Having to continually manage and watch your online reputation is often considered to be a negative of Web 2.0. It has become a way of life for most celebrities, major companies, public officials and all manner of online related businesses.
Unfortunately it is a fact of life that bad news travels faster than good news! Having a negative online reputation will undoubtedly affect existing customers’ perceptions of you, your sales, employee retention / satisfaction and the value of your brand. On a personal level your own families and even friendships can be affected.
With over 70 % of the world’s population now having access to the internet and in excess of 90% of the world’s businesses using the web, having a good positive online reputation is absolutely critical for your business success.
In today’s ‘e-world’ the proactive management of your online reputation is important to even the smallest business. Why? Because most companies will search on Google or another search engine and use the social networking sites when they are looking to use the services of another company or buy their products.
They will do their research in order to learn more about the ‘reputation’ of the company they are considering doing business with. This means that proactively managing your own digital reputation is becoming a more critical issue than it has in the past.
How do you manage your online reputation?
To manage your online reputation you will need to consider three main areas:
1. Monitor what the web is saying about you
You can setup tracking systems to notify you as soon as a posting is made anywhere on the internet about your company, your brand name and even yourself. Google Alerts is an excellent tool to achieve this and it’s one of the most comprehensive monitoring tools available – and it is free!
2. Respond to bad publicity
This is called “damage control”. Once you have been made aware that there is a problem you need to consider the best way to counter back to minimise the damage to your reputation. Done properly and handled well, it may even be possible to turn the person who has made the complaint against you into an ambassador for your business. WSIIMS can help with this if required.
3. Repairing the damage
Once the damage is done, there is a defined process that you need to follow if you want to successfully repair and restore your online reputation. Since it is unlikely that you will be able be able to remove what has been said / written about you (although this can be done in some cases) your best strategy is to use a structured campaign of positive PR and social networking activity that concentrates solely on the targeted keywords of your business. Done properly this will dilute and push the negative comments about your business deeper down into the search results and eventually these damaging search entries will be so far down the list that very few people, if anyone will ever see them.
WSIIMS offers a complete online reputation management service both for those businesses who need to deal with a problem and also those business that just want to build their online brand.