What is Reputation Management?
As a business owner, you know the risks involved in using the internet to sell your products and services. The internet is your friend in that it allows you to market your products to a diverse demographic all over the world. But it can be your enemy when a disgruntled patron decides to defame you with negative blog posts, poor product reviews, and even articles about your company that don’t paint you in the most positive light. Even worse is the possibility that a large-scale issue occur with your company that would bring it under national—or even international—scrutiny.
Consider the case of Taco Bell. In December, 2006, 71 Taco Bell patrons became sick from E.coli. Using top-quality reputation management techniques, they quickly provided information about the outbreak with the intent of putting current and potential customers at ease regarding the safety of Taco Bell food. They did this by using techniques to ensure that only positive press appeared on the search engine results pages when users conducted searches about the outbreak. When customers saw only good press, they were reassured that Taco Bell was on top of the situation and was working to ensure that such an event never happened again.
Whether an enormous event like a disease outbreak or a small event like poor customer service, almost any event can garner bad press for your business. Reputation management seeks to keep these negative events from happening in the first place; when they do, reputation management seeks to minimize the damage done by them.
Who Needs Reputation Management?
Anyone in any kind of business needs a reputation management plan, including those who are just beginning their careers.
- Career Development and Reputation Management. Anyone beginning a career or changing jobs can benefit from reputation management. One of the first things a hiring manager does when he or she receives a promising resume is to enter the name of the applicant into a search engine. As a job seeker, you want to make sure that what your potential employer sees on the internet makes the best impression possible. One incriminating photograph or inappropriate blog comment could take you out of the running immediately.
- Brand Reputation. If you’re marketing a product or service, you want to make sure that the information about your product or service floating around on the internet is positive. Consumers regularly use the internet to research purchases and will immediately write off any brand or company that has made a poor name for itself. Even one bad review can turn a consumer off completely.
- Online Crisis Aversion. If you’re running a business, you will likely undergo a crisis at some point or another. The Taco Bell incident mentioned above is a good example. Another example is Jet Blue, the airline that made its passengers sit on a tarmac for the better part of day while waiting out a storm that was tearing through the east coast. There is no doubt that a crisis of some ilk will happen to your company, and you’ll need a stellar reputation management to help you deal with it.
- Anonymous Online Defamation. Online character defamation can be a serious issue for businesses and individuals. The laws surrounding character defamation and free speech are tricky, so if you find that some anonymous person on the internet has created content about you that doesn’t present you in the best light, the quickest and easiest way to deal with it is through reputation management.
- Government Public Relations SEO. Surprisingly, government organizations haven’t been known to use SEO to its fullest potential. Electoral campaigns and international conflicts are but two of the many situations in which officials can benefit from government online PR and reputation management by making sure that internet users find positive information when they conduct online searches about public policy, tourism, and conflicts.
It’s clear that the number of people and businesses who could benefit from reputation management is immense. And both proactive and reactive reputation management are key.
Proactive vs. Reactive Reputation Management
If negative press about you or your company appears on the internet, then it is necessary to take steps to respond to it. But what if you could stamp out the negative press before it even appears? That’s proactive reputation management, and it’s essential for businesses that are just starting out. Such businesses naturally run into glitches, and they might even get their share of poor reviews from frustrated customers. Or these businesses may find that their initial marketing campaigns are more bothersome to potential customers than they are helpful. Even though only a small portion of reviews may paint the business in a negative light, proactive reputation management can ensure that those reviews never make it past the third page of search engine results.
How Does Reputation Management Work?
The nature of the internet is such that it’s effectively impossible to get rid of bad press. But it is possible to bury that bad press under so much good press that internet users never even get to the bad stuff. Burying the bad stuff behind the top twenty search engine results is almost a guarantee that your potential customers will never see it.
We make this happen by creating lots of positive press, and by promoting that press so effectively that it shows up within the first twenty search engine results. We use tools such as microsites, blogs, social networking sites, high-quality links, and press releases to make sure that only the good stuff gets through.
What Can SEO 1 Services Do To Help?
Reputation management is an involved process, and one that you simply can’t afford to tackle on your own or leave to someone who doesn’t know how to do it well. Bad press can ruin your business, so it’s worth the time and effort to enlist the aid of someone who can do reputation management right the first time.
If the information that needs to be buried is minimal, customers can expect to see the positive effects of reputation management within a few months. For businesses that have experienced a large amount of damaging press, the process can take as long as a year. This means that you simply can’t afford to wait to start your reputation management campaign.
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