As the internet quickly becomes the easiest way for people to communicate and access information, the public image that exists online for a company or an individual becomes increasingly important and influential for consumers. Do you check Yelp before choosing a restaurant to find the place with the best reviews?
Due to the fact that consumers can very quickly search for various companies that provide a product or a service, research and comparison shopping is becoming a bigger part of the decision process than it ever had been before. It is more feasible for all consumers to complete this research, since it involves very little time, prior knowledge, and absolutely no travel to accomplish.
Now, businesses that had previously been able to operate on their ideal locations or public images could be easily passed over for a small unknown company that offers similar services for better rates, since it is now possible for consumers to discover their existence and pricing with only a few keystrokes. If you do check Yelp, or another similar service, have you ever come across a place you were unaware of and decided to give it a try?
What does online reputation management entail?
Online reputation management focuses on promoting a positive image of a company or individual and their services.
Unfortunately for businesses, negative reviews of products and company interactions are far more prevalent than positive accounts. While it seems unfair, it is simply the nature of the beast. A negative experience often leaves consumers far more fired up than an equally positive one, and therefore more likely to complain about it, often loudly, to whoever will listen. Do you find yourself more motivated to leave a review if you are displeased with service you received?
Since online research is so easy to do, other consumers are then very likely to stumble across those negative reviews when they are searching for a company to patronize for a product or service that they desire. A negative review that is found early in the research process could immediately remove a company from consideration. As a professional, your personal reputation is equally weighed among reviewers. If you are looking for employment, or are someone that is in the public eye, a negative search result could dissuade someone from wanting to work with you. Professional online reputation management can help to prevent this from happening.
What can be done to manage online reputation?
Companies and individuals alike can utilize marketing strategies that will work to analyze their current online standing. That information can then be used to develop a plan of action to enhance that reputation. This involves researching all of the existing information and reviews that have been published online, and then working to generate more online references to the company that present them in a positive light. SEO (search engine optimization) terms are also used throughout this process, to help the positive information about the company to have a greater presence online.
In addition to determining the current online reputation and working to improve it, it is necessary to be able to respond to any negative publicity that might be present. Public responses by a company or professional to any negative press will help show that the situation has been acknowledged, and that action is being taken to resolve any issues. This simple effort will turn the original negative response into a positive image of a company who cares enough to follow-up with its consumers.
In order to ensure effective online reputation management in the future, a response system needs to be put into place where employees know what to look for online, how to find both positive and negative reviews, and how to publicly remedy any negative situations. These marketing tactics keep online reputation management consistent and successful beyond the original campaign.
Have you evaluated your online presence?
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