What is reputation management? It can mean a lot of things, but in the online world, it is the act of directing what a target audience sees. No reputation management company can control all the internet. It can work hard to figure out where a business’s target audience congregates and then make sure those areas promote a certain brand image.
When most people ask “What is a reputation on the Internet?” they think it means promoting a company and removing negative reviews. This is pointless in most cases. For example, if you were marketing to tweens, then you could go onto websites aimed at older people to remove any negative opinions about your website. What would be the point if your target audience (tweens) is never going to see them.
What Reputation Management Is Not
Contrary to popular belief, online reputation management is not about scrubbing the Internet of bad reviews and adding good ones. A top quality reputation management company will not try such a bold and pointless maneuver. A top quality reputation management company will focus on a target audience and forget the rest. After all, you have to expect a certain level of hatred and dislike no matter what your interests or brand.
For example, if you were trying to manage the online reputation of a soccer team, it would be downright foolish to try to remove all negative comments made on websites that support other teams. Instead, you attract your own target audience, and you make sure that the messages they receive are positive.
Your Reputation Manages Itself in Many Cases
Why is reputation important? The biggest reason is that your business reputation influences if people trust you, if they buy from you, and if they visit your website.
What you need to remember is that your reputation manages itself in most cases. For example, in the unlikely event that you never create any enemies and you never get anybody angry, then there is a good chance you will have a positive online reputation across the board. In the unlikely event that you did everything right and made no mistakes, then you wouldn’t need to invest money into reputation management because your reputation would grow itself and speak for itself.
On a similar note, the opposite is true, if you are mistreating customers, viewers, or staff members, then your reputation will manage itself in that it will become very negative.
Managing Attacks on Your Online Reputation
What is a reputation attack? This is where an angry group of people, an angry person, or a competitor orchestrates an attack on your reputation.
They may post a series of negative reviews on Google and on review websites and on websites where your brand is prominently featured. They may post negative comments on your social media posts and on the comment sections of your websites. They may also attack (verbally/digitally) people who support your brand and/or who try to defend you.
Such attacks often need a lot of cleaning up. You have on removing negative comments and reviews off the internet. This can take a long time. In these cases, it is sometimes easier to have a reputation management company do all the hard work for you.
Managing the Effect of Your Blunders and Terrible Service
A reputation management company may seem a little lavish. If you are already paying an SEO team and marketing team, reputation management may seem like an unnecessary extra. Yet, there are times when a reputation management company may come in very handy. This is especially true when you or your brand suffers a blunder.
Maybe you do something newsworthy like having your sandwiches make a group of people ill. Maybe you do something such as run a promotion that promises more than it delivers. Maybe you pre-sell a large chunk of merchandise and then experience delays in receiving it, which means all your pre-purchase deliveries turn up late. On the other hand, maybe it is something small. For example, you have a sale period and your checkout stops working, which annoys and frustrates some of your most loyal customers.
No matter how big the blunder or mistake, you can have a reputation management company fix some of the damage. Plus, you could probably go a long way to fixing the reputation problem yourself with a smattering of common sense.
For example, if your promotion was halted by technical issues, then maybe extend or intensify the promotion. For example, if your sandwiches made people ill, then you could issue statements blaming your supplier, switch suppliers, and then promote your new “Freshly-sealed” sandwiches that cannot possibly ever be contaminated.
Reputation Management Is Most Costly to Those Who Mistreat Their Customers/Viewers
Some companies spend thousands upon thousands on reputation management. They do things like set up their own review websites so that they can promote themselves, and they pay comparison websites to display their products first. They may also pay other websites to remove their negative reviews and so forth.
They spend money finding keywords that lead to negative press about their brand so that they may purge the negative press and replace it with positive messages. In essence, these companies could save a lot of money if they simply stopped angering or mistreating customers. If they were not angering and upsetting people all the time, then they wouldn’t have to work so hard to keep their online reputation from sinking further.
Plus, do not forget that your reputation may sometimes be damaged from within. There is a website called “Glass Door” where employees (current and ex-employees) may offer their opinion on the company and working for the company. It doesn’t help to have your company ripped apart on the website.
Also, do not forget that your mistreated employees may be quite happy to go online and start spreading discontent via social media. Plus, if a news story comes around where employees reported reprehensible behavior, then that is a scar that can affect your entire brand (such as the Pizza Hut manager who threatened employees who were trying to evacuate during hurricane Irma).
Do What You Do and Then Advertise
Ted Turner said, “Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and advertise,” and it brings up a good point. Reputation management isn’t always about spreading positive buzz and removing negative content. Sometimes, reputation management is about directing your marketing effort to expand your brand’s influence. After all, what is the point in doing a fantastic job if nobody knows about it.
Reputation management is not the same as advertising, but if you are doing genuinely good work and you are not getting the credit for it, then reputation management should play a part in your marketing strategy.
For example, let’s say that you check your Google analytics. You see that your selling pages are getting moderate traffic and conversions, but your primary content is struggling. Maybe your hockey jerseys are selling okay, but nobody is reading the fantastic articles you are writing about the players. In this case, a little reputation management may come into play in order to help you push your content.
Continuing the hockey example, what about building a reputation as a bit of a hockey expert? Or maybe a sporting guru? Or maybe even as a sporting insider or excellent tipster? Such a reputation may draw people into your website and they may be more interested in your written content about the players. After that point, since your written content is fantastic, you shouldn’t have to overly advertise your content as heavily as you may advertise your sporting goods.
The point is that reputation management isn’t just about creating good spin and removing negative comments. It may also play a part in your overall marketing strategy. This seems especially true in cases where you wish to motivate people to read/hear/watch your online content. After all, wouldn’t you be more likely to buy healthy food from a reputed health guru website? Or fancy fragrances from an online dating personality?
Scammers Are Eventually Driven Away
Let’s say that you run a scam or a misinformation network. You post your content frequently on Facebook with all the other silly lies and nonsense that the social media network holds. Over time, if you are scamming people, you are going to have to keep working to fix your online reputation. You are going to have to pay reputation management companies to help you out. If you do not manage your online reputation, then people will stop coming to you, and your scam will stop working.
Luckily for the consumer, scammers are eventually driven away. The bad press/negative reputation that is generated becomes too much work to fight off. Scammers are sitting in a sinking ship where they keep scooping out the water, but it keeps coming in faster than they can scoop it out.
The downside is that scammers will simply close down their websites and set up new ones. For example, they go from “Danny’s Discount Hosting Service” to “Carol’s Cut-Price Hosting Service.” However, gaining enough popularity and enough presence to start drawing in customers takes almost as much time and money as fixing an online reputation does. This is why some scammers are driven from the Internet and never return.
Can You Cheat Your Way to Success?
There are plenty of ways you may cheat to improve your online reputation very quickly. A common reputation management method is to contact the website that holds many different negative reviews for your company and pay them to remove the comments or bulk them up with a bunch of common good reviews. In fact, some review websites are so guilty of this that it is their primary source of income.
Other ways are a little more sneaky. For example, if you have a YouTube video that is attacked by a bunch of haters who have left a high number of negative reviews, then simply delete the post and re-upload it. Sure, you will lose all the good backlinks to the video, but you will also lose all the negative press.
Another way to tackle the problem is to put your social media metrics near the bottom of the page. Google can read them, but your viewers are less likely to look here. Here is an example of a website doing just that.
With this method, you have numerous options. You can set a social media button such as the Facebook “Like” button. Set the metric as an image and then write in whatever number you wish. Alternatively, you can rewrite the code so it looks like your pages are more popular. You can pay spammers to add lots of likes to your page too.
If your social media functions (maybe the comments) start to have a negative effect, then simply delete the widgets on your website content management system. This deletes the social media buttons and/or comment section. You can then add in a new one that doesn’t contain negative features and/or negative comments.
Another trick is to pay people to add positive comments and likes into the social media elements of your websites and into your social media posts. For example, a single Twitter user could “Like” and/or share a wide number of your websites and other social media posts, pictures, movies, and so forth. The trick to not getting caught by Google is to shy away from bigger spammers and pay people you contact privately on social media and on Freelancer.com.
Conclusion – What is Reputation Management?
The answer to “What is reputation management?” has many answers. In terms of online-only marketing, it is the act of generating a scenario where a certain target audience is exposed to certain messages from a company. Ideally, the messages on display are positive. Any negative messages (such as negative reviews, unfavorable business comparisons, and unfavorable news stories) are hidden from the target audience.
If you are looking for a good business reputation management company, and you want to hire a team of professionals who work for your overall interest rather than spamming positive reviews online, then get in touch with the Innovative Solutions Group. We have a strong history of helping businesses re-focus their efforts and improve their reputation with their target consumers.