Reputation is everything. That is something that has been known since times first began. However, reputation is not just something people have, it is something businesses have as well. The opinion of your customers is vital to the success of your business. You want to establish a brand that is trusted, a go to specialist for whatever product or service you offer.
Once upon a time, establishing a brand was simply about handling your customers properly in your store. Today, however, everything is online, including your reputation. And the reality is that if people want to create an opinion on the reputation of a business, they will go online BEFORE going to the store. This means that reputation management has become a vital element of a business’ online marketing campaign.
Just What Is Reputation Management?
Have you ever typed your own name in Google? This is exactly what people do now, all the time. If they want to know anything about your business, they will simply type your name in Google and see what comes up. That lies at the heart of reputation management. The identity of your business is now being established online through the content that you post. This includes blog posts, social media postings and press releases. It also includes reviews other people leave about you on a variety of websites.
What reputation management does is manage and identify all the content that exists about you on the internet. This is a three step approach:
- Finding information on what is being said about you on the internet at present.
- Creating a brand image or persona online that is full of authority.
- Defending this image as and when necessary.
The nature and scope of your online identity is vital to actually defining your personal business brand. It doesn’t matter whether what people say about you is true or not, it will affect what people think about you.
Why Reputation Management Is so Important
Reputation management is one of the most important things for small businesses today. It should be an integral part of their marketing and public relations strategy. Small businesses get most of their custom through word of mouth. And, while the internet has allowed positive word of mouth advertisement to travel faster than ever before, the same is true for negative advertisements. If just a single person says something damaging about a company, the damage to their reputation and image can be tremendous.
Building a reputation, it is said, takes as much as 20 years. Yet, destroying a reputation takes just five minutes. Without a good reputation, a business simply cannot succeed anymore in today’s climate. The internet is the strongest tool for making or breaking a reputation and the process of reputation management is therefore a vital tool for any small business. It is also recommended that you hire the services of a professional reputation management company in order to make sure you approach this in the right way.