Online Reputation Management

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“Online reputation management means taking control of the online conversation. Its techniques and strategies ensure that people find the right materials when they look for an entity on the Internet. Done well, online reputation management creates balance, counteracts misleading trends, and allows businesses to put their best foot forward,” –

Online communities and activities are registering record growth as more people, stakeholders, consumers, and customers participate in the digital domain. We note that the Internet remains a largely unregulated realm where participants can upload all manner of content sans hindrance. Some of these electronic artefacts may prove damaging to a company’s business interests. We note that brands and businesses can lose significant market share and sales numbers while attracting adverse press coverage in the absence of such management techniques. Therefore, online reputation management plays an important role in modern corporate destinies. We shall examine some of the aspects of such management in the following paragraphs.

Reputations are vital for every brand and business. Online reviews have the salutary effect of building trust, attracting new customers, and boosting business outcomes. An increasing amount of transaction activities is occurring in the digital domain. Therefore, adverse developments such as bad reviews, negative blog posts, and irreverent comments can find their way into search engine result pages and negatively affect public perception. Therefore, modern brands and businesses should pro-actively build and defend their business reputations by leveraging online reputation management techniques.

One of these techniques is to create a connected set of online entities that span popular social media platforms, micro blogging sites, online presences, and review forums. For instance, a pharmacy brand can boost its online reputation management by adopting said technique. Potential business partners, customers, and online audiences will likely discover these connections that vouch for the authenticity of the said business. The corporate logo of the business should prominently feature in all these online properties, thereby confirming the veracity of the business enterprise. The fact that each presence reflects the other cyber addresses should enable the business to rank high in search engine results, thereby guaranteeing a high chance of discovery by online audiences.

Brands and businesses should consider creating and maintaining a blog in the pursuit of online reputation management. The blog is a unique cyber vehicle that enables a brand to connect with its customers and to ignite customer conversations in the online domain. A blog is also significant because it creates powerful leverage for a brand or business. For instance, the brand can post positive information on the blog and embellish its presence with information about the brand, its products, industry trends, and other topics of interest to online audiences. These ongoing conversations through the blog become a matter of record in the public domain, thereby enabling a brand to refute and reject any instances of random online malice for the benefit of its customers and other stakeholders. In a similar vein, a brand can maintain a verified presence in social media platforms or micro blogging sites in an attempt to create multiple channels of online communications. These channels help to steer public perception and to further the cause of online reputation management.

Damage control should be an active element in online reputation management techniques. We note that the World Wide Web represents an unregulated domain and brands may inadvertently receive negative feedback, etc. In light of this fact, brands and businesses should prepare to challenge any offensive material by requesting perpetrators to remove objectionable online content. However, a brand should be willing to undertake legal action in case requests and reminders do not yield the desired effect. For instance, a top-notch automobile brand may discover certain ‘cyber squatters’ that occupy online properties that should belong to said brand. The online reputation management team may request said squatters to vacate the properties. In case of indifference, the brand may choose to launch investigations and legal action in a bid to evict the unlawful occupants of its cyber property.

Business executives should be mindful of their personal reputations in the online domain. This is important, because these persons are deeply enmeshed with their employer brands. Any negative information is likely to cast a shadow on the brand or business in the form of negative press coverage, online rumours and slander, dented brand reputation, irate reactions from stockholders, a drop in the brand’s stock market price, etc. We note that these adverse effects can damage business prospects and therefore, business executives should avail online reputation management services.

Modern enterprises should constantly monitor online brand mentions and any changes in public sentiment. This is an important technique in online reputation management because a brand needs to defend its reputation in every online platform. For instance, a software services company can be advised to monitor Internet channels for any adverse feedback from its former employees or former business partners. This line of activity helps said company to arrest any negative sentiment that may potentially brew in online media. The potential for damage is significant because clients may take a dim view of such comments and this may affect the firm’s business performance. In light of such scenarios, brands and businesses must consistently lead with online reputation management initiatives.

Social media is a fact of life on the modern Internet. These channels wield considerable power in the digital domain. Therefore, brands should establish a bona fide presence in all manner of digital media channels and operate these handles consistently. This technique enables a brand to defeat any potential hijackers of the brand’s online reputation. In addition, the multiplicity of legitimate online presences enables the brand to rank itself higher in search engine results pages. Brand information and current developments can help to keep the audiences engaged, thereby boosting online reputation management activities.

Online detractors may always find reason to engage with a brand on negative grounds. Brands and businesses must be cognisant of such tactics and must issue firm rebuttals to these instances of online malfeasance. However, businesses should be advised to use discretion and exercise caution in the conduct of such engagements. The brand’s response may be deliberately misconstrued to fuel such engagements. In light of the above, brands and businesses must consider hiring professional brand managers that are equipped to tackle such adverse situations. In addition, businesses must approach the relevant authorities in a bid to shut down the source of malfeasance. These techniques empower a brand to defend itself and to burnish its online reputation.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined the importance of online reputation management from multiple angles. Brands and businesses must realise that such activities are crucial to modern business paradigms because they empower businesses to recover lost income, increase conversion, and boost customer retention. These activities also help a brand to promote positive content about itself and to boost public trust in the brand. That said, we note that brands must exert themselves in such matters because online users represent a huge constituency in modern markets. This group of consumers will gain strength in numbers in the future. Therefore, brands must invest in building customer loyalty, and word-of-mouth publicity or viral promotion. All these activities are premised on a spotless corporate and brand reputation. In light of the above, brands and businesses must invest resources to manage their future.

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