Reputation management is one of the most important steps any business, or person in business, can take. But why it's so important, and how you do it, is rarely discussed. So, here's a look at the importance of reputation management and why, more than ever, managing your reputation is key to doing well in business.
What Is Reputation Management?
Reputation management is, simply put, staying on top of what people are saying about you, and taking action where necessary to correct it. It doesn't sound like much, but the consequences of reputation management can be enormous… and sometimes shocking.
Why Is Reputation Management Important? Shouldn't Working Hard and Being Honest Be Enough?
It certainly should be, but unfortunately, it sometimes isn't. This can be for any number of reasons: Somebody wants to get free products and services out of you and are resorting to nasty reviews to do it; you had a difficult interaction with a customer and they've decided they were in the right and are trying to shame you on Facebook; or somebody has decided to make you a political example for whatever reason. And some people just enjoy being nasty, because they think it has no consequences; on the Internet, these people are called "trolls." All of these factors make image management crucial.
Can't I Just Ignore It?
Unfortunately, ignoring this behavior is no longer an option. As the Internet becomes more and more important in our lives, an online reputation is developed either by us or for us, and if you leave the Internet to its own devices, it can go to some genuinely awful places. It's not uncommon for businesses to be accused of anything from refusing to serve veterans to participation in illegal activities. A reputation management strategy is practically a requirement in modern business as a result.
But Why Would Anyone Listen to This?
Unfortunately, we tend to believe what we read on the Internet. We all have a relative online who will pass on every email forward and idea, no matter how patently ridiculous it may be, and those people read online reviews and comments like anyone else. Furthermore, if a potential customer has no context for your business, and the first thing he sees is a seemingly reasonable negative review about your business, with no response… your first impression has been made for you, without your ever knowing. That alone emphasizes the importance of reputation management.
Can I Take People Who Say Negative Things About Me Online to Court?
Possibly, but keep in mind that legally speaking, people are entitled to their opinion. Establishing whether or not an online comment is slander or defamation can take months, even years, cost thousands of dollars, and there's no guarantee of success. And it might even damage your online image. Legal action shouldn't be a part of your image management strategy unless absolutely necessary.
So, Is There Anything I Can Do?
- Claim your business on local review sites. This will let you know when reviews, positive or negative, are posted.
- Start your own social media presence, and update it regularly. This will help put your business up front in search results.
- When you become aware of a negative review, respond quickly. A quick, polite, professional reply is often your best tool.
- Read all reviews carefully; they can be your first indication of something you need to examine.
If you're intimidated by the Internet, or reputation management in general, ReputationDefender can help you figure out your reputation management strategy. It can even put all your reviews and comments in one place for you to read, or help you manage online reputation issues. So, put the pros in your corner: Call ReputationDefender today.
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