Your reputation has two versions: your real one and your virtual one. Which one is more important? For people who don’t know you and may never know the real you, your online reputation is the only one they will find when they do an online search.
Whether it is for yourself or your business, you must actively manage your online reputation. In political campaigns, there’s an axiom that says, "Define yourself before your opponent does it for you." That same advice now applies to online reputation management and business reputation management — and our company can help you.
Q: Why is online reputation management important to individuals and businesses?
A: Anyone — customers, competitors, former employees — can write and post a review or comment about you on review sites or blogs. Search engines index these comments almost immediately. Then these listings are included in the search results about you or your company.
Unfortunately, online reviews tend to be negative. If you do not ensure that you have positive reviews to offset the negative ones, Web searchers will obtain an unbalanced perception of you or your company, which will harm your reputation.
Search engines display reviews for your business from popular online review sites such as Yelp and Citysearch. Because these sites generate so much traffic, your listings are prominently displayed in search engine results for your business. It is your responsibility to ensure that what they display benefits rather than harms you. The combined listings for you or your company tells your story online—both good and bad. You must influence the story told about you online so that you receive the benefit of doubt with Web searchers. Search engine listings are the new ‘word of mouth.” In some instances, your search engine listings are a modern-day substitute for your personal resume or your company’s Web site.
Q: Do online reviews and comments really matter? Can’t they just be ignored?
A: Research has shown that online reviews, both good and bad, have an impact on your sales, profit margins, employee recruitment, intellectual property value, investor relations, community relations, public relations, financial performance, and customer loyalty. They cannot be ignored. A Harvard Business School study found that by increasing your online rating by just one star, revenue growth can increase from 5%-9%.
Q: What is involved in putting together an online reputation management or business reputation management plan?
A: To successfully engage in online reputation management and business reputation management, Cypress Media Group recommends that you follow a 5-point plan that answers these questions:
Do you need help with online reputation management or business reputation management? If so, we can offer you turnkey services. Call us at 770-640-9918 or contact us to discuss your specific needs and to obtain a confidential, no-obligation consultation.
Three reasons to monitor your online presence as part of your weekly public relations duties:
You should monitor all of the following categories that pertain to your organization:
Three online tools to use to learn what is being said online about your organization: