Use Reputation Management to Protect and Leverage Your Company’s Good Name
Your good name is perhaps your business’s most important asset. Reputation Management can help protect that name and recover quickly from a tough situation.
What’s In a Name? In a word, everything. Think Enron and Apple, both businesses with almost legendary reputations at opposite ends of the spectrum. While one conjures images of sneaky, lying, book-cooking executives, the other produces visions of quality products, great value and excellence service. With which aura would you rather surrounded your business?
The good news is, with skilled reputation management, you can take an active role in molding how customers see you. Perhaps even more importantly, when something does go wrong – and chances are fair that at some point something will – you can also have a hand in managing the fallout and the resulting public perception. In this sense, reputation management is one of the most valuable marketing meaures you can take, because it both bolsters your name now and protects it in the future.
What Gets “Managed”?
Originally reputation management was a field controlled by public relations teams that used traditional forms of media (for instance, newspaper articles, press releases, interviews and advertisements) to try to combat problems or nudge a reputation in one direction or another. These days, however, the term “reputation management” more commonly refers to search results, which can turn up either positive or negative pages related to your business. It doesn’t take much thought to see that a bunch of negative results will quickly empty your sales funnel, while positive ones will keep it full and running smoothly.
As regards online marketing, reputation management means minimizing negative results and maximizing positive ones. This begins with monitoring to figure out what people are saying on you online, taking stock of your reviews, and pinpointing incorrect sources of information about you.
Reputation Management Techniques
Once you have a handle on your current reputation, you can begin to work toward your ideal reputation. This involves producing good content that will get found by search results and push down (or at least counterbalance) negative content. It also means trolling the web to find unhappy customers and respond to them; monitoring other website to ensure information about you is correct, and asking them to take it down if it is not; and encouraging conversation about you and your business that paints you in the best light possible.
Most of the techniques listed above happen outside the realm of your business, but you can contribute to your reputation from within as well. By creating excellent and relevant web pages, posting quality content to which readers respond, and regularly using your social media platforms to share engaging ideas with fans and followers, you can reduce the impact of negative press.
What Does Reputation Management Really Accomplish?
This seems like an obvious question, but for many people it is not. Sure, it is tempting to let others think what they think and go about business as usual. For much of small business history, in fact, this was all one could do, because small businesses rarely had a PR budget. However, while for the most part this approach works on a typical day, it can potentially result in serious problems for your business … as when a scandal goes viral. Plus, you no longer have to sit idly by while others control the conversation, because the Internet puts reputation management squarely in your hands.
Keeping your finger on the pulse of your own good name allows you to respond immediately to problems, forge strong relationships with happy customers, and manage what search results return in that name. Moreover, when you are used to managing your reputation, you will be able to respond more efficiently and effectively when trouble does strike.