Reputation management is the effort to influence what and how people think of a brand or person.
The above definition covers what reputation management is at its core. But of course, there is much more to it. Definitions can only take you so far. In this section, we’ll build out this nascent definition of reputation management by explaining seven critical aspects:
1. Reputation management happens mostly online
A vast amount of communication happens online. We meet friends, we solve disagreements, we discover new businesses, and we read the news. We even spend our leisure time online. It’s inevitable, therefore, that reputation management happens mostly in the online space; in fact, the terms reputation management and online reputation management are now virtually synonymous.
So reputation management happens online because that's where the majority of our communication happens. Since people choose to interact on online platforms, reputation management companies use social media and SEO tactics to achieve their goals.
2. Reputation management empowers your sales and marketing
Reputation management lives within the wide world of sales and marketing, and though it can be described as a “tactic,” it’s hardly negligible. In reality, reputation management is a core component of sales and marketing. Why? Because what people think of a brand influences everything about that brand. It's nearly impossible to sell a product to a clientele that doesn't trust or believe in your brand.
With a good reputation management plan, you can clear the way for positive messages to have the maximum effect. When people already believe in your company's mission your content will reach more of its readers.
Reputation management is essential for a business’s survival
We’re not overstating the case when we write that reputation management is essential for a company’s survival. Enron vanished in the wake of corruption and the ensuing public relations backlash. Other giants like BP, Wells Fargo, and United Airlines have been able to withstand reputation blowups, but not without serious costs.
These are all examples of how the emergence of online communication platforms has made reputation more delicate. Whereas before people who had a bad experience with a business may have only told a few close friends, now they have the ability to publish their views online, where they can reach thousands, even millions of people. These days, a single badly handled situation can quickly plunge a company into bankruptcy.
Reputation management is important both for personalities and businesses
We've mostly focused on reputation management as it applies to businesses thus far, but it’s important for individuals too. It’s an area of interest for the billionaire hedge fund manager attempting to cover up an extramarital dalliance gone public. It’s critical for the singer who accidentally made a big real estate photography mistake even bigger.
Online reputation management has everything to do with content marketing, through any platform whatsoever. In 2019, content marketing in the form of websites, blogs, videos, infographics, and product reviews have been critical to maintaining companies’ reputation.
Brands mainly share video content through mobile devices; hence, billions of people view them worldwide. In 2019, we’ve seen many ads and product reviews, albeit we’ll probably be seeing different content in 2020.
In 2020, we will experience refined video content marketing, mainly in the form of personalized videos, data-first approach videos, longer videos, and 3-D videos.
Consumers will be on the lookout for video content that is tailored to their specific needs, and to which they have an emotional connection.
Video marketing is and will continue to be a staple in online reputation management, whether, via Youtube, Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook live, and many brands have embraced it as a marketing strategy. For this reason, companies should make themselves familiar with upcoming trends in order to stay ahead of the competition.
Since personalities often are businesses, it makes sense that they would benefit from reputation management. Most people in the modern world cannot live their lives in anonymity. If people know your name, they'll Google your name. It’s just what people do.
They're not just Googling your name. They're also reading your business’ reviews and talking about your brand on social media. With all of these different channels at play and, honestly, ways to quickly trash your reputation, it’s essential to take an active stance to show your best side online. The image that is portrayed when your name or company is typed into a search engine can help or harm you. There is often no in-between.
Those of us without an outsize personality or billions to our name can afford to manage our reputations ourselves. We're good to go after posting a flattering photo on Facebook, an Instagram highlights reel or a resume on LinkedIn that only slightly exaggerates our finer points. What percentage of consumers read online reviews?
According to research from BrightLocal, 97% of consumers search online for local businesses. 12% of consumers do so on a daily basis! As online reputation statistics go, this number shouldn’t be too surprising. It’s safe to say that using the Internet to find local businesses is a universal practice in the developed world. What is significant is the degree to which potential customers trust what they read.
Consumers trust online reviews the same as people
Let’s explore another statistic from a recent survey: 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This means that the overall sentiment of your online reviews can make or break your business. In fact, studies show that most people will not do business with a company once they read a single negative review. Online customer reviews and personal reviews are nearly equivalent in their trustworthiness.
Google is certainly not the only channel consumers use when evaluating a brand’s online reputation. Serious consumers will click on review sites, your websites, press releases, wiki pages, blog posts with mentions of your brand, your social profiles, and mentions all the way to your competitor’s paid ads. We’ve seen brands shift their online reputation management strategies to accommodate all of these channels, and they have been duly rewarded.