public relations issues. 


The most interesting thing is that on the surface level there seems to be no difference between online reputation management in China compared to the rest of the world. So you may be wondering, why did we write this blog post? The answer is simple. Despite the many similarities, what helps you become successful at reputation management in China is noticing the differences and using them to your advantage. This blog post will highlight the notable techniques and teach you how you can successfully manage your online reputation in China and on Chinese websites. 

How do online reputation management campaigns work in China?

In China, most public relations and crisis management firms are what help manage your online reputation, and most larger companies decide to create teams that are specially set to manage their reputations and deal with any crisis that may occur. Yan has worked in the field of crisis management for over 10 years, working for a firm that successfully managed the reputations of various companies. Yan says, “Different companies have different needs and requirements and demands.” This can include companies that have had a crisis occur as well as companies that are thinking ahead and would like some consultation before a crisis were to happen. Due to the uniqueness of each case, the campaigns, according to Yan, “can last 2-3 days or even months or years.” 


As mentioned above, the main strategy employed when a company contacts Yan, is to create 10-15 articles in advance to publish fast, however before that occurs there are other strategies employed. One of the main strategies is to regularly monitor Baidu and learn in real-time if a company needs reputation management and use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. (This will be discussed further below / Read more to learn how!). A more common technique is also to use apps that can help monitor Baidu and other websites and search engines and alert you if the company’s name is used in any way.

Search Engine Optimization in China (Baidu)

One of the only ways to fix your online reputation is to be able to alter the search engine results by creating positive content that can rank on the first page of search engines like Google. This is the same instance in China, however, their main goal is to always be proactive in their approaches. According to Yan, “Usually, instead of looking for bad news on the first page of Baidu we monitor situations and brands before the negative content hits.” One of the ways that this is achieved is by having connections to journalists and other media publishers that could inform them of the story before it’s published. “Pre-monitoring can be done through connections to journalists or editors of media sites. In their meetings, as they discuss potential stories, you can find out early if your brand or company will be receiving bad news,” says Yan.  


Once they have found the negative news, a ranking system of small, medium or large is used to determine the severity of the problem. Once that is determined, they can use this to plan out the strategy to be used. Depending on the level of the problem, this tells Yan where he can publish the positive content to suppress the negative media. If the media is very negative, Yan says, “Another way to remove the negative media is to delete it or block the website.” When publishing positive content, there are high-ranking sites such as People’s Daily which is a government media site. These are usually very expensive and can be difficult for smaller companies, however, there are other ways to publish high-ranking media. “Thanks to our experience, we also have websites that are cheaper but are still able to rank high,” says Yan. 


How can you fix your online reputation in China?

Fixing your online reputation in China is possible when you employ a combination of pre-monitoring or fast response to a crisis, writing and publishing positive high-ranking content, and deleting or blocking the negative content where necessary. To monitor your reputation, Yan says, “There is a monitoring platform called Meltwater that is able to track information across the globe, not just in mainland China. There are also other platforms that are cheaper that can be used to also track social media platforms like WeChat, Weibo, TikTok.” 


To help you create an impact on Chinese search engines and maintain a positive reputation online, Yan suggests, “First, always pay attention to your brand and your product to ensure you are offering quality products or services. Second, you should also monitor the competitors in your industry or field to gain experience and to ensure you do not make the same mistakes as your competitor.” 


One easy way to create and easily monitor your online reputation is by creating a social media account on websites like Weibo, TikTok, or WeChat. From there you can control what is published and ensure that the content is positive. However, if you have a larger company or brand, it might be worth having a reputation management firm or team to help you. 


Need help with your online reputation? You can contact us directly here.