A business’s reputation is the foundation of all of its work. While most businesses are careful with their business reputation within the community they work with; they worry about any negative information that could turn up on the radio and on television, most rarely worry about their online reputation; and in truth, this is the information that could most seriously damage a business reputation, just because it remains visible the longest (sometimes being accessible for years after its posting). To compensate for the effects negative online comments, information and reviews, it is crucial that businesses of all sizes implement the management of online reputations and make it a crucial element of their marketing plans.
What is Online Reputation Management and why is It So Important?
Reputation management is the “tracking of a business’s actions online” but it is also the following of other people’s reactions and opinion to those actions. A company that has devoted a portion of their budget to online reputation management will have positive reviews will have positive branding results,whereas one that doesn't may see the effects in their profit margin or even in the quality of their work force.
Let’s look at a few examples of companies that take online branding seriously.
Coca Cola – They continually work on their online reputation management by posting positive information, managing social media websites, offering slideshows, videos, wiki web pages and more. But all of this information places Coca Cola in a favorable light. There is not a single derogatory comment, at least not for several pages of the search engine listings when you Google the company.
Microsoft – When you Google, Yahoo or Bing Microsoft you get an endless array of information, tutorials, news and more, but there isn’t a single negative comment you can find that puts the company down, or offers a negative review.
McDonald’s – So let’s Google a business that is not so Internet focused. By the same token McDonald's has no negative information posted about the company. You’ll see company stats, information, social networking websites, and even financial information, but not a negative review, comment or negative news article (and there is a great deal to talk about here).
What Difference Does This Make?
Well, as an Internet researcher or user it makes a great deal of difference. When you Google these companies, you see them as being reliable, interesting and very successful. Does that mean that this type of branding is only available for the “Big Boy” companies? Of course not! But it does mean that a positive online reputation is important, and it is a relatively inexpensive way to get positive branding and advertising for a business of any size. Even so, there are also other additional benefits to giving your company a positive online reputation.
Having many pages of search engine indexing references that put your business in a positive light gives viewers an opinion of your company. They see you as being trustworthy, reliable, upstanding and honest. This increases revenue as research indicates that most people conduct online research of a company before buying from them. A positive reputation attracts a competent work force. Qualified people looking for a job change or who want to start a new career prefer to reach out to companies that are well known and who hold a positive reputation within their industry.
Positive reputation management testimonials are crucial to a business of any size, and the cost involved is minuscule compared to the cost of not having a qualified work-force, bringing in significantly large client accounts, and of making important work alliances.