Why you Need Online Reputation Management
You already know what a reputation is; its how people view you. It is how you are perceived. In a sense, it is the summary of how you are viewed by others in the market.
When your reputation is damaged,either intentionally or by accident, many of us go to great lengths to take all necessary actions to ensure that our good reputation is preserved.
Personal reputations can be modified and enhanced through activities such as relationship management, job performance, and how we typically conduct ourselves. But, what happen when your reputation is affected by something on the web?
This is where Reputation Management comes into play. When a reputation is damaged online, it can have profound consequences to businesses and to individuals. Why is this so?
Simply because online world doesn’t forget. A negative review, while not technically permanent, can neverthelessstay online for a very long time via major search engines such as Google.
The good news is that there are methods to manage one’s reputation; either personally, or for a business or organization.
If it were not for a multi-billion dollar company named Google, Reputation Management wouldn’t be a business. In the past, a reputation could be controlled with articles and by the simple fact that time moves on. If something happened long ago, it would most likely be forgotten. Business relied on word of mouth and old school advertising like television,local and newspapers.
If you lost a customer because of bad service, it was more than likely that you would lose only one customer and maybe a couple of their friends.
However, in the last ten years, sites like Google, Yelp and Angie’s List have made it possible for people who don’t even know each other to affect each other purchasing decisions. Today, millions of people start their purchase decision process by searching for online reviews.
Every moment of every day, Google indexes the Internet looking for the latest information across the web. Not only does it index the Internet, but it saves past copies of what it found so it can see changes.
This means that as Google’sindexing travels across the Internet, it log individuals’ names, business names and all of the positive and negative content associated with both.
That information is saved on Google’s servers.
Therefore, when someone Googles “your brand” they get a list of all the content Google believes is relevant to the search. This may include customer complaints, arrest records, defaced pictures, customer testimonials, your own website, LinkedIn profile, Facebook profile, Twitter account and any other online profile.
All this data is available to anyone with Internet access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year in just about every language.
Everything you or your business has ever done can be found via Google! And if you don’t know about it, then you can’t take steps to manage it. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to Google.
Reputation Management is an emerging, yet fast growing market for a simple reason—there is a tremendous amount of content posted each day that is both true and false.
Whether you are a small business owner or a high profile CEO, reputation management is becoming increasingly important as people use Google and review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List to research brands and products.
80% of adults are “very” or “somewhat” likely to consider buying products recommended by real world friendsand family.
78% of executive recruiters routinely use search enginesto learn more about candidates, and 35% have eliminated candidates based on the information they found online. 87% believe the CEO’s reputation is an important part of acompany’s reputation.
90% of consumers trust recommendations from others.
Consumers traffic to the top 10 review sites grew on average 158% last year.
97% of people who made a purchase based on an online review found the review to be accurate.
92% of people have more confidence in information found online than from a salesclerk or other source.
61% of people rely on user reviews for product information or research before a buying decision is made.
34% of people have turned to social media to air their feelings about a company.
26% to express dissatisfaction, 23% to share companies or products they like.
75% of people don’t believe that companies tell the truth inadvertisements .
100% of those reading this post have either a personal orcorporate reputation to protect.
What the stats tell us is that consumers and business are increasingly using the Internet to research individuals and business before they even consider hiring people or purchasing products and services.
Some of you reading this might think, “Oh, I’ll be alright, my business will be fine, because the rest of my customers love me”. Unfortunately, if you don’t manage your reputation online, someone else will manage it for you. For businesses this may mean that someone wrote a negative review about you and it went unanswered.
For a high profile person(e.g., politicians, celebrities), it may mean that something they did in the past is preventing them from succeeding in the future. Utilizing a Reputation Management Service will help you identify what is being said about you or your brand.
It will provide a series of solutions that will minimize the impact of the negative and maximize the impact of the positive, thus enabling your reputation to be positive and—more importantly—to stay positive.
The first step in Reputation Management is to determine the state of your personal and/or your organization’s online reputation. This starts with an analysis of where your associated ranking is on Google.
Google’s first page of search results will provide an overall view of your general reputation; however as one moves through the Google search rankings and associated content (e.g. news, photographs, videos) a more complete picture of your online reputation becomes available.
This initial Google search will provide an indication of what negative content is prevalent.
A second evaluation will then take place via social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
This will provide a glimpse of what images are being shown and whether or not you and/or your organization have a poor review or have negative comments about your product.
By monitoring your name or your company’s name you can easily find what people are saying about you or your organization. Services for monitoring include the following activities: Actively monitor news and content via the Internet for any mention of an individual and/or organization’s brand name. The easiest way to do this is to “Google” your name,your brand name or your product name in Google News.
From that page you can set up an email alert for news items about your brand or an RSS feed. Flagging negative reviews can be done by signing up your business to Yelp, Google Local, Facebook and Angie’s List.
You will receive emails when your business is reviewed.
When you get a negative review, you must respond publicly about what happened so others can see that you are addressing any negative content. You have probably heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which involves increasing an individual’s search ranking.
Reverse SEO does just the opposite. It pushes negative content further down so it is less likely to be viewed.
Reverse SEO: Typically consists of the following step-by-step process:
Use content creation on websites and social media along with cross linking from other sites to push bad news down in the Google search rankings and populate the first page of Google with the message the brand wants to convey. Improve the tagging(keyword anchors) and SEO of the company’s approved-published materials and web pages to push their ranking higher than negative content.
Create new websites and blogs along with social media profiles to promote good news that will outperform any negative search results. Submit online press releases to promote brand presence and further suppress negative content Submit legal take-down requests to remove libelous and defaced content .
Obtain mentions/link backs from high ranking sites Offer free products/services to prominent reviewers/blogs.
Respond quickly to recent charges to prevent negative content from spinning out of control.
The Internet does not forget, and neither should you when it comes to managing your online reputation. Reputation Management is an essential part of any organization’s or individual’s potential for success.
Monitoring, Evaluation, and Reverse SEO are steps that should be taken so that you and/or your company will not be known for what may have gone wrong in the past, but rather for what you are doing right.