Online Reputation Management: The Basics

Bad publicity is just a reality of doing business these days, especially for any company that is even moderately in the public eye.  With hundreds of television channels, a print media network larger than the entire European Union and the Internet, negative comments are hurled at everyone from the Pope to Oprah.  All it takes is one negative comment on a blog or Website with the right mix of traffic to drive your reputation down the tubes.

All of this mean’s that today, probably more than ever before, the need for online reputation management is essential.  Think about how many celebrities are made and then erased in a matter of days, or how many movies collapse even before they are released because of bad press.

Online reputation management is the process of following online references to your brand, your company, your service or to you specifically, as well as having a plan in place to deal with the negative comments.  Here are some online reputation management basics you can follow so that your perception isn’t tarnished.

  • Monitor – You need to figure out a way to regularly track and log what comments are going about in relation to you on the Internet.
  • Evaluate – Take into consideration what’s being said, he’s saying it, how it’s said, who might be reading it and so forth.
  • Act – Discover or create effective and efficient ways to comment on the information being published about you.

Why You Need It
To be quite honest, there are hundreds, if not thousands of scenarios in which a competitor, a friend or a total stranger will wipe the matt with you in terms of online slander and negative comments.  The most frustrating reason of course is having no reason at all.  There are malicious individuals who simply seek to attack the character of others without any provocation.
That being said, here are a few real world scenarios that come up with some regularity which dictate the necessity of online reputation management.

1. If you’re a business-to-business service provider pitching a particular client, a competitor may do their best to smear your online reputation by either posting ghost blogs, commenting on other blogs, setting up websites complaining about your or some other “dirty trick.”  The Internet offers everyone on earth the opportunity to anonymously make bold statements, and countless companies are taking advantage.

2. A client/customer who has a bad experience with your or your company either posts a website or goes on the attack on your company blog, making outlandish statements or just causing trouble.

3. A company with a name close to yours, and a url similar to yours, gets a load of bad press and people lump you in with this company.  Online reputation management can help erase this sort of problem, which happens far more often than people think.  This one is a bit trickier because the neighboring company may be doing some online reputation management of their own.  Many a company though has seen it’s reputation damaged simply because their name was similar to another company’s.

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