The aim of this beginner’s guide to online reputation management is to give small businesses an insight into what it is and how important it could be.
What is online reputation management?
As the name suggests online reputation management involves looking after your individual and company’s reputation online.
Basically, it’s managing search engine results that are displayed when someone searches for your name or the name of your business online.
Online reputation management can also apply to monitoring business and consumer forums to see what other people are saying about your company.
For example, if you have a roofing business in Kent and someone is unhappy with the level of service you’ve provided they may have gone to the local press with their complaint who then publish the article online.
So the next time someone types ‘ABC Roofing Kent’ into Google, the article will probably show up on the first page of search results and damage your company’s reputation.
Online reputation management is the process of either preventing these things or addressing them once they’ve happened.
How does online reputation management work?
In an ideal world, you wouldn’t let complaints or bad press get to the stage where they are published online, but it’s not always possible to prevent it.
Online reputation management works through using a combination of PR, search engine optimisation skills and copywriting.
These three things can effectively create a number of positive search results so that when people search for your name or your company name online they will be greeted with constructive results which show you in a good light, rather than complaints or negative publicity.
Do I need to worry about it?
Research has shown that around 75% of people will use Google to research an individual in a business context.
Every business should be concerned about the effect negative publicity could have for them online, but if depending on the size of your business and the industry you’re in; it could be something that you never have to worry about.
However, if you Google your own name or business name and don’t find any results, positive or negative, it’s a good idea to start getting some positive news online to enhance your reputation.
Do I need to hire someone to manage my online reputation?
Many small businesses either don’t know much about online reputation management or have the budget to pay someone to do it on their behalf.
There is a lot involved in successful online reputation management including tracking mentions of an individual’s or company’s name, getting positive PR, search engine optimisation and copywriting.
If you Google your company name and find results that could harm your reputation then it could be worth paying for professional online reputation management as there’s no telling how damaging negative press could be in terms of lost business.