Proactive online reputation management is something frequently overlooked by startups. It is, however, an indispensable part of online marketing. Some companies enter the reputation game too late—and it is a game in that intense market competition could get ugly, and affected businesses are caked in the mudslinging before their products and services ever become known.
The wisdom of starting early is in the multiple benefits that come after. Ideally, reputation management targets negative content. A proactive campaign, however, is also instrumental in building the brand. It relies more on presentation than reaction. For instance, the initial launch of a brand’s website already speaks volumes. The quickness of reaction of social media crowds fuels online marketers’ predictions for the brand, that is, whether or not it will be received positively, or if it sets a certain tone that encourages sales and feedback. If a website is hogwash, it’ll be too hard to go back from there. The Internet would have already erupted in reputation damaging comments.
A proactive approach brings the reputation guys to the table even before any marketing campaign starts. It involves a constant retooling of the social media approach, the brand’s main message, its crowd-facing posture, and as an incidental resort, its treatment of bad raps.
An effective online reputation management campaign hauls the brand by its bootstraps. If you look at it from the point of view of marketing, it really isn’t an external process. Its goals are built into the core principle of doing business—to sell, to fill a public need. Hence the instruments that reputation management deploys are the same ones the company uses to advertise its products and services. In a sense you could even mash up reputation management and marketing in a single category. In sum, any web content that will boost brand appeal is reputation management.
It is then necessary to sustain it throughout every phase of the business, from break-even point and even more so when the profits kick in and the owners decide to diversify. The birthing phase, however, could not need it more. Reputation management ensures that the business has a solid and renowned reliability that will translate to brand loyalty and phenomenal sales. And it is no coincidence that the reputation guys are often on hand for every expansionary turn—a business that does well at a certain point is the talk of town, and this talk should generally be positive.