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Online Reputation Management in 2007 - Part One
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Last week we discussed What You Need To Know About Online Reputation Management. We discussed how rumours, gossip, disgruntled employees and customer scorn can be highly damaging for brand reputation. With competition increasing many PR firms are often reactive as opposed to proactive when dealing with their client's reputation. However we are starting to see more organizations becoming more active with online reputation management. This is a step in the right direction.

Why the Change?

So just why are organizations trying to be more proactive when it comes to online reputation management? Is it because they have skeletons in their closet and know that some negative press for their firm is inevitable? Well possibly, but I think the real reason why more organizations are becoming more proactive with online reputation management in 2007 is due to the rate at which news and opinion travel across the Web.

Environments such as blogs, forums, social media outlets and other online communities make it very easy for dissatisfied consumers, disgruntled employees, and gossip starters to get the "good" or bad word out about your organization with swiftness and ease. They do say tht negative news/publicity travels at a rate of ten times faster than good news. With that in mind, it's no wonder that large corporations are looking at blogging strategies and participating in social communities as a means of reputation management.

So what does online reputation management in 2007 mean to you? Well it should mean monitoring and protecting your brand in the online world. Negative commentary can have a significant impact on your brand that you have spent time money and resources to build. Here's a quick list of items to remeber when preparing your online reputation management strategy.
  1. Monitor Your Brand - This includes your actual brands, products, company and key executives an officials. When monitoring, you'll want to include modifiers such as “sucks” “scam” “scandal” etc. You'll want to monitor news resources, Social Media/Tags, Search Engine Results Pages, Blogs and Forums. Be sure to utilize tools such as Google Alerts, Yahoo Alerts, RSS feed subscriptions to search results Technorati, Feedster, Yahoo & Google News and social media sites such as MySpace and Facebook.

  2. Participate - If you have incurred the wraith of negative publicity there are a few things that you will want to do to address it. Whether it's true or not, research the source of the negativity. If the story is false, you'll need to provide the facts and ask for corrections and if need by an apology. If the story is true, prepare to discuss and open the lines of communication. Respond in the same environement either with your own blog or within a social community. Don't try to hide, be honest, clear, concise, transparent and listen.
Even in 2007 customer service and common courtesy is in vogue. Avoiding negative publicity is a great tactic for your online reputation strategy. However in this day and age, it is best to be proactive so planning an online reputation management strategy is a must.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, July 17, 2007  
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