Because of the internet, people are able to say what they want, when they want, from wherever they want. This is of vital importance in terms of reputation management, whether you are a business or an individual. If someone has something good to say about you, they can use a number of directions to do that, and it will have a good positive impact. Similarly, however, someone could post something negative about you on social media, forums or blogs and a huge audience will hear these negative things in an instant. It is not unheard of for someone with a grudge to actively find a range of forums and pages where they can complain about you and post their comments again and again. Someone who is then searching for you or your business will be able to find all these negative reviews through the major search engines.
If they find them, then they will almost immediately start doubting you. Unfortunately, it takes just a single negative comment for someone to start considering going elsewhere. Even if that negative comment is completely false, people trust what they read online. Because it is so easy to post something negative, and because it can spread so very quickly and reach so many people, it is now of vital importance that businesses work with professionals help them protect their reputation.
Three Elements of Reputation Management
Reputation management is about three specific components:
- Online monitoring. A reputation management consultant will monitor the news, blogs, social media and forums to see whether someone is posting about you. This allows any negative comments to be addressed instantly. Direct communication with those posters allows for conversations to start and negative opinions to be changed.
- Being proactive. Reputation management is very closely related to search engine optimization. A consultant will always work hard at pushing positive opinions and reviews to the forefront, so that when someone searches for their client, they will find the good opinions and not the negative ones. This work should be done even if someone has not been posting negative reviews yet.
- Having a plan. Reputation management has to be seen as a strategy in its own right. It should be in place long before negative content starts to appear in order for it to be most effective. That is not to say that it is too late if a business or individual doesn’t start until negative comments have started, but it is better to be prepared and ready.
Countering and containing negative opinions, reviews and comments is a much more effective when businesses are prepared for it. Having a counter campaign scenario in place will mean that any damaging content can quickly be dealt with. Without such a campaign, the negative views can spiral out of control and go viral. At all times, you must remember that building a reputation takes years of hard work, but destroying one only takes a few minutes.