Long gone are the days when word of mouth and print media coverage were the sole custodians when it came to reputation management. Reputation management is the skill of styling the reputation of a given entity in front of its external stakeholders.
In today’s aggressive competitive landscape, brands and businesses need reputation management the most. It is obvious that we thrive in a dynamic ecosystem that is almost constantly evolving and continuously witnessing change.
The rapid growth of media and communications can be partly attributed to internet penetration in today’s world. The ascent of the internet has also generated a plethora of online platforms. The data recorded in these online platforms can be lingering in this virtual landscape forever.
Such information once recorded or “posted” cannot be taken back or withdrawn, this can have a huge impact on reputation. Hence, managing a business’ reputation online has become a very prevalent phenomenon in this day and age.
Having just a website to represent your business online can leave you in a dangerous position. If anyone posts something negative about you on social media, those comments could show up for your business name searches and reflect negatively on your company.
Online reputation management and repair has been a swelling portion of online marketing for quite some time now. The logic is simple: as more and more companies and businesses are moving online, managing the reputation of that firm online is supremely essential.
By now, it is safe to say that if a business doesn’t actively invest in building their online presence and reputation, they will more likely be incurring considerable costs later in the form of lost revenues, fixing unforeseen damage, and redeveloping the presence they neglected all over again.
Creating a perfect product and doing everything it takes to manage the business successfully do not necessarily make you a great communicator in the era of the internet.
Here are a few tips that can help you understand more about online reputation management and deal with it better.
It is mandatory for every business to have a website of itself. A website is your company’s online identity and it must be given a lot of importance. Merely having a website is not enough. You must constantly update it and make sure it’s informative, interactive and to the point. From the About Us page to the Products and Services page, every detail should be carefully outlined and furnished with creativity that sets your website apart from the rest. The website of The Glitch and Black Negative are examples of splendidly interactive websites.
2. Build your presence on all internet properties
Your company must have an account on social platforms like Twitter and Facebook. If your business exists in a more competitive background wherein you need to constantly differentiate yourself then you will also have to have social media handles on Instagram and YouTube especially if you ought to be visual. LinkedIn pages work better for companies in the B2B business.
3. Be active on social media accounts
The one thing that is worse than not having a social media presence is managing the existing presence badly. This can bring about serious damage to your firm and tamper reputation. You need to develop your audience, engage them with good content and sustain them. This increases your influence and engagement score.
Constantly posting content on your social media handles will also outrank the negative comments posted about your business and help your business foster a positive and welcoming image.
4. Create unique and engaging content
Having social accounts and posting on them regularly will not really add value to your business if your content is boring and redundant. The content that goes up on your social media must be unique and relatable so that it interests your audiences.
Blogging is also a very important tool when it comes to online reputation management. Using SEO in blogging can improve your site’s rank if used with the right keywords. Since blogs are sort of homegrown content, it provides you with an avenue to directly respond to customer’s queries and assertions. There are services available now that provide bloggers outreach and create unique and engaging content for a company, thereby helping them improve their SEO and online reputation.
5. Don’t get your hands dirty
It is very easy to get plunged into an online argument and make things worse than better for your business. Even if you are right, you will damage some reputation by coming off as petty, rude or just unprofessional. Or, you might just be wrong, and that could be even worse. Once emotionally invested, you may end up saying things that can be very harmful for your reputation and would certainly have no scope for undoing.
The most plausible approach to such a scenario is to take the argument offline and then try to diffuse it. Be super polite and nice in your online conversations because all of that is something that can get permanently recorded. Your polite and professional approach when handling an argument offline can potentially win you more customers than you trying to be proven right in the argument.
6. Do not hesitate to invest
Online reputation management needs both time and money investment. Most small businesses are either simply ignoring the importance of online reputation or doing it part-time, as per their convenience. What they fail to realize is how much credibility, PR and engagement they are missing out on, that in turn, actually helps them get business.
Online reputation management which includes managing social media handles should be considered vital for a business’ growth. It is possible that as a businessman/woman you may not have the skills required to manage the online community and for such an individual, doing so might just create more problems than solving them. So go ahead and make the investment. Hire a social media expert, a digital marketer who can create digital marketing strategies or get someone more familiar with the online world to do it. You will reap the benefits for sure!
7. Protect associations
Every individual associated with your business is tied to it. Managing the online reputation of such beings is as important as managing the business’, they are one and the same after all.
Create a strong social media presence for all your owners’, founders’, and/or executives’. Link their designations on LinkedIn and make sure they exhibit thought leadership and share/post content that in no way damages your firm’s reputation. It is also advised to keep your personal life private online, and be more public and vocal about your professional stance, in a way that is admirable.
Consumers often do tend to search by name for doctors, lawyers, and dentists, for example, so it is important to create collateral for the individuals associated with your organization to rank if they don’t have any already.
Pursuing these small tips may help in putting your business in a stronger position if and when someone posts something that challenges your good name. Continuous online reputation management is going to cost you something to get going, but it will definitely save you more money in the long run when the inevitable social brawl occurs. Consider it as some sort of insurance. It won’t keep you from getting damaged 100%, but it will lessen the damage and keep it from getting worse.
To summarise we would like to reiterate that Online Reputation Management (ORM) has become an increasingly necessary weapon in today’s dynamic business environment. With the abundance of information available from the news, to a company’s data and transactions, everything shifting online, it becomes indispensable for brands to switch to ORM. Nowadays, buying decisions in retail among customers are made owing to ORM.
Individuals are hired by companies after evaluating the candidate’s online reputation. The victory and loss of political parties is also heavily dependent on their online reputation. And the list does not end. This goes on to clearly prove the undeniable importance of ORM as an institution in itself and its capacity in the years to come for anyone who is present and agile in the public domain.
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She is a blogger who loves to write in different verticals. She co-authored Supercharge Organic Traffic: A popular course focusing on Organic Traffic for E-commerce.. Her hobbies are traveling and reading.