Online Reputation Management is, in its simplest form, the process of managing your reputation online. But what’s involved and why does it matter?
Search engines have made it incredibly simple for consumers to do their research. And indeed they will. If someone is contemplating purchasing products or services from your business, you should expect they will research you first – that is to say they’ll “Google you.”
Online reputation management is about identifying what is being said about you online, responding where appropriate and building up a positive digital reputation. Search your brand name yourself and look at the results. The first should be your own website. After that, perhaps you will have a social media profile on Twitter or Facebook that could be showing. But what about the rest of the results on the page. There is a very realistic chance that some of them could be blogs, forums or review sites mentioning you or your brand. These could be the opinions of consumers. And while this is all well and good if it’s the opinions of happy consumers singing your praises, negative commentary could indeed make a potential customer decide not to use your services.
It’s not uncommon for disgruntled customers, or even former employees, to take to forums to air their grievances (sometimes even without having contacted you directly). In the first instance, you should be aware of what is being said, at least in terms of what comes up on the first page of the search engine results.
But once you are aware of what is being said about you online, how you respond and improve your online reputation is key. You should have a presence on as many sites as possible – either through being covered in the news, building a positive social media brand and, of course, by encouraging your satisfied customers to take to forums and blogs too.
With so much search power in the consumer’s hands, can you really afford not to?