Online reputation management: who needs it the most?

With the extensive and continuous growing of internet, almost half of the world population has access to the online information posted everyday on internet. Thus, when we talk about reputation management, we have to talk about ORM (Online Reputation Management). At this moment, there can be someone in the other side of the world posting any sort of information that will affect someone else’s reputation. Even though an unknown person is less likely to be affected by bad online reputation than a well-known person, both of them will need reputation management at some point. However, it is also clear that the amount of information online about an industry leader, a celebrity or a politician is larger, and their names are highly frequent on online search engines. Below, you will find a list showing why some people absolutely need to manage their reputation.

Entrepreneurs

Normally, people who are just starting a new business do not care about their personal reputation. They believe all the attention has to be turn to the company itself. Nevertheless, specialists in reputation management suggest that entrepreneurs need to pay attention to their personal and professional reputation equally. Starting a new business is already extremely difficult, but it could be worse if entrepreneurs have an unattended personal or professional reputation. Therefore, entrepreneurs need reputation management even before starting the company, and during the whole setup process.

CEOs

As entrepreneurs, CEOs (Chief Executive Officer) have their personal and professional reputation closely connected to the company they work for. The process here works both ways: the business reputation affects the CEO’s, and vice versa. Customers, shareholders, media, and business partners are going to search the company CEO’s reputation before doing any kind of purchasing, investment, or commercial arrangement with them. On the other hand, if a company reputation declines drastically, this will immediately affect its chief executive credibility. That’s why CEOs should use all the time an online reputation service to avoid any of these situations which might end up in an awful termination of their careers.

Job seekers

Since the majority of people are going to look for a job at some point in their lives, this category covers almost every person reading this post. With the blossom of social media, we can find practically everyone’s personal information on internet. Personal opinions, leisure activities, pictures, or likes and dislikes, all this online info is there for everybody to see and potential employers are not the exception. They are going to use this data to decide whether an applicant is good or bad for a position in their companies. Even a candidate with a great résumé can be dismissed due to a deficient online reputation. People applying for higher positions in a company are more likely to need an online reputation management. But this does not exclude the rest of job seekers which need to pay more attention to the content they publish on social media.

Image courtesy of Rich LoPresti at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Rich LoPresti at Flickr.com

Politicians

In this category we find the most controversial and difficult people for reputation managers. People involved in politics have many possibilities in which they can end up with a bad reputation, and we can assure that most of these possibilities are going to happen. As there are numerous reasons why politicians need reputation management, and a whole post will be need it to discuss them, here are mentioned just three of them. First, politicians have clear adversaries, personally and professionally, and these people are able to pull some dirty information if they need to do it. Second, they are always in the spotlight, so every little movement, opinion, action, or inaction is going to attract every ones attention. And third, journalists, reporters, anyone in the news business will want to dig deep into a politician life, and they might find some dirt to expose. In conclusion, politicians could be one of the people who need the most a reputation manager in their staff.

Celebrities

As politicians, people in the entertainment business have their professional career always open for public scrutiny, and sometimes they do not know how to separate that from their personal lives. Besides the entertainment business celebrities such as actors, singers, musicians or TV show hosts; we can find sport celebrities as well. Their infamous faces are all the time in our laptops, TV’s, phones screens, etc. The mass media is always looking for more information about them. Even if reporters cannot find news about them, they sometimes make up rumors that can damage a celebrity’s reputation for a long time. As a result, most of them have publicists in charge of the information they give to media, and to the social media arrangements. However celebrities, as we have seen, cannot control all the online information about them. That’s why they also require managers for monitoring, sourcing and creating strategies to keep clear their online reputation.

Struggling with your reputation? Take an active role

We all have expectations for many different aspects of our life, especially when it comes to building our own business. These expectations bring along the willingness of making sacrifices so that our project results the way we imagine or even better.  One of those sacrifices people end up making, when the goal is to be successful, is losing the freedom of acting in the spur of the moment or just following their gut without giving it a thought.  Situations and events tend to lead us to think twice before making a decision, changing our priorities, and redistributing our time and routine.  In other words, we might not be able to attend social events, family parties or just spend sometime in the gym because our business demands from us time to develop ideas.

Imagine how disappointing it can be for one of those devoted entrepreneurs to see their business grow, collect a great number of customers, run smoothly for a period of time and then, out of the blue, just notice that the company got stuck and it is not going as well as expected.  For instance, regular consumers stop requesting the company’s services; or they do request services but less frequently.  It is also possible that the company keeps its regular consumers but it seems not to be able to find new ones.  It has been proved that either of the situations mentioned above are due in many cases to the negative reputation the company has earned.

It is important for customers to validate the information offered by the company. Looking for information online has become a very popular way to find out whether the perception of the company is positive or not. Additionally, it has become a trend for customers to find a way to globally share their experiences. It is unavoidable that both parts end up visiting pages where they can write and read nice and ugly comments. This is how reputation is most easily spread out.

Although it could drastically affect the success of the business, not everything is lost when your company happens to have a negative reputation online. Fortunately for companies, there are actions to be taken in order to lower down the negative impact on regular customers and the new ones aimed. Not all the negative comments have to affect your company in a bad way. Some of them will actually help business improve if they are taken into account! Despite the disappointment, what really matters at this point is not to give up. Instead, it is the right moment to find out what the real reasons for this outcome are, take in what you think can help your company have a better reputation and, as for the rest, just let go.

What to do to reduce negative reputation among regular customers

Image courtesy of Henri Bergius at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Henri Bergius at Flickr.com

It is a great idea, and it has been proven to work, to find out customer’s perception internally, as a company quality process. It is known that customer perception surveys are challenging to carry out. However, companies should not be dissuaded by the feedback surveys will bring up. No company has ever regretted doing this process, even when the outcomes aren’t all good. Asking customers how they liked their experience and receiving their direct feedback on how they perceived the delivery of the service can avoid having customers share comments online. This feedback can be used to inform and influence your staff on internal issues that need to be addressed. It is important to make sure that any flaw in the internal processes of the company is not reflected on the relationship or delivery of the service with customers… It is very likely that unsatisfied employees provide unsatisfying services.

Do not doubt customers’ willingness to respond the survey. They welcome the opportunity to express their opinions. Being heard opens the possibility for a change and they will gladly wait for it to happen, which means, they might give your company another chance before going to the web to speak up their mind and let their dissatisfaction out.

As it can be expected, surveys will also bring up customers with a positive perception of the delivery of services or products your company offers. Make sure they share their experience with the rest of the world, as this will also have an influence on the reputation your company is earning every day.

Every company that wants to be successful for long time should be concerned about its reputation and be aware of how powerful its impact is. This is why, for companies, I would suggest to never take for granted the importance of the comments customers have. And as for customers seeking for the best option they can find online, I would recommend to give it a chance to companies that care about customer’s opinions and needs. And don’t forget… there is no need to believe everything you read!

 

Why is a strong identity important to your online reputation?

Things have certainly changed since the internet became an irreplaceable tool for households and businesses alike. The web is a path that has allowed us to showcase our products and services in an easy and efficient way. Here, brands and titles transform and change day by day; different identities struggle to come out on top, since this is the place that allows harnessing great credibility and trust within a society. Everything in this environment is highly competitive, is a constant race attempting to get ahead.

Identity is what makes us exclusive within our species and sadly; we are restrained by much vulnerability we encounter in the net. Here we are connected to a massive entity from which we try to remove ourselves and thus gain our independence and further advance the molding of our personality. We live in a world where change is the only constant, so it’s imperative to protect our place within our community and not expose our reputation too much. Having a well-established identity allows you to set yourself apart from others, which is very useful for keeping your online reputation clean and safe.

The importance of forming an online identity for your brand.

One of the first decisions you must make when cementing your online existence, is deciding where you choose to be present, be it a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.

All brands must be aware of important principles that regulate their reputation; things such as quality, presentation and identity, and must always strive to keep them up to standard.

Updating frequently the content shown on websites, will maintain the brand fresh and effective. Updates but be done regularly so we can be constant on the online image we try to portray with our brand. New content will nourish your web identity and give weight to your reputation.

Important aspects for maintaining a good online reputation.

Quality is one of the most important aspects to focus one, if one wants to have a great online reputation. Always making the greatest effort possible within all processes from beginning to end, to ensure an exceptional product or service, will always be closely tied to reputation. Well-designed products transmit trustworthy relationships between service providers and customers and ensure loyalty and respect.

Commitment is formed from having great habits and routines; from following through from beginning to end in all processes and procedures employed.

Honesty and transparency go hand in hand with the previous two, since they must be our leading pitch when discussing all types of businesses. A first impression is everlasting and there are no second chances to damage control this type of situations. One must be careful, because a good reputation may be gone in the blink of an eye, only by failing to upkeep an atmosphere of total and complete honesty.

Passion is without a doubt, one of the most important factors in order to demonstrate, that what you say about your product, really means something. It goes beyond words, it’s more about having your passion for what you do, speak for the quality of your products. If you do things to the best of your ability, and you are confident on your skillset, then your passion will ultimately shine through.

The value of your client’s opinion.

We understand the client always comes first. Our products evolution must be tailored to our client’s needs and opinions. Quality, passion, commitment and honesty, are aspects in which we will constantly be graded and judged on.

Users create content in our websites, social networks and sometimes even in their own pages or interest groups. It is believed that over 80% of customers will talk to others about their experiences with a service or product, especially when this experience is not pleasant. Negative reviews have a tendency to be flashy and easily noticed, easily remembered by others as well.

It is understandable that unfortunate situations happen and sometimes they are unavoidable, even if they seem like negligence for one of the involved parties. The important thing is to know how to react to this type of happenstances and finding a way to turn this into a situation in which your brand can come on top.

You must be proactive for when bad situations arise. You must be transparent in the way you deal with bad comments and other aspects that damage your situation. Honesty will always be seen as positive and a redeemable quality. Don’t wait until bad comments show up for you to react to the situation; an unhappy customer can be identified early, if you have good channels of communications open. People usually start making their comments public after they have exhausted other resources.

 

Image courtesy of MSLGROUP Global at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of MSLGROUP Global at Flickr.com

The significance of keywords and search engine results and your brand.

Search engine results must index your website or personal pages with positive keywords. It is important that good words are associated with your activities. Being easily accessible is one way of making sure this happens.

There must be a combination of favorable comments in different social networks, especially in those that have great positioning and popularity online. Having multiple and diverse content helps as well. Videos, pictures, articles and blog entries, are essential for building a good reputation with different demographics.

Why do CEOs need online reputation management?

Reputation management is the control of an individual’s or business’ reputation. Now, online reputation is stronger than some years ago because, the expansion of internet and social media allows people to access to any kind of information. Positive information, negative information, unnecessary information, on the web you can even find false information about any topic, person or business. Furthermore, internet does not filter inappropriate information for your personal or business image and as online reputation is the new marketing strategy people around the world care the most, it is very important for you, as CEO, realize you need reputation management. This follow-up is done by reputation management specialists who try to give clients the maximum control possible over what people find about them on internet. Clients say to their reputation manager what kind of information they want people see as for example professional history. Maybe you think you can manage your online reputation on your own but it requires a specific expertise you probably do not have, besides the time you have to invest that could be use more efficiently while you make other things you are good in.

Before describing the process done by online reputation managers, it is important to set who needs reputation management, usually, people or trades that have disturbing information available online. It means, when they search on internet to see what come up, they found negative information that gives them an unfavorable status. In some cases, this information is true but it belongs to other people or even business with the same name. Thanks to real-time of social medias, little mistakes evolve in big crisis in an online-focused world, hence the importance of solve this problem as fast as possible. For sure, something negative is not possible to erase and this the starting point of online reputation managers. Nevertheless, it is not managers’ work to prevent damages bad reputation can cause; it is people and business’ responsibility to avoid as much as possible destructive information is published on internet.

Once bad reputation is on the web, the online reputation manager makes sure their client’s profile story, as for example a professional written biography, shows up and dominates their profile. They make sure positive information is on the top whereas the other information will be at the end or in the next pages that are not frequented so often by users.  Reputation managers understand the cost of a poor reputation, therefore work to do is not easy and new marketing strategies have to be implemented. Websites that rank products or people are the main target for managers and when they work with brands, they not only focus on the product but main people there involved too, the most representative people of the brand. CEOs for example should maintain a very positive online reputation. Let’s analyze the importance of CEOs reputation management.

Image courtesy of TopRank Online Marketing at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of TopRank Online Marketing at Flickr.com

CEOs’ reputation influences more than people think on the product image, even if advertisements are the best ones. Customers for example think or consider the CEO’s reputation before buying products. Remember that web searchers usually make as much links as possible through web; it means that while searching opinions about products, the results will also show all news related with the product, company and important people who have any connection with that.

CEO’s online reputation can establish them as leaders and industry experts. This will not only help them in their professional career but it will help the company too while the creation of a solid image. It means, consumers will trust a product that is managed by someone whose reputation is positive and who image is solid within the market. Remember at this point, CEOs become another company’s brand.

Investors make their own search about the CEOs’ profile before investing. They need to be sure the person in charge of the company is the right person that will lead products and services to the top. This is a matter about trust and credibility. Before believing in the product, they must believe in the chief first. For investors, this person in somehow will manage their money, their inversions, and a good online reputation is transform into a good online product’s reputation.

For last but not least, journalists always take into account CEOs’ reputation before any interview. It depends on the journalist conviction if they make emphasis on CEOs online reputation or just care about the product itself. No matter what line journalist take, it is not a secret Medias play a crucial role in the standardization of any product and good stories come from good reputation management and bad reputation ends in bad stories. CEOs should be friendly with Medias and for avoiding bad stories or bad reputation within Medias, it is recommendable to maintain a good online reputation.

How should the travel industry manage their online reputation?

Most travelers around the world use a great variety of online resources before embark themselves on a particular trip. Before trusting their dreamed vacation to a travel agency, as it was done in the past, travelers favored online information everyday more. The information available online for tourist, range from promotional material, photos, videos, ratings, comments from other travelers and reviews. Depending on the quality and relevance of this information consumers take their decisions. Therefore, organizations involved in the travel industry are paying more attention on how to control their online reputation. Recent surveys found that 50% respondents between active travelers used branded supplier sites when booking travel. Below there some aspects that you need to have in mind if you are part of the travel industry and you want to make improvements in your reputation.

A well designed website

The most important thing for brand working on the travel business is having a well designed and competent website or blog. It can serve as a central hub for content delivered through multiple channels to support reputation management, therefore is the ideal platform to interact with potential consumers. It is estimated than just in the U.S that branded travel websites are the the second most common mechanism used by travelers when they want to book trips online.

Good SEO strategies are necessary to place your website at a decent ranking position, do not skimp on it, because a good strategy will pay back in the future. Whatever you make public on your website make sure that is a useful content, but even more be sure that is unique, this will give you an advantage against competitors.

The importance of reviews

Online reviews are very powerful because they play the same role as word of mouth marketing. This, clearly enhance your credibility, therefore, you need to motivate customers to leave reviews using social media, emails, and even, by promoting prizes or awards for those who are able to collaborate.

Once you get reviews, you should answer them. If you don’t do this, you are showing no interest for your customers. Even if the reviews are negative, you must always respond. You must convince your customer that you are aware and care about what is being said about your organization online. Never being negative, because in this way you will validate the reviewers negative experience.

Give a positive response always, you don’t want to initiate a discussion. By being positive you are portraying that the problem potentially resides with the customer. Do not take it personal and leave your emotions aside, because human beings tend to go too far defending their arguments. Just try and understand what the particular issue is. And obviously take responsibilities about possible improvements.

If the reviews are positive you must respond as well, this shows that you are paying attention to the conversation. Reply with gratitude, this will show engagement with your customer.

Reviews play an important role on building your brand and building your ever expanding online presence and definitely influence the decision making process.

A new slogan might be written as: customers should have the right to leave a comment and is your responsibility to look at them and get back to the people.

Social Media

Brand presence on social platforms should be effectively implemented in order to control their reputation. The biggest social media organizations like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, TripAdvisor, and various listing sites–are the perfect channels for generating powerful reviews.

You should update your content periodically and make sure you guarantee the use of ads on all these platforms. This can make a huge difference to both your bottom line and how you are perceived.

Image courtesy of fdecomite at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of fdecomite at Flickr.com

Design and visually appealing

Our visual sense is very important for our decision making process, therefore, promoting trips or places depends on visual elements to perform well. Using beautiful, high-resolution videos, photos, and other multimedia impacts your reputation in several ways. A good multimedia presentation is more likely to be shared, increasing your brand’s exposure and creating indirect recommendations. Visual media are easy to publish across many different platforms (e.g., YouTube, Vimeo, Pinterest, Flickr, etc.), making them more likely to show up in a video or image search.

A website must be appealing for customers, but even more important, it should be friendly and easy to use, it encourages reviews, makes it easy to research and book a trip, and is more likely to show up in search results thanks to better navigation and user experience.

Take command of your reputation, as it were the most important element in your business, explore all its facets by making customer experience as remarkable as possible. These kind of gestures will be never forgotten. Following the previous steps, you will be definitely ready to start your reputation management on the right track.