Regardless of whether you are the owner of a small business or an official public relations officer for a large publicly traded firm, the concept of reputation management has grown in popularity in lock-step with the rise of social media. In today’s virtual environment where opinions can be broadcast to a large audience with a few taps of a mobile device, it is common for collectivized opinions to dominate search rankings, which can greatly affect a product’s reputation even if the criticism or insight was not originally intended to do so. Depending on the search rankings of any given website, a company could quickly find itself in the spotlight for something as small as a poor customer review at a local restaurant or a bad customer support experience that an everyday consumer received when seeking assistance.
Because of this, it has become increasingly important for firms to stay on top of consumer opinions and even monitor them in real time. Like it or not, being one of the “first to know” can save a business from a viral outbreak of bad publicity while at the same time enabling public relations efforts that could save quite a bit of negative bottom line exposure in the long run.
One of the most common tools currently being used by companies to immediately find out what is being said about a particular brand is Google Alerts. This search feature allows individuals and firms to discover new content that satisfies certain keyword queries within a database and can send the alerts to any valid email address worldwide. Has a blogger recently published feedback on your business? Or perhaps a news article regarding your latest product launch has found its way to the virtual airwaves. Regardless of the content and its perspective, you can be notified of news and content as it happens; taking away much of the “element of surprise” that comes with being caught off guard by an emerging story that is getting a large amount of views.
Of course, being active on other social media sites such as Facebook, Yelp and others can greatly increase your firm’s chances of being directly in touch with the end consumer. Having a dedicated page on Facebook for example can give your PR representatives an opportunity to interact with any individual or company that has a complaint to levy. While some are uncomfortable with this concept due to its “public” nature, the technique has become a fact of life for those who wish to avoid negative publicity or at least respond to it in a timely fashion. At the very least, being aware of a bad review can give executives valuable time to come up with a strategic response and plan of action beforehand; rather than waiting until negative feedback has gone viral.
Reputation Management Services
One website that specifically works with companies to ensure they are taking the necessary steps to manage their reputation is Brand.com. On its homepage, the website states that “in basic terms, online reputation management (ORM) is the practice of giving people and businesses full control over their online search results. As the internet grows and technology progresses, protecting your good name may feel like a daunting task. To combat negative press, rip off reports, social media attacks,forum posts and other negative search results pertaining to your name or business, you need a leader in online reputation management with time-tested results.”
In many cases, simple steps taken by companies can ultimately save a lot of time and money – without the need to consult professional services offered online. By using free tools available to anyone with a computer and reliable internet connection, company reps can relate directly to clientele in an effort to improve overall relations as well as revenue.
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