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Online Reputation Management: What You Need to Know
Thursday, July 12, 2007
It's safe to say that reputation management is vitally important for all organizations that exist. In fact, whether it's on a personal or corporate level, everyone should be concerned about their reputation. On a personal level, having a damaged reputation can mean being a part of the "in-crowd" or being a loner. For businesses a damaged or negative reputation can mean millions of dollars. The importance of reputation management cannot be emphasized enough. In the wake of a negative experience and tarnished reputations, organizations have lost millions overnight, have had CEO's step down immediately and have even folded within months of negative publicity.

Prior to the development of the Internet, news often travelled slowly and methodically, but with the increasing popularity of blogs and social networks, news tends to travel rapidly and reaches the masses with swiftness as never before. In many cases, the general public is aware of information about your organization that you may not even be aware of yet. Online reputation management is a necessity.

Online Reputation Management What You Need to Know

Rumour, gossip, disgruntled employees and customer scorn can be highly damaging for brand reputation. Competition is increasing and PR firms are often reactive as opposed to proactive when dealing with their client's reputation. In fact studies about the world's top 10 PR firms suggests that around half of them have been linked to supposed PR disasters. So how do you go about protecting your online reputation? There are five keys to online reputation management.
  1. Monitor Your Existing Online Presence - consumers use search to find information. When they perform a query in hope of finding information on your organization or brand, you want to make sure that your website and online properties are listed high in the search results. In order to manage your online reputation, you need to know what is being said about your brand online. An easy way to do this is through tools such as Google Alerts to see how your brand is fairing in the online world of Google. Set up alerts for key branded phrases including your company name.

  2. Analyze Your Online Presence within the Search Engine Results - the search engine results update their index on a regular basis. With the increase in consumer generate content out there, it is not uncommon for a blogpost or negative article about your company to surface in the first page of organic search results. A company scandal or an ongoing law suit can provide fuel for the fire and can appear in the prime real estate of Google or other search engines. You need to get a grasp and develop a keen understanding of your search engine environment and that of your key competitors.

  3. Control Your Online Destiny with Optimization - optimize your site and online properties so that you dominate the search results for your important branded terms. This includes optimizing your main corporate site, any micro-sites and sub-domains, corporate blogs, press releases, articles as well as online properties such as employee blogs and partner sites.

  4. Control Your Online Destiny with Participation - Be active in industry forms, social networks, consumer review/opinion sites and the like. If your online reputation is suffering, participation within these areas can help change the negative perception that you may be incurring. Blogs are extremely popular for consumers and are often the first place they will go to find information. As a reuslt commenting on blogs can help communicate your stance and promote your company in a positive light.

  5. Repeat Steps One Through Four - online reputation management only works if it is ongoing. Being proactive and understanding the consumer's perception of your brand and your organization is one of the best ways to begin with your online reputation management strategy.
To prevent the loss of revenue and repeat business, an ongoing online reputation management strategy should be developed by all organizations. Online reputation management can ensure the ongoing success of your brand and your organization.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, July 12, 2007  
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