Online reputation management refers to the act of influencing and controlling the online reputations of individuals and businesses alike. The term originally stemmed from public relations, but the growth of the internet, specifically social media, has made search results a central aspect of an individual or a business’ reputation. One’s online reputation determines how others perceive their business when they search for it through any major search engines. Online reputation management services are not only about managing the content that comes up in search engines, but it is also about managing business reviews which may cast the business in a negative light, in addition to encouraging happy clients to contribute their positive feedback. Various search engine optimization techniques and strategies can assist in helping to relegate damaging and harmful content further down the initial search engine result pages, and in turn, cast a person or their business in a better light. Online reputation management services can:
Businesses are typically better off being more transparent than not. Transparency allows employees of certain businesses to eliminate the facade between the industry and the consumer, typically leading to better interactions and better customer relationships. Many small and medium-sized companies fail to invest much time or effort in communicating with clients and customers alike. By allowing transparency, businesses allow their employees to talk freely about their work, ask customers and clients for feedback, and face criticism head-on, and even address it publicly. Transparency is often a risky endeavour, but when done properly with enough precision and care, it can make a world of a difference for a business struggling to maintain a solid public perception.
Online reputation management is not only about reacting to what people are saying about one’s company or products, but also about whether or not it is even worth it to react. Sometimes a reaction is necessary, and sometimes it is not. A proactive approach favors the act of monitoring one’s public reputation on a regular basis, and not just when there is a specific reason for it. Social media monitoring allows businesses to gather public content from the internet, from sources such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Yelp, and determine whether the content consists of negative or positive reviews. Locating the negative reviews grants business owners with the unique opportunity to address them on their faces. By ignoring negative reviews, a business can appear to not care about what people may have to say about it. But by addressing them in an empathetic and apologetic tone, a business can show how much they care about its customers. Moreover, a business could potentially walk away as the beneficiary, as their disposal of the negative reviews can potentially cast doubt on them, rather than letting them stand uncontested. Monitoring reviews is an important step in repairing a business’ online reputation because it allows the business to get ahead of bad coverage and control the narrative.