One term you will hear sooner or later once you get into business online is “Reputation Management”. The basic concept existed long before the Internet. The Internet, however, has made the concept a mission critical part of any online business. With customers (both happy and angry) being able to communicate their thoughts to the world at light speed, your company’s reputation can be made or completely destroyed, quite literally, in a matter of minutes.
In today’s online world, it is more important than ever to know what people are saying about you, where they are saying it, and whether it has the potential to boost you up, or knock you down. You need to be able to jump on positive waves that can help your business grow, and at the same time, you need to be dealing with any problems before they turn into fires you can’t put out.
What exactly is reputation management?
Reputation management is simply the concept of tracking what people are saying about your business online, and then trying your best to make sure that the majority of things being said are positive in nature. It’s an easy concept to understand, but not an easy job to carry out.
Finding your online reputation
Your online reputation is not something you can bring up on a web page and check on daily. It is made up of many different things that are constantly changing. If you have a comment section on your website, your reputation is in there. If there are forums devoted to products you sell, your reputation is in there. If you have a Facebook page or a Twitter account, you guessed it, your reputation is in there too.
The trickiest part of it all though, is that your reputation is constantly moving, mutating and growing with every customer or potential customer that you come into contact with. What might be the scary part is that those people have Facebook, and Twitter, and email, and access to forums, and blogs, etc. They’re the most important part. Your reputation is not just in there, it’s in their hands. When potential new clients want to know if you are worth your salt, all they have to do is type your name into Google and they’re going to see what all those people have to say.
How do I manage all of this?
The most basic idea behind reputation management is monitoring relevant media for mentions of your company, or its products, and responding to anything that requires a response quickly and professionally. Again, easier said than done.
This can easily turn into more than a full time job, requiring special search techniques, specialized software and, of course, vigilance. Companies that offer reputation management services can help handle the hardest parts and leave you free to deal with the necessary customer service required to keep everyone happy. Some will even respond for you if they can, and if that’s what you want. A good service provider will let you know where and when they see both positive and negative events occurring so that you can respond appropriately, riding those positive waves and putting out those negative fires.