We live in a world where immense volumes of information are available to us at the touch of a keyboard. The internet has opened doorways to digital data in a way which was never imaginable and with that has come tremendous benefits for the world’s population.
Then, there’s the ease with which information can be uploaded to the internet, with rapid sharing meaning that a message is carried to millions of people in seconds. But what if that information is incorrect or even damaging to an individual, business or brand? Then those negative results can mean that a reputation can be destroyed at the same time it takes for the click of a mouse.
Online reputation management enables you to repair the damage and present a positive impression of you or your business.
Why Does Your Reputation Need Managing?
In the highly competitive business world, the consumer has an immense choice. They are presented with thousands of marketing and sales messages every day. No longer do people need to rely on the high street or first check the local newspaper to find the services and goods they need. Now they simply go online and search the pages of Google. As soon as they press enter, they can see search results from around the globe. And that comes with huge advantages for global trade.
However, it also comes with the ability for potential clients to be exposed to negative reviews and allegations just as quickly and with equal ease.
We all have preferences; whether that’s for the groceries we like from the supermarket or the restaurant chain when we want a night out. But when people have negative emotions towards certain brands, then they can quickly encourage others to follow their lead; all it takes is a negative review to lead to a company reputation crisis.
Online reputation management is often considered as being the reserve of celebrities and business moguls as they defend themselves from the news channels. However, everybody has a personal reputation, however large or small that might be. When someone attacks us on the internet with negative results, it can cloud the opinion that other people have of us.
More often than not, a business reviews our personal online reputation before offering employment or promotions. And then there is your network of personal contacts who can influence the opportunities open to you in the future; the bottom line is, that they too are checking you out on the internet.
Online Reputation Management & Search Results
It’s not unusual for people to believe the information they see on an online page. So whether that’s a ‘like’ or when the data paints a less favourable view, it can have a significant impact on the impression being made even when that’s completely unjustified.
If we take search engines as an example, type in a person’s name or a business into Google and there on the first page, you’ll see a torrent of opinions and reviews. Just how would you know if those first ones are real and justifiable or merely malicious?
The way in which those negative search results are presented on a page such as Google is simply based on an algorithm decided upon by the search engine. There is no validation as to whether the negative content is warranted; it simply achieves being number one on the search results page because of the technology sitting behind the website page. It then becomes clear that seeking the services of an online reputation management expert becomes the best option, both in a proactive and a reactive role.
Proactive Reputation Management
Providing a reputation management expert with the opportunity to proactively manage your online reputation allows for a comprehensive approach to planning, implementation and successful outcomes. Sitting alongside your marketing plan, it results in a much more effective option than having to ‘fire-fight’ time after time, due to the impact of bad press through new internet search results.
Strategies that the reputation management company can put in place for either businesses or an individual include:
Promoting Positive Content
When you publish positive content through a website page, a blog or social media channels, it can ensure that the reader can first be presented with the well informed and positive content you want them to see. Additionally, it has the benefit of good feedback pushing more negative comments further down the search results and out of the eye of potential clients and contacts.
Reputation experts understand how the search engine algorithms work by prioritising rankings. Then they get this knowledge to work for them by ensuring that pages with good comments and reviews would always be the ones that potential clients see first.
Employ Social Media Listening
Being able to assess when the tide might turn is an essential skill for reputation management experts. Through the monitoring of all social media accounts, news and press channels, the mood and emotions of those making comments and whether they like a post or not, can be carefully assessed.
Proactively Responding to Negative Feedback
We can all be swayed by others opinions, whether that’s a like on a Facebook post or an excessively harsh review. When there is perceived trust issue then our previously good impression can get turned upside down.
An online reputation management expert can help to respond to negative customer feedback proactively. They would develop a friendly conversation which stops the spreading of negative comments and reestablish trust. When it descends into conflict then you will find that your online reputation plummets, the last thing that any company would want.
Reactive Reputation Management
If your online reputation has taken a hit, then you need someone with the knowledge and experience to be able to take meaningful action to turn that situation around. The online reputation expert takes a personalised approach to address the problem and establishes the techniques needed to limit the impact of bad press.
Personal Reactive Reputation Management
As an individual, you may not have considered the need for a proactive approach to your personal reputation management. But, when you hit a crisis situation which can be devastating both to you and those around you, then you need to be able to get in touch with reputation management expert who can not only implement an immediate process to address the situation but who can then also take steps to repair your online reputation.
What is Brand Reputation Management?
When you have a robust online reputation, it creates loyalty and customer confidence, both of which are essential for driving sales and business growth. Businesses have always been highly competitive and relied heavily on marketing, but the internet and the power wielded by search engines have shifted that to another level. Now conversations about your brand name take place 24/7.
On social media platforms such as Facebook, through a personal blog or review website, there is a continual sharing of data. Perception is everything and star ratings that name and shame or even mention a brands name alongside negative reviews can result in customer decision making that cause sales to plummet. This means that it’s essential to have a prominent and very positive search engine profile.
This all creates an even higher workload, and without knowledge of the process needed to prevent negative search results, it can be both time consuming and result in limited success. Seeking the help of an online reputation management company can allow you to focus on other aspects of your business strategy.
Strategies for Online Brand Reputation Management
The online reputation management expert can take several strategies. But it’s the careful coordination and planning of these to sit alongside marketing and sales strategy which really makes the difference.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When effective SEO strategies are put in place, you secure your position at the top of the search engines the first page. This means that when people are searching on sites such as Google, then your brand’s name is the first one they see within the search results. If you’re no appearing on the first page of Google, then your competitors will, and it’s highly likely those are the websites that people will click through to.
For those in business management, online SEO and understanding the Google algorithms can at best be both challenging and time-consuming. With online reputation management in place, their expertise in SEO will do the hard work for you and drive customers to your website.
Online reputation management is also about setting the scene for others to see your brand name as a source of credible information they can trust. Whether that’s through a company blog, articles or new research, content marketing can have a strong role in the process of generating positive company profiles.
When you produce lead-generating content across a range of channels, including those sites such as Facebook it will raise awareness about the benefits of your products. Then, reputation management companies will help to ensure that your business is seen as an informative industry leader on topics that your audience has a real interest in; in turn, your website traffic will increase as will your online reputation and the opportunity to make that interest convert into sales.
It’s hard to now imagine an internet with no Facebook and the power that can come from a ‘like’, but this is a relatively new arena for many companies. For the online reputation management expert, it is an integral part of a brands reputation management.
The opportunity for businesses to be presented on customers social feed creates the best options for proactive engagement as opposed to waiting for people to type the company name into Google.
To put things into perspective, it’s anticipated that by 2021, the number of people using social media will exceed three billion. With that figure equating to some third of the world’s population, it’s clear that for businesses to get the results that they’re looking for, their social media profiles must play a prominent role in their reputation management
If you’ve ever visited a company website, where even with the help of the menu it seems impossible to find what you’re looking for, let alone email/phone contact details, then you’ll know all about the frustration that a poorly designed website can create. A strong website with an easy to navigate menu and a user experience that individuals like, will result in positive outcomes for online reputation.
When a website is easy to find your way around, people will come back time after time, resulting in an increased opportunity for you to make sale conversions.
The best reputation management companies get you the results that you really need to both increase positive engagement and safeguard your personal reputation. Whether it’s an attack on company profiles, incorrect information on Google or damaging reports on news websites, a reputation management expert can guide you through projects to repair your reputation.