Managing Your Digital Reputation

In order to be a successful business in the Age of Information, you must keep up with a technical driven market. 90% of today’s consumers use the Internet to find and research businesses before they proceed with a purchase. You might be amazed at what the average web surfer can dig up on your business with just a few keystrokes.

Do you know what people see when they search for YOUR business? If not, then you need to stop for a moment to consider your online reputation.

Just as businesses are becoming increasingly aware of their need to focus their marketing efforts on the world-wide web, they are also beginning to recognize a need for cultivating and protecting their online reputations. As this awareness increases, and as consumers grow more and more savvy when it comes to learning as much as they can about where they choose to spend their money, an industry is springing up to meet the needs of business owners who want to stay on top of their own online reputation.

Reputation management companies are your answer to overseeing your online business persona.

If you are not currently proactively managing your business’ online reputation, then you need to start – and as soon as possible. If you don’t have the time, energy, or know-how to manage your online reputation effectively, then you should consider hiring a reputation management company. Fortunately for you, there is a lot of information available to help you make that decision, and this is the perfect place to start.

Why is Reputation Management Important?

Perhaps the most important thing you can take from this is the fact that your online reputation will exist, whether or not you choose to participate in creating it. Why is that? Because people talk. You can expect that both your satisfied and your disgruntled customers will want to spread the word about your business. You can also expect that there is no possible way you will ever be able to make 100 percent of your customers happy, 100 percent of the time. What does that mean for you? That means it is inevitable that there will be some negative information floating around about your business, and that it WILL find its home on the Internet.

Where does reputation management come in? You can look at it this way: if you choose not to get involved in managing your online reputation, then you can rest assured that your online reputation will be formed by other people. Can you afford to put such a huge determinant of your business’ success into the hands of other people – people who may not want the best for your business? The answer is a resounding, “no.” Therefore, it is quite simple: reputation management is important because, as a business, YOU want to control your reputation, rather than handing that responsibility over to the ill-informed masses.

What shapes your online reputation?

There are a number of avenues that allow for the perpetuation of ideas and information that affect your business’ online reputation. Consider the following:

• Social media. Websites like Facebook and Twitter allow for a rapid flow of information between groups of like-minded people. That means that if anything controversial happens surrounding your business, it is very easy for people to spread the news quickly using these social networking sites.

• Blogs. Blogs can work in your favor, or against it. These days, popular bloggers are able to reach celebrity status. That means that if a blogger with a large following posts anything about your business – either good or bad – that information could potentially be in the hands of hundreds of thousands of people within a matter of minutes.

• Hate sites. Believe it or not, it is not unusual for a particularly enraged customer to go on a rampage of destruction about your business as the target. Hate sites centered on your business, product, or service can cause serious damage to your business’ reputation.

• Industry forums. These are websites centered on your particular industry, where people congregate to swap information and advice about things related to your business. You can bet that, if your business is doing something right and enough people know about you, people will participate in threads about your business on these industry forums.

• Press releases. Any time a news entity releases a breaking story, the Internet is all over it, from personal blogs to social media influencers. On top of that, all the major news producers maintain their own websites. That means that if there is anything damaging about your business in the news, it will show up in numerous places on the Internet.