Online Reputation Management and Business Reputation Management

Your reputation has two versions: your real one and your virtual one. Which one is more important? For people who don’t know you and may never know the real you, your online reputation is the only one they will find when they do an online search.

Whether it is for yourself or your business, you must actively manage your online reputation. In political campaigns, there’s an axiom that says, "Define yourself before your opponent does it for you." That same advice now applies to online reputation management and business reputation management — and our company can help you.

FAQs about online reputation management and business reputation management

Q: Why is online reputation management important to individuals and businesses?

A: Anyone — customers, competitors, former employees — can write and post a review or comment about you on review sites or blogs. Search engines index these comments almost immediately. Then these listings are included in the search results about you or your company.

Unfortunately, online reviews tend to be negative. If you do not ensure that you have positive reviews to offset the negative ones, Web searchers will obtain an unbalanced perception of you or your company, which will harm your reputation.

Search engines display reviews for your business from popular online review sites such as Yelp and Citysearch. Because these sites generate so much traffic, your listings are prominently displayed in search engine results for your business. It is your responsibility to ensure that what they display benefits rather than harms you. The combined listings for you or your company tells your story online—both good and bad. You must influence the story told about you online so that you receive the benefit of doubt with Web searchers. Search engine listings are the new ‘word of mouth.” In some instances, your search engine listings are a modern-day substitute for your personal resume or your company’s Web site.

Q: Do online reviews and comments really matter? Can’t they just be ignored?

A: Research has shown that online reviews, both good and bad, have an impact on your sales, profit margins, employee recruitment, intellectual property value, investor relations, community relations, public relations, financial performance, and customer loyalty. They cannot be ignored. A Harvard Business School study found that by increasing your online rating by just one star, revenue growth can increase from 5%-9%.

Q: What is involved in putting together an online reputation management or business reputation management plan?

A: To successfully engage in online reputation management and business reputation management, Cypress Media Group recommends that you follow a 5-point plan that answers these questions:

  • What are your specific goals and timelines?
  • On which sites will you focus your efforts?
  • How often will you monitor your efforts?
  • How will you measure the success of your efforts?
  • Who will manage this program for you?

Do you need help with online reputation management or business reputation management? If so, we can offer you turnkey services. Call us at 770-640-9918 or contact us to discuss your specific needs and to obtain a confidential, no-obligation consultation.

Three ways to handle tricky questions

  1. The "off the record" questionDon't answer.
  2. The hypothetical questionAvoid an answer.
  3. The "what-does-so-and-so-think" questionDon't speculate on an answer.

Three tips on choosing the right political consultant

  1. Ask about the consultant's specialties.Be sure his/her specialties match your needs.
  2. Beware of consultants who take credit for all victories and blame others for all losses.
  3. Find out the types of campaigns in which the consultant does not excel.

Online Public Relations Tips

Three reasons to monitor your online presence as part of your weekly public relations duties:

  1. Protecting your online reputation and brand
  2. Gathering competitive intelligence
  3. Reacting to any online conversations

You should monitor all of the following categories that pertain to your organization:

  1. Company name and slogan
  2. Company Web site
  3. Names of executives, managers, and employees in the news
  4. Names of products, services, or properties

Three online tools to use to learn what is being said online about your organization:

  1. Google Alerts
  2. Technorati
  3. Google RSS Reader