The internet provides you with so many ways to share your experiences with the world that it is becoming second-nature to upload everything you do. Sometimes you are included by proxy in this online sharing. Maybe a friend took a selfie while you both had consumed a few too many drinks at the bar and now the image of your drunken grimace is on the web for your boss, business associates and customers to see.
Online reputation management is the process of influencing or controlling the information that exists on the web landscape about an individual or business so as to create a more favorable image. Simply put, it is public relations damage control for your online persona. Individuals and businesses alike should be concerned with their online reputation as there can be negative consequences from allowing what is available online to determine your image.
It is quite common for people to head to their favorite search engine and run a query on a person they just met or look for information on a company they are considering buying a product or service from.
For individuals, their online reputation can mean the difference between securing a dream job and getting rejected; or landing a date with that special someone and getting rejected; In either case, a poor image on social media and other crevices of the web can lead to negative consequences.
In the case that you are in charge of maintaining the online reputation of a business or are an employee working in sales, a good online reputation will elevate your brand in the eyes of potential customers. You want your customers to be able to trust you so that choosing to do business with you will be effortless.
Part of gaining your customers’ trust is showing that you are not superhuman but rather in possession of a great brand that is backed by the quality work of a competent team. A 2013 study conducted by Revoo showed that 95 percent of consumers become suspicious of a lack of negative reviews in cases when there is an overabundance of positive ones that could be perceived as fake.
This goes to show that although you should be diligent in safeguarding your online reputation from slanderous claims and overly negative reactions, there is a balance that needs to be met in order to achieve optimal results. Online reputation management is a process where you allow the good to rise to the top and make sure the negativity sinks into the vastness of the online abyss.
Maintaining a healthy online reputation results in an increase in revenue when coupled with an effective marketing campaign. This is confirmed by studies that show 93 percent of consumers admit to being affected by reviews when deciding to make a purchase.
Now that you know the benefits of online reputation management, let’s get into the actionable process of finding out where you stand and how to begin improving your presence.
Before you start managing your online reputation, it is imperative that you determine what already exists in the space. An initial search for your name or brand on search engines will give you an initial picture. Setting up Google alerts for keywords that pertain to your brand, checking review sites and social media networks will help gain a better understanding.
Going through all the different platforms in search of conversations that involve your brand can be time-consuming. There are specialized tools you can use for social media monitoring where you set parameters and are informed when your name is mentioned in social media posts or comments.
In some cases, you will be able to delete negative comments, text and images that are associated with your brand. You can also have certain egregiously false reviews removed from review sites.
Securing your social media accounts from being open to misuse from malicious users requires keeping a watchful eye on your online presence. Additionally, you can buy up any domains that could be purchased by individuals wishing to embark on a negative campaign against your brand so that you lock down any potential loose ends.
Growing your presence on social media networks by creating active profiles on as many platforms as possible will safeguard your image and give you tangible control. By having an official space on social media networks, you can promptly and sincerely respond to any issues that users may bring forth for discussion.
The best way to deal with negative content about your brand on other websites is to drown out these voices in the search engine results. If you regularly publish helpful content for your audience which centers around keywords used in order to find your brand, you will achieve an extensive presence on Google and other search engines for your niche. Users will have no choice but to view your quality blog posts and positive reviews. Negative content from ill-intentioned websites will drop lower and lower in the search results.
A comprehensive search engine optimization (SEO) approach coupled with a positive social media reputation strategy will take approximately 3 months to yield noticeable results. In that time span, Google will notice and elevate your quality content and you should have enough time to develop your social media presence and strengthen your relationship with your followers.
Staying on top of your social media management is important for avoiding any pitfalls the online landscape can put in front of you and your business. If you hit a bump in the road and something should go wrong with your online reputation, don’t despair. Take a deep breath and use your brand’s strengths to drown out the negative voices with your positivity and tenacity.
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