Reputation Management Primer: Part 1

Introduction to Online Reputation Management

You may have heard of reputation management before, but what about onlinereputation management?

For those of you that might not know, online reputation management is basically the practice of monitoring what people are saying about your brand on the internet and reacting in a way to get rid of or make less visible the negative sentiment of your brand.

Negative Sentiment

Negative reviews, tweets, Facebook posts, etc. can be a blessing and a curse. The curse is obvious, but the blessing comes from having people talk about your brand and thus increasing its visibility. Harnessing that extra visibility and turning it in to something positive is the end goal of reputation management.

Finding Negative Reviews in Search Engines

There aren’t many businesses more polarizing than auto dealers; so let’s look at a bit of what a simple Google search for “auto dealers” in my hometown of Nashville, TN looks like:

nashville auto dealers serp
Ouch, that last one would definitely make me think twice about going there for my next car.

Two searches to find the most visible negative sentiment are “i hate [brand/product]” & “[brand/product] sucks”. Let’s look at what people who hate AT&T have to say:

i hate at&t serp
Notice that Google is even displaying the complaints on AT&T’s own website

People are so passionate that they’ve made Facebook pages, videos, and even websites devoted to venting their frustration.

This Sounds Like a Lot of Work, Can I Live Without Reputation Management?

Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

According to a recent Nielsen study:

“76 percent of US internet consumers said they most trusted recommendations from personal acquaintances, while 49 percent trusted consumer opinions posted online.”
– Nielsen: State of the Media | Advertising Spend and Effectiveness (06/2011)

Nearly half of your potential customers trust the opinions of total strangers; they may not even give you a chance if the first thing they see is a bad review. Monitoring and reacting appropriately to your reputation online is essential to the success of your business.

Next week…

We’ll look at some examples of reputation management gone awry.

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