According to Benjamin Franklin, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only a bad one to lose it”. So, if you’re a politician, or office manager, or a business owner, there’ll definitely be a lot at stake if you don’t protect your reputation. And if you run a business online, interacting with customers (and the general public) is a great way for building a solid reputation, and ensuring business success. Here are a couple of helpful hints on the role of reputation management in today’s competitive business environment.
Online Reputation “Bombs” Affect Credibility And Sales
There are a lot of things that can wreck a business entity’s reputation online. These are often referred to by web marketing experts as online reputation “bombs”, which not only lead to a damaged reputation, but result in lost sales too.
The major online reputation bombs include negative reviews, hate sites and negative media coverage. As the different review sites allow people to express their opinions on a brand or service, any negative commentary or feedback can erode a company’s credibility, and issuing an official statement or press release may not be enough.
Hate sites often times address companies, brands and even public figures with a hail of insults and false information, while negative media coverage (whether it’s on TV, print or online media) can have a negative impact on companies, brands and even famous personalities.
How Should Businesses React To All The Negative Information?
When an avalanche of bad publicity and negative or misleading information hits a brand or company, how should business owners or managers react to all that damaging stuff?
According to seasoned and skilled online reputation management experts, depending on the scope and severity of the problem, several avenues can be pursued for restoring your online credibility.
One effective method would be to undertake an aggressive SEO (search engine optimisation) campaign. The SEO expert devises a search marketing strategy which should help increase the ranking of positive content, whether it’s owned by the company or third parties.
The next step would be to remove all those negative reviews. And removing any false information or commentary can be done through a speedy reaction, and a little legal liaising or wrangling.
An online investigation should also be undertaken, in case of serious and potentially damaging attacks to a brand’s image. However, this entails the hiring of seasoned and well-versed online analysts, who are capable of investigating untraceable threats or opponents, through email tracing, data cross-indexing and other potent information-gathering methods.
And according to the experts, effective online reputation management is not just about quickly reacting to what people say about your product or service, but also about whether to react at all, and when.
Sometimes, a reaction may not be needed, yet sometimes a reaction that’s done too late can cost a company millions, and add more injury to an already damaged reputation! However, a proactive approach, and constant monitoring, should help do the trick, and restore your company’s overall credibility.