Managing the reputation of your brand is more important today than it has ever been.
Consumers are keen on sharing their experiences with brands and products and entrepreneurs who are taking a passive approach to managing their online reputation could encounter some very costly situations soon.
Online reputation management is not a concern to occupy the CEO, marketing, and PR departments alone but everyone in the company from sales to customer service.
Rules are constantly changing in the online landscape, however there are some well-established facts.
Do not online manage the online image of your brand but also of your executives
People usually research more about a company they consider doing business with than just reviews or figures. They are also interested in the people behind the company.
It is essential for all key executives to have a professional looking profile both on the company's website but also on social media, in a way that these profiles take up the first page of Google results.
Media articles, blog posts and press releases are also very important into building credibility and trust for each of the executives.
Social media is key
One cannot ignore the way that a company comes across in its communication with the public through social media as well as how users refer to the company on social media.
The above must be known, controlled or there can be a serious reputation risk.
Updating your social media frequently and engaging your clients or potential clients on social media is essential. Make sure that you have reserved an account to all major social media networks and to those networks that are relevant to your market.
Always respond to people who write to your social media profiles whether for praise or for complaints. Check any hashtags related to your company, products or services and respond to queries promptly.
PR strategies are not enough to repair a damaged reputation
Your online reputation consists of many different aspects which must be handled concurrently.
Quality content creation and PR will be very beneficial but optimizing your web resources and articles for the search engines is what will make sure that your content is controlling the most visible spots in search engine results about your company.
Effective search engine optimisation especially when negative content exists about the company from popular web resources is a complicated operation and it is best left to professionals and an experience team such as Great Online Reputation.
No matter how strong your PR tactics are, unless your web resources are optimised for the search engines and constantly promoted then you are limiting the effect of your PR success tremendously and if negative publications exist it will be impossible for them to become less visible or authoritative in regards to your company or brand.
Controlling the first 3 search engine results under your brand name is not enough
You need to control at least the first page of your search engine results as they influence a user's decision. It is relatively safe to assume that the first page of the search engine results make up the majority of a business or personal online reputation.
These will heavily influence the user's decision on whether to use your company or not.
These 10 results however need to consist of a lot more than just pages of your own website and social media profiles as most users take attention to socially infused content as more reliable and objective. That could be for example experiences from other customers, social actions etc.
Do not hesitate to get external help to repair your reputation
Since the best investment that you can make into your business is its reputation and there are a number of factors and complexities that determine your online reputation, it is often best to assign the task to a contracted company such as Great Online Reputation.
It takes years and expertise to master and handle online reputation management situations and time usually runs against the company in case of a negative reputation incident or even when the company is eager to expand by utilising a positive online reputation.
Often companies in an attempt to manage their online reputation themselves do costly mistakes as they do not know how and where to position their content. They do not have the right relationships with media outlets and end up spending more than they would if they hire an online reputation management company.
New companies need to begin online reputation management before they even launch their brand
It is easier and more cost-effective in the long term to proactively plan your online image before you launch a company, a service or a product. The message must be clear, all online assets must be secured, the competition online must be weighed, the comparable advantages of the brand promoted.
If a number of online assets are not under the company's control it can be a very time-consuming and costly exercise to try and bring them to its control later. Being proactive, also will prepare the future company from possible reputation pitfalls.
Online reputation crisis are manageable
With the assistance of a company such as Great Online Reputation even difficult cases of online defamation can be handled to perfection provided that some time is allowed.
However, it is far better for a company or brand to consider that repairing a damaged online reputation is far more challenging than proactively building up a strong online image that would not be easily damaged.