This post was most recently updated on March 15, 2022
Online reputation management meaning: to allow brands and individuals to shape and influence how they are viewed online. This process helps improve overall brand sentiment and public perception.
This article will help explain what the definition of reputation management is, its purpose, how it works, and the types of reputation management strategies you can start using to take control of your online reputation.
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What is Reputation Management?
Reputation management shapes what is being said online through your own messaging, not of others. It addresses negative feedback, false or detrimental content online, business and organization reviews, and more.
It is also known as online reputation management (ORM), internet reputation management, brand perception, and others.
The Importance of Reputation Management
Does my online reputation matter?
In short, yes. Your reputation is created by what people see of you from what is published and associated with your name, business, or brand on the internet. So, depending on your search results, (whether it’s good or bad information) what people find about you online has a direct effect on their perception of you before you ever meet them.
While word-of-mouth marketing is still a good source of brand recognition, online reputation management (ORM) is now a necessity for individuals, personal brands, and businesses both big and small. Today, over90% of consumers look at online reviews before they buy from an individual or business. This means you could be losing almost all of your customer loyalty based on a few bad reviews.
It’s a much more competitive world in the age of the internet. You no longer have a choice as to whether or not you want to be part of it, but rather how you or your business will handle it.
Why invest in online reputation management?
There are many reasons why having a great reputation matters for both businesses and individuals.
For businesses, online reputation management is critically important. There is a stark difference between a business with a good reputation and one with a poor reputation. The truth is, having a great reputation can either make or break a business!
For those who have higher stakes to uphold; a client, customer, employee, coworker, or investor could all do a quick Google search and find one simple link that could completely change their perception of you.
Hiring someone to help you take control of your online image could be exactly what you need to repair your reputation and reinforce your brand with positive content and search results for people to find.
Who Needs Reputation Management?
Instances of When Reputation Management is Needed:
How do you know if you need reputation help? Ask yourself these questions:
Have you been missing out on new job opportunities?
Are clients or new sales leads just not getting back to you?
Did you not get that promotion when you had the skill set and qualifications?
Is there something negative online about you or your business?
Do you have enough polished content available online to impress people?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, reputation management might be right for you.
There are 4 main types of reputation management services that companies and firms offer:
Individual Reputation Management
Business Reputation Management
Online Review Management
Online Privacy Management
Here are what reputation management means for each of the types of services listed:
Personal Reputation Management
In today’s world where everyone cyberstalks everyone, individual reputation management is more important than ever.Reputation management for teen students can be important to decrease the chances of being denied college entrance if admissions officers find unflattering content about them (even if that information is not true).
Even working professionals will suffer if search engine results create a bad online presence for them. Salespeople might lose clients or have trouble gaining meetings, and freelance or contract workers might lose work opportunities if their negative content appears ahead of an up-to-date portfolio in search results.
Brand Reputation Management
Research has shown that 88% of customers find online review sites to be trustworthy sources. Additionally, 80% have admitted to changing their mind about buying a particular product or service based on negative customer reviews found online.
In this case, your online reputation is directly tied to revenue. If you have too many negative reviews or negative content, potential customers may choose to do business with your competitors.
Online Reputation Management
Have you ever tried Googling yourself or your business? What are some of the first things you find?
These all get factored into your online reputation. To understand this better, let’s take a look at how search engines like Google work.
When negative links are the first thing someone sees when they Google your name or businesses, it lowers that person’s ability to trust you based on that first impression. On the other hand, review sites and other outlets with positive reviews and happy content build trust and turn happy customers into brand ambassadors.
Online Privacy Management
Internet Privacy Management means keeping your name and information private on the internet. Online privacy management includes the removal of unwanted links, blogs, and images from your personal or business search results, permanently keeping your personal information off of people’s search sites and the rest of the Internet while also protecting your online reputation and privacy.
How Does Reputation Management Work?
The purpose of online reputation management is to display your personal or business brand in the best possible light across the web. In regards to your reputation, what can be controlled with reputation management? There are certain methods that can help you control what others see about you or your business online.
Here are the various online sources and platforms where negative content can appear:
Many instances of reputation management start with online searches from Google and other search engines. Whether it is a search result, image, or video that appears, you’re at risk of having a negative reputation on search engines.
News articles are often the first thing that people see when they Google your business’s name or peruse their news feeds. Even though people are aware that fake news exists, we still tend to believe what we read in the news.
Whether there are bad reviews on your website, or another website, fixing reviews can be important for businesses. Reviews play an important role with how consumers make purchasing decisions. There are many review websites that exist online including Google My Business, Yelp, Bing Places, and many more.
Images & Videos
Negative videos and images that surface online can affect the reputation of both businesses and people. Reputation management in the context of online images and videos means removing or burying them.
Social media can be extremely damaging to reputation due to the ease of content going viral and reaching massive amounts of people. Social media platforms are used as a constant interaction, so managing your image and content and social media is important – and in cases where negative content arises, take steps to remove it, if possible.
How Hiring Reputation Management Experts Can Help
Depending on how little or how much work is needed to restore one’s online reputation and what approach (removal versus suppression) will be taken, are all factors related to pricing for reputation management.
Investing in online reputation management services ensures a return on investment no matter which area you choose to focus on. Any step toward solidifying a professional brand, whether business or personal, is a step towards benefitting your first impression on anyone who types your name or business into Google.
When working with a reputation management company in any of these areas, you should look to utilize a strategy and plan specifically designed for your needs.
A professional reputation management service will work with you one-on-one to define a course of action to either remove negative results completely or create a plan to suppress negative content with new content that helps build your brand from the ground up.
How to find a good online reputation management company
Here are a few key areas to look for when deciding which is best for you.
Do they offer a full comprehensive scope of services?
Are there strategies customized for each individual client and situation?
What is their track record and do they offer case studies or client references?
Are they specialized in the industry or following the new trend?
Is the work results-based and in real-time?
Do they offer transparency when it comes to pricing and services?