There are a lot of misconceptions about online reputation management. Some people think it’s just social media monitoring, while others believe it has something to do with public relations, and still others literally have no idea how it can impact business and sales. Just a few years ago, the internet was very different. Companies were not engaging customers but just selling to a passive audience; people could not express their voice in a powerful way, and the overall communication landscape was very “top down.”
The situation has radically changed. Today, websites are no longer static brochures. User-generated content is a must. And regular interactions on social networks are vital to any business success. No matter the size of your business, people are talking about you. They are tweeting about your latest product, leaving a comment on your blog, posting a Facebook update about their customer experience, and much more.
The negative reviews or the lack of reviews at that can significantly impact your business as people today are looking for reviews first before they make and annual purchase from a company. Companies should be able to find a way to manage and control these negative reviews and this is where reputation management came about.
Reputation Management involves strategies in order to manage a company’s online reputation. This can be done for companies of any size in order to promote, establish or protect their brand from negative reviews from competitors, former employees or unsatisfied customers. Typically, reputation management can be separated into 3 different categories:
- Building – This type of reputation management has to do with building the reputation for a business that is just getting started. It includes building a good reputation to maintaining it for your business.
- Maintenance – Reputation management meant to just keep a company’s good image superior in the public eye is called maintenance. This is meant for companies that are already established, and have a good reputation already.
- Recovery – If your business has gotten a bad reputation for any reason, then the recovery portion of reputation management is for you. A reputation management company works to hide the bad reputation with good marketing and self-promotion.
Reputation Management is a very labor intensive process. Any approach that is subtle and yet effective will take time, at least three months, before any progress is really seen. This includes many different strategies, which include social media such as:
- Blogging – Blogs that are updated every day
- Directory listings – Listing a website in directories using optimized keywords
- Direct reviews – Hiring someone to write good reviews of the company on websites
- Online publicity – Syndicated article writing, links, and banners
- Social networking – Posting pages on MySpace.com and Facebook.
Every plan should define reputation management, but it should also be unique to your business. What works for one company may not work for a different one, so be sure to keep your mind open, and accept that with a customized plan of attack, your reputation management will take some time to come to fruition.