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Before a corporation will begin to plan for coping with the challenges bestowed by managing its online reputation, it’s vital that there be an accurate assessment of what the internet currently finds when it researches you online. While some larger companies and organizations may have the resources required to perform this task, given the scope of the Internet, most companies will have to consider hiring an external vendor that specializes in this field.
To assist in this effort, it may also be useful for those in Senior Management to perform a thorough assessment of the company’s recent past, along current strengths and weaknesses. All firms have areas during which they surpass, and other areas that present challenges, and this type of honest assessment may prove useful in addressing any negative issues regarding the company’s online reputation. To paraphrase the previous statement, the goal in developing a strong online reputation is to ‘accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative.’
Most business owners understand the notion of “putting out fires”, which means tackling unforeseen challenges that arise during the course of conducting business. However, not like singular issues which will arise throughout the course of everyday business, the issue of online reputation management is an ongoing, continuous effort.
The search engines, such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo, that decide what information and where this information is posted about a company or individual on their websites rely on a multitude of factors, that include news, social media and other events. In different words, just because your company’s online reputation looked fine last week doesn’t guarantee it will remain that way going forward. The ‘battle’ to guard your company’s reputation online is unrelenting, or at least, it should be if done properly.
Whether it’s through Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media websites, the ability of customers to voice their opinions about the company or individual is easily accessible, and frankly, omnipresent. Now, on a big picture level, that’s actually a positive. Unlike many other nations around the world, we live in a thriving democracy and the right to Freedom of Speech is one of the most critically important civil rights that are enjoyed by all Americans. In lieu of recent world events, Americans should, now more than ever, appreciate and value the right to free speech. Understanding that it’s neither universal nor irreversible.
However, like all rights and freedoms, the right to free speech is subject to abuse. This right, no matter personal or skilled reasons, favors the use social media to deliberately do injury to the name of either people or businesses.
It is, in one way, the ‘price’ we all pay for the right to universal free speech. Still, incorrect or deliberately negative attacks on a business on social media may be quite harmful. Information is shared online between thousands of people among a matter of minutes.
That is why many businesses and individuals hire staff, whose sole duties revolve around the company’s presence in the world of social media. Any efforts created in protecting a company’s online name should make sure that it includes watching and providing content and input into social media sites.
Ultimately, like all aspects of running a successful business, the responsibility for protecting a company’s hard-earned reputation falls to Senior Management of any organization to recognize the critical role that the Internet plays in deciding however their company is seen by current and potential customers, literally around the globe.
It will usually take a few years of toil to make a powerful name as a high quality business. Therefore, it’s well worth the time and energy needed to make sure that hard-earned name isn’t lost or broken as a result of some inaccurate, or villainous, online info.