Now that we’ve immersed ourselves into the digital world, developing and launching a well-designed website that features excellent content is no longer enough to have a prominent presence online via reputation management.
With the rise of social networks like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, businesses and professionals alike need to be managing their presence there nearly 24/7, not to mention an active blog, just to keep up with the level of competition.
However, while these new paths of communication have opened up many new doors, they also require an entire new list of responsibilities from a business, and they need to be continually monitored in order to maintain a brand’s reputation and increase online influence.
One of the greatest perks to using social media to market a business is that most of the platforms available today are user-friendly.
But while these networks are able to offer a place for nearly any product, service, nonprofit, etc., it can be easy to get carried away. Managing too many social accounts, although needed for the highest amount of visibility, can be very detrimental to a business’s reputation if they’re not being managed correctly.
Reputation Management Is An Investment
Whether you’ve invested years into building your business or are just starting out, reputation management services can be valuable in many different ways.
But there are definitely some commonalities that virtually all businesses who engage with reputation management teams should be aware of. Start with finding a team with experience and good references – and results that they can show you themselves. And this leads to our next point…
What To Look For In A Reputation Management Team
There have been more than a handful of online reputation management firms sprouting up within the past few years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they all have (or don’t have) what it takes to effectively boost a brand’s image online.
The most qualified reputation management firms will analyze all aspects of a company’s website and take a holistic approach to addressing potential weaknesses, including negative reviews. Only after they cover all the ground will they come up with a strategy that will counter the negative feedback, and boost the positive aspects of your website and brand.
There’s no question that social media is one the most effective methods of getting the word out about a company or brand, but these networks can also create a vulnerable situation. While social media is able to help brands connect with their customers and build valuable relationships, it doesn’t take much to destroy what you’ve built as a business either when a negative comment or review isn’t addressed within a reasonable amount of time.
In addition to following a brand’s presence and tracking how it is perceived online, a qualified reputation management team will also have the ability to counter negative feedback and comments, contain the damage (if any), and place the brand in a position that puts it in a more positive light.
Determining where you want your brand to be online is the first step in deciding what you need to be looking for when choosing an online reputation management company.
Reputation Management And Influence Marketing
In 2014 and beyond, effective reputation management may be the single-most vital online marketing tactic to building a brand.
What customers say about a brand online today is much more valuable than it ever was, and the online community has grown to become the most important reflection of a the reliability, transparency, and quality of a brand. If you are engaged in any kind of influencer outreach or digital PR, you need to make sure that your own house is in order first. Set your brand standards and understand where your target audience discovers your business.
Quick Responses Are Critical
Any solid reputation management firm knows that speed of response to any posts or customer service issues is absolutely crucial. What’s more, having a monitoring system that allows for instant updates and perhaps even more importantly, ways to react and a process for handling various types of customer posts (including everything from complaints to praise) might be even more paramount.
Even better, providing yourself and your team with the tools to succeed in regard to both technology and internally established procedures is one of the most valuable steps towards social media success in general, but reputation management in particular. You can’t fix problems you aren’t aware of – nor can you can control your company’s image if you don’t know what people are recently saying about you.
Today, customers expect social customer service to be accurate, supportive, and be available to them across a range of different platforms. More than 80% of companies have already implemented social media as a customer service outlet, and as more and more consumers continue to turn to social media to ask questions about their products and services, having a team that is readily available to address the needs of a business’s customers online is crucial.
Long Term Impact Of Reputation Management
Your online reputation encompasses much more than mere sales and conversions – it can affect your business’s credit worthiness and the perspective of investors. For businesses heavily involved social networking, having the ability to choose precisely how your target audience perceives your brand is one of the greatest benefits that comes with investing in reputation management.
Keep in mind that almost no one wants to invest in a company that can’t maintain a positive online reputation. For example, if website conveys a certain message, but a different image on another site or network, this could make potential customers feel as if that business is not credibly.
And like potential customers, you can assume that any creditor or investor will search for your company online before they make the decision to work with you. With the information overload online, it’s now more important than ever for businesses to be their own best resource, and a reputation management strategy will be just the thing a business to convey this type of image.
At the end of the day, reputation management is an investment in your brand’s future – so deciding how you will handle it can be one of the most important choices you’ll make.