Online reputation management, also known as online reputation monitoring, is the control and influence or masking of an individual’s or group’s positive or negative online reputation.
Most businesses have a few key individuals who are responsible for managing their online reputation, such as their CEO, president, and a board. They are responsible for maintaining and building a solid reputation through responding to negative reviews, blog comments, or stories that could reflect negatively on their brand.
The key to online reputation management is to find, detect, and correct negative content quickly before it can build and maintain a negative reputation. This field is awash with reputation experts who can pull up search results in seconds using automated programs. They use techniques such as keyword and domain matching, and reviewing thousands of social media accounts for key terms relevant to the business in question.
If your brand is strong, the task of online reputation management becomes relatively easy. It’s easy to simply monitor the social networks that are most relevant to your brand. If negative posts, comments, and complaints come up you should address them right away. This is not as simple a matter as deleting the posts.
It is important to be proactive in addressing any negative posts or content. This is key to managing your online reputation. A good approach starts with addressing the source of the negative information. Depending on the gravity of the situation, you may want to consult with an IP attorney or law firm to make sure your brand is protected. If not, the negative information must be removed or corrected to prevent damage from further down the road.
For many businesses, one of the best ways to handle negative feedback and comments coming from social media is to look into news stories related to their brand. For example, if a brand partner comes under fire for posting online reviews that are unfavorable, the news story will note that the review was published prior to the event or following the event, respectively. Using news stories as a tool for online reputation management not only helps increase awareness of the situation, but can lead to the release of an apology or retraction – thus preventing further damage from occurring.
Social media engagement is crucial when it comes to online brand reputation management. Consumers love to interact with others and see the real side of brands they trust. However, when consumers read negative information about a brand, they will often question the validity of the information. This can be frustrating for both brands and users, but it is necessary to maintain healthy online conversations. Negative feedback from consumers can make it more difficult for consumers to trust companies they thought were good.
A business should address the issue directly to counter negative comments on social media. Correcting the misinformation or false facts that are being brought into light through online conversations and reviews is a crucial step to online reputation management. Creating a blog post or answering questions posted on a forum is a great way to begin the dialogue with consumers. The brand should address the issues, but it is equally important for users to do so. A brand that does not portray itself falsely will be better positioned to generate positive buzz.