It takes hard work, money, and a lot of thinking to build a strong brand. It’s beyond unsettling how everything a business owner worked for can be ruined in a snap just because of a single defamatory remark or unfounded accusation posted online by an irked consumer or a malicious competitor. The discerning business owner knows that times have changed, and basic marketing campaigns are no longer enough–online reputation management should now be integrated into the company’s overall branding efforts.
While people increasingly live out their lives online, they have no control over the way they appear in the Internet. They cannot remove negative mentions of their brand in the search results pages just as they cannot avoid getting tangled with embittered people who could tarnish their name and spread the word about the bad experience. Entrepreneurs are particularly susceptible to online reputation issues as negative reviews or any mentions of their brand could affect their bottomline and the lives of the people who work for them. Some businesses can recover from a reputation disaster while others cannot. Regardless, businesses know that they can’t afford to stay complacent with their traditional marketing and customer relations blueprint in this Internet age. Should a reputation issue arise, they turn to reputation management professionals who specialize in online reputation makeovers that meet the specific requirements of a business.
That being said, not all reputation management professionals are created equal. There exists a number of fly-by-night ORM specialists who use black hat, quick-fix methods with no promise of longevity. This might be one of the reasons why some business owners prefer to create their own reputation management team and train them in the broader aspect of public relations in the digital age. While this is a viable option for some, businesses may be missing out on the benefits which only a reputable external ORM service can offer.
Part PR experts, part techies, reputation managers are profiled as online crisis specialists who, within the bounds of white hat practices, are able to help influence the rankings of positive information pertaining to a brand in search results lists for the brand’s relevant keyterms. They are adept in the use of webmaster tools to highlight positive mentions of the brand and suppress any information which business owners don’t want to see lurking in the search results pages. Online reputation management works like a hybrid form of digital marketing that leverages social media sites and technical tools to go beyond pushing a negative review past page one of Google results for the target keyterms. It combines traditional PR and customer relationship management not only to address reputation concerns but also to help businesses take advantage of what their reputation could be and how it could enhance their bottom line.
In this largely digital world, business owners must start believing in the double-edged power of the Internet. It could be the very thing to propel a company to heights it never dreamed of reaching, but it could also be the cause of its demise. How they equip their selves will determine whether they could harness that online power or be overcome by it.