Online reputation is the consensus public opinion of a person or business that forms based on both their behavior and the subjective thoughts of observers and customers. It’s incredibly important to have an excellent online reputation because customers are often influenced by what they see or hear in the media, on social networks, in search results, and elsewhere. Whether you’re an individual or a business, it’s easy to improve your online reputation by being mindful of your actions and the way others perceive you.
An individual can control their reputation by changing their privacy settings on email, social media, and other Internet accounts, but it’s harder to do for businesses that operate in the open. As a result, it’s much easier for a small mistake or misunderstanding to ruin a business’s online reputation than it is for an individual.
A person’s or business’s online reputation reflects their character, values, and how they act in the real world. It’s a combination of both objective measures such as customer satisfaction, and subjective opinions such as the social impact of their behavior or products. A person’s or business’s online image is constantly changing. This is because news travels at an amazingly fast rate. People can learn of a data breach, an unflattering photo, or something socially or politically insensitive all within minutes.
Managing an online reputation takes constant effort and attention. It’s a full-time job for some companies, and even those with the resources can find it challenging to keep up. The best strategy is to build a positive reputation through proactive efforts such as encouraging happy customers to post reviews and sharing these on social media channels, and by optimizing review profiles across sites.
In addition, it’s important to address negative comments before they become a problem. A company can mitigate damage by quickly apologizing and trying to come to a mutual solution via phone or email. It’s also crucial to monitor and manage online reputation by leveraging tools that can provide an overview of all mentions and influencers, as well as provide a presence score and sentiment analysis.
Finally, an important aspect of managing online reputation is crisis management. If a bad review or other crisis goes viral, it can damage a brand’s trustworthiness and ultimately lead to a loss of revenue. To prepare for a potential crisis, it’s important to create and share a response plan with team members that includes the processes for responding to media inquiries, how to handle customer feedback, and who will be responsible for public responses. It’s also helpful to have a tool that can detect and alert you to unexpected conversations happening about your brand or product. This can be particularly helpful for small businesses that might not always have the resources to invest in a full-time reputation management team.