If you are a business owner, you have an online presence. Your role is to make sure, however, that this is a positive presence. You must remain vigilant and always know what is being said about you, and whether that is what you want people to say or not. While you cannot control what people say and where, you can control the narrative. This is a process known as reputation management.
Understanding Online Reputation Management
Very simply put, online reputation management is a strategic approach towards controlling how your brand appears online. It requires around the clock monitoring, and making sure that more positive things are being said than negative things. Additionally, it means working hard at making negative content less visible online.
Why Does It Matter?
Almost the entire world is online. Your competition has a website, your customers have social media, and everybody looks for product reviews. You simply cannot get away from the internet and you have to use it to your advantage. It is a known fact that 75% of consumers look for reviews before deciding whether to purchase something or not. Additionally, if there is just one bad review, 80% will decide to go to the competition instead. This shows how important it is that you have control over what is being said, and why you should address anything negative said about you, regardless of who says it.
How It’s Done
Reputation management is a strategic activity and a full time job. It is recommended, therefore, to enlist the services of a professional to help you do this. Their role will be to:
- Find out what your current reputation is.
- Mitigate any damage against you.
- Make sure you reach and maintain your goals.
What Is Your Online Reputation?
Before you start working at managing your online reputation, you have to start with a baseline. You must, in other words, determine where you are now and where you want to be. This will give you an idea of what work still has to be done.
So what are people saying about you? The best way to find out is to check review sites, social media, forums, and blogs. Of course, there are thousands of those, so it may seem impossible to check them all. This is where Google comes in, however. Simply enter a search for your company’s name with the word “review” next to it, or type in your name with a hashtag. This will give you an idea of what information is out there right now. Make sure you set up a Google Alert for those searches as well, so that you find out whenever anything new is being said about you.
Pay attention, specifically, to what is being said about you as well, positive and negative, as this gives you a real view of what your current reputation is, what your strengths are (that you have to continue to do), and where you need to improve (which you have to do as soon as possible).