Business Reputation Management

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“It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it” (Warren Buffett)

business reputation managementIf you suddenly and unexpectedly realize that there’s almost no traffic to your website, that your phone is unusually quiet, and that anyone who does call starts asking very odd questions, it might be worth typing your company name into Google and seeing what comes up. There’s a good chance that you’ll find some results that you’d rather not see there.

It’s now easier than ever to lethally harm a company by posting negative content on the internet. Setting up a blog or a Facebook account is a matter of minutes. One bad review written by a bitter restaurant critic, one grumpy guest dissatisfied with the view from his hotel room, or one client who thought he wasn’t treated with respect: it really doesn’t matter that 99.99% of the customers leave your company smiling and satisfied, it takes just one highly-motivated unhappy client who think he can get what he wants (“I’ll show them what it means to mess with me!”) to crush the reputation you’ve spent so many years building up.

When you conduct business online, one of the most painful things you can hear is that a potential customer checked you out on Google and decided not to do business with you, because of what he or she found. Whether you’re a lawyer, dentist, owner of a restaurant or a chain of stores – statistics show that one bad review can ruin your well-earned reputation, and the financial consequences quickly follow.

 

“78% of adults in the USA feel that it is very important to look for information on people and businesses on the internet before contacting them or doing business with them” (Harris Interactive)

 

So what exactly is online reputation management for companies?

Creating a reputation for a company on the internet is usually done by posting positive references on a whole range of online platforms and channels. Often, companies look for reputation management after they’ve been hit by negative publications and need emergency help to get themselves back on track. However, reputation management isn’t only the removal of negative results, but also consistent reputation building that can ‘shield’ against negative publications in the future. There are two common types of campaign:

Proactive online reputation management – a company’s reputation is now no longer only determined by its own website or blog. The main factor deciding a company’s reputation is its overall prominence on search results pages. When the first page returns a whole load of positive and relevant results, the brand gains authority and credibility. Online reputation management consists of the following steps:

  • Updating and editing existing online content, whether on the company website or on its social media profiles, in order to brand itself and bring in visitors.
  • Creating new online assets in areas relevant to the company’s industry. These assets can include new websites focusing on niche markets that the company deals with, personal branding of the company’s executive managers, and setting up profiles on relevant social networks.
  • Continual monitoring of the brand name, and regularly updating content in order to present the brand in a positive light. Steadily adding quality content mentioning the brand name will protect the brand from future negative reviews.

Reactive reputation management – If the brand already has negative reviews, unflattering posts, or, worst of all, is in the middle of a media attack, you have to respond quickly and intensively in order to strengthen existing positive content, immediately create new content, and knock the negative posts off the first page of search results.

Which reputation management services are suitable for companies?

Here are some of the services available:

  • Setting up profiles and online assets in order to create a large number of positive references on the search engines and increase your brand exposure.
  • Monitoring and regularly adding positive content.
  • Knocking down negative reviews, customer complaints, and results pertaining to lawsuits against you.
  • Removing ‘smear campaigns’ against you, such as malicious and false information that amounts to defamation and libel, whose intention is to harm your reputation. Permanently removing such content is done by legal professionals.
  • Minimizing damage to your brand after unwanted news stories or PR blunders.
  • Fine-tuning your social network profile settings to avoid irrelevant content leaking to search engines.

Why do I need all of this for my company?

  • Create credibility among your clients, suppliers, potential investors and competitors.
  • Position your company as a brand name, as an influential and reputable industry player.
  • Consumers who search your name will want to do business with you.
  • Differentiate yourself from your competitors.
  • Create a ‘shield’ to protect yourself from unwanted results making it to the first page of search results, thus protecting your reputation in the future.
  • Increase conversion rates by enlarging your online visibility on search engines.

 

“74% of people will change their opinion based on a negative reference”

 

Who can benefit from these services?

Reputation management and company branding is suitable for:

  • Doctors
  • Lawyers
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Online and physical stores
  • Any company that has fallen victim to negative online content

Personal Reputation Management

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Personal reputation managementYou’ve probably had people tell you a couple times that “if you respect yourself, others will respect you too.” Well, let’s just say, that’s not exactly true. Even if you have self-respect and great self-esteem, they might help you out in a face-to-face meeting with a potential investor, client or employer, but what really decides if the meeting is even going to happen in the first place are often the results that come up once they type your name into Google. Too few results, negative reviews, unflattering pictures or lawsuits against you can all come back and considerably harm your chances of getting that meeting. And the more important the meeting is, the more intense the online research they’ll probably do.

When it comes to online reputation and personal branding, it doesn’t matter how you relate to yourself, rather, it’s all about what others think about you and how you appear to others. You are judged by search results. It doesn’t matter if they’re true or not, old or new, whoever is looking you up doesn’t know the difference. Whatever they see on page one of Google is who you are. This is your online reputation. If you want to leave a million-dollar impression, and look at least as good as you really are, start branding yourself.

What does online personal reputation actually mean?

There’s a bit of confusion about what “online reputation management” actually means. Most people identify this service with the monitoring of social networks and suppressing negative search results. Actually, it covers a much wider range of services, which can be divided into two main groups.

Proactive online reputation management – Consistently building up your online reputation is done by distributing content on relevant social media profiles, by having a personal blog, and by writing articles. Reputation management for individuals creates personal branding, and protects your reputation in the event that someone posts a negative comment about you. The process of building up your online reputation is made up of three stages:

  • Editing and updating existing content, whether on your website or on your social network profiles.
  • Creating new internet assets to “thicken up” the positive content up on search engines.
  • Constantly monitoring and updating positive and relevant content that portrays you well, emphasizes your achievements and distinguishes you from your competitors. This way, it becomes harder to harm your reputation in the future.

Reactive online reputation management – emergency crisis management when your name is already linked to unwanted negative references: results that are irrelevant to your professional life, negative reviews, pictures you’d really rather not have everyone see, lawsuits, libel and so on. In such a case, the same actions as above have to be taken, but in a much more intensive way, so that the negative results are pushed off the first page as quickly as possible.

 

“87% of consumers connect the CEO’s personal reputation to the reputation of the company” (Hill & Knowlton)

 

What reputation management services are out there?

Here are some of the services that can do the job:

  • Building up profiles and other web domains in order to have a perfect page of results when someone searches for your name.
  • Constant monitoring and adding positive content on regular basis.
  • Bumping down irrelevant results, negative content, unwanted pictures or posts, such as references to lawsuits against you on websites like ripoffreport.com.
  • Differentiating between you and someone with your name who has a negative online image.
  • Removing defamation, malicious content, and lies which can be considered libel and defamation, whose only purpose is to harm your reputation. Permanently removing the content is dealt with by legal professionals.
  • Minimizing damage done by unwanted media coverage, or by PR blunders.
  • Taking control of privacy settings on social network profiles, leading to less irrelevant content being picked up by search engines.

Why do I even need any of this?

So, how can reputation management help me?

  • Personal prestige and professional boost.
  • Create a sense of trustworthiness among your clients, professional colleagues, investors, potential employers and competitors.
  • Achieve market positioning as a brand name, and as an influential and reputable industry player.
  • Emphasis of your achievements throughout your career.
  • People who search for you will want to do more business with you.
  • Improve your chances of finding employment, including your dream job.
  • Makes you stand out compared to colleagues and competitors.

Build yourself a defensive shield that won’t allow negative results to make it to the first page of search results, and will thus protect your reputation in the future.

 

“86% of HR managers agree that good online reputation increases a candidate’s chance of being recruited” (PC Recruiter)

 

Who needs these services?

Personal reputation management and personal branding is suited to the following groups:

  • Celebrities
  • Politicians
  • Professional Athletes
  • CEOs and top managers
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Businesspeople
  • Freelancers and employees looking to position themselves as specialists
  • Anyone harmed online by negative campaign