Online reputation management is a niche area of internet marketing, but one that is becoming increasingly important. Despite being a subset of social media marketing and search engine optimisation, both of which have a plethora of good practical information available about them, online reputation management remains something of an information vortex where good actionable advice is rarely shared in great detail and where professional reputation management services are extremely costly and are therefore the reserve of household brand names with large budgets.
However, there are steps, which all businesses can take to manage their reputation online and minimise the impact of any negative publicity, which can adversely affect your brand, and the performance of your online marketing campaigns.
In this practical guide I’ll share some of the techniques used by professional reputation management firms to ensure their clients brands are well represented online. You’ll see these techniques aren’t especially difficult, but as with all areas of online, executing them badly can in some cases cause more harm than good.
What is online reputation management?
We’re going to start at the beginning, more advanced readers may wish to skip this section.
Online reputation management is the process by which a company can build postive feedback, respond to negative sentiments about their brand in online conversations and minimise the effect of negative publicity by suppressing damaging web pages in Google search results. These are the two main battlegrounds for online brand protection campaigns – social sites and Google search results.
Lets illustrate how bad press can damage your reputation online with an example:
Search on Google for Nestle and at position 5 and 6 on the first page of results you’ll find the ‘Baby milk action’ Nestle Boycott campaign. A negative piece of publicity for this multinational company.
As you would expect the larger your company the more powerful the negative publicity against you is likely to be but companies of all sizes are vulnerable to this as search engines are now the default portal for anyone looking for your company online, the effect of negative publicity showing up in search results can be business critical.