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Some facts about managing your reputation online.

For most online business owners, the term ‘reputation management’ isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about marketing their business. However, this is one of the most important concepts that any online businessman can use. As the name implies, reputation management basically involves making sure that an individual’s or business’ reputation is rock solid, providing third-party validation of the quality and delivery of your products and services. This is very important because when people seek to do business with a new site, most of them normally check the reputation of the site before doing so. While positive reviews tend to outnumber negative ones 7 to 1, this also means that if your site has several bad reviews, most potential customers will avoid doing business with you. However, even if your number of positive reviews is high; many consumers, feeding their need for drama, will look for the negatives in a business before getting involved in it.

The role of online reputation management

This basically means that if you are to benefit from new visitors, one of the things you have to do is to find a way to quickly respond to and address the negative reviews of your company while trying to make sure that the positives are prominent by encouraging your clientele to write reviews for your business. Since most people use search engines to look for such information, it would be logical to use reputation management with a particular focus on search engines, such as Google and Yahoo!. This then means that online reputation management can be thought of as a form of search engine optimization, only that it’s more complicated since it looks to suppress some views while promoting others. Pure search engine optimization, on the other hand, is only concerned with increasing your search rankings.

Ethical considerations

Many parties don’t advocate for the concept of online reputation management, claiming that it’s misleading to the public. When it comes to false or misleading reviews, one also has to consider the fact that many times, reviews and comments posted on blogs and review sites may not be genuine. For instance, some customers may misunderstand terms and conditions of a particular site, and then end up protesting if they don’t receive the treatment they expected even if the terms and conditions are clear. In such cases, the fault may be the customers, but since the internet is a free domain, he or she may still go ahead to write scathing reviews of the site. Online reputation management seeks to correct such problems by making sure that these inappropriately negative views don’t affect other people looking to do business with you. This means that it can be used as a form of protection against unfair judgment by other individuals, rather than as a form of masking honest negative reviews from genuinely aggrieved customers. However, the best policy perhaps is responding to negative reviews by admitting the error and pledging to fix the issue that the person is grieving over.

Obtaining online reputation management

Just as in search engine optimization, reputation management can also be done by hiring an online company to do the work on your behalf. There are several companies which are dedicated to doing online reputation management, so if you are ever interested in it you can easily find them and hire them. The good thing about most of these firms is that most are affordable; anyone who owns an online business is likely to be able to afford them. All in all, online reputation management is a crucial thing to do when you have an online business, since your reputation is what most potential customers use to judge your suitability as a vendor of goods and services.

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