online-reputation-managementWhen the phrase ‘Online Reputation Management’ is raised in conversation, a common misconception is brought to light. Some believe it’s an additional act attracted to social media marketing (SSM) practices or even something as broad as a public relations thing. In reality it’s encompasses both, However it substantially moves beyond this simple scope often at an unprecedented rate.
In the current business environment the Internet has forged; a sole trader is often found to be on a level playing field with their multi-million pound counterparts. However, it is often the case that little or no attention is drawn to their online reputation. Often organisations completely overlook an integral part of brand royalty or simply have no idea how much it can impact their business and sales.

When considering the value of a brand’s perception within the eye’s of its consumer, the impact the internet has on such a perception is often astonishing. Simply the need for maintaining a good perception is something companies of all sizes can benefit.

So what is online reputation management?

In a nutshell online reputation management is simply about influencing and controlling the perception of a business or individual online. Looking to increase interest and counter negative perceptions through a mixture of online marketing methods including SEO, PPC, Email Marketing, Content Marketing and more. So why is it important? well.
In a short passage of time, the internet has shifted position from being a valued reserve of information to a essential life resource. A tool often used in passive nature has now become predominately about engagement. In the past companies invested little or no time engaging directly with their audience through this medium. Often acting in a passive manner they would frequently miss the opportunity to actively express their voice to a highly engaged audience. Simply the communication landscape was autonomous and approached the audience with a top down approach.

Thankfully the entire situation has changed. We now find ourselves in a realm where businesses are actively engaging with their audience. With more regular interactions on social networks and company blogs, the audience is now able to communicate their opinions directly with the organisations.

Within the modern business environment engagement is undoubtedly a key principle to the success of any organisation. With the size of a company having little bearing on the opportunities for new prospects, clients, customers, etc… actively taking about you.

Whether they write a tweet about you or a Facebook post or write an engaging comment on your blog. The audience can create a feel good buzz around you. However, such material can fall either side of the fence. It can often be uplifting and a great promotional tool, but it can unfortunately also follow the dark and unsavory path in which comments can create a negative perception. In which a member of your audience can actively damage your online reputation through their interactions with you or about you.

If you think this is something you can forget about or even pretend it doesn’t occur. Then I would highly recommend you wake up and drink some strong coffee!
Your audience is actively influencing your brand’s reputation online at a second by second rate. You cannot simply ignore people’s opinions or reviews on your products and services. To do such a thing is simply enabling your competition to chip away at your companies tombstone. It may take months or even years, but your reputation is the most important influence on the success of your business.

In closing a bad reputation online can hold dire consequences for your business. There is growing need to counter such negativity in order to increase your brand’s reputation within the minds of the consumer. If you choose to simply ignore it, It won’t suddenly vanish from existence. When an item is published online it is often represents a stain that doesn’t wash off or disappear. The active management of your reputation online is essential to counter negative opinions and will enable you to provide a better service to your dishearten customers if actively incorporated into your marketing plan.