The basics of online reputation management

In Reputation Managementby Marius Badenhorst

In its simplest explanation online reputation management or search engine reputation management (SERM) is knowing and managing what is being said about you or your business online. Many people think that keeping track of this is unimportant, but if you have ever seen an online video go viral then you will know how quickly news can spread.

When somebody publicly praises you, you more than likely want the world to know about it. If this has been done online you can link to the positive comments and issue press releases and emails as a quick and effective way of spreading the good news.  However, if some says something bad about you, defamatory comments can fly across chat forums, message boards and blogs faster than wildfire. Suddenly having your online reputation management strategy worked out by an SEM company and ready to go doesn’t sound so bad.

With more companies using social media to promote themselves and their products and services, there is greater chance than ever for someone to post a comment on your company’s blog, Facebook page or Twitter account and you had better make sure that your online reputation management tools can keep up with all of it. Here are a few simple tips to help you get started with your online reputation management.

1. Determine a budget

You take into account the cost of advertising, PR and branding, but you may have to consider the cost of ensuring your online reputation is kept in check.

2. Outline your goals

Like anything you need to know what your aim is. Obviously you want to make sure that your name remains in a positive light in the online spheres, but you may also want to keep track of what your competitors are doing and use this information to your advantage.

3. What’s worth it

You need to decide what is worth paying attention and responding to and what isn’t. Keep in mind that you need to keep your customer- or fan base happy, as well as retain a positive image in the media. Either way you want to ensure a positive result in the SERPs. Even a negative comment or review can be made positive depending on your response to it.

4. Have a plan on the backburner

The vastness of the online environment provides fantastic space for you to promote your brand, and just as much space for someone to badmouth it. Having a plan to fall back on in such times is crucial to your online reputation management and can be the difference between a positive association with your company and negative one.

5. Keep the team informed

There is no point in paying for a company’s online reputation management services, getting a plan worked out for you, and then when the time comes to implement it nobody knows how to. Keep everyone informed and in the event of a crisis you will all be able to react quickly.

Keep in mind that online reputation management is a double edged sword and you need to balance the good comments with the bad so that people searching your brand, product or service are not mislead. To make sure your online reputation management is handled correctly, it is best to contact an expert. A reputable company that is experienced in SERM can help you define a strategy that will take care of much of your company’s online reputation management requirements.

About the Author

Marius Badenhorst