Reputation management (often referred to as rep management, online reputation management or ORM) is the practice of attempting to influence or control an individual's or business' public perception. Though, fundamentally, a public relations term, the advent of the Internet and social media has drastically changed the landscape of reputation management.
There are numerous misconceptions about online reputation management or protecting your online reputation from being abused. While some people think it’s just social media monitoring, many believe that it’s all about public relations. Unfortunately, many have literally no idea how this can impact businesses of any dimension and individuals of any stature.
Even a decade ago, the Internet was far different than what it’s today. Companies were selling products or services to a passive audience and there was no way for consumers to vent out their voice - their grievances; and the entire approach or hierarchy was very ‘top-down’.
The situation has radically changed in just a few years. Today, websites are no longer static brochures. Nowadays, user participation is a must for any website. Nonetheless, regular interactions on social networks are vital for the success of any business.
No matter how big or small you’re; today your customers, prospects, and anybody else can talk about you; or talk against you. Today, just a 140 characters’ tweet can ruin your brand’s reputation overnight. Hence, you need to know who’re talking about you, or your business. You need to keep yourself abreast on any voices, opinions, and reviews that are directed at your business.
Nowadays, fake Internet reviews and attack websites are becoming very common. A single such review can trash your business’ reputation online. If you think you can skip this, you are making a great mistake.
Protection, Monitoring, and Defense - these are the three essential steps that you should take to protect your brand being a business owner.
First of all, you need good, positive, and a good number of reviews for your brand. In order to get that, you can embark on a program, which could reach out to your satisfied customers and request them to evaluate your services. From here, you need to add more and relevant material on the Internet so that positive materials eventually occupy the top places in Google SERPs. Industry experts suggest that it’s better to focus on prevention than to try to fix an unfavorable and negative situation.
All these preventive measures also serve as positive marketing and eventually help a business build integrity and earn more credibility whenever a potential customer ‘Google’ their brand. There are additional preventive measures too, which both small and mid-sized businesses should consider. For instance, sometimes, asking the employees and even customers sign contracts that refrain them from posting any derogatory or defamatory materials on the web.
Businesses, small, mid-sized, or large, whatever, need to address problems right away whenever they appear to keep their brand name undiminished. But if you fail to find the loopholes, what would you address? Hence, experts suggest that it’s important for businesses to remain vigilant of any kind of online problems, uncover them, and fix them quickly.
However, issues become more complicated (often impossible to deal with) as time goes by. Often it’s seen that businesses come down in damage recovery when it’s too late - sometimes, when they’ve lost almost 50% or more in revenue.
Much less remains to do at this point of time due to the age of the material. Therefore, it’s recommended that businesses run a weekly program (either manual or automated) to check for any blemishes on their brand name. Putting a query in Google with your company name might help you find new items each week.
According to experts, the toughest task is defending your brand when it’s under attack and vulnerable. Suppose you wake up one morning and find something heinous about your business published online, and unfortunately, which is 100% fictitious. What would you do?
Experts suggest that you shouldn’t freak out in such a situation, though you find the problem to be exceptionally scary. You should logically assess your abilities to handle the situation and act quickly. If you feel helpless, you can seek help of a PR and reputation management company, but you could do the following in between:
In today’s digital landscape, brand reputation is everything. It can make your sales skyrocket, or suffer unprecedented losses. Hence, it seems rational to remain proactive so that your name remains intact and grows.
Don’t miss out - Online Reputation Management - Protect Your Good Name