Online Reputation Management is Preventative, Not Reactive

Management is PreventativeDoes your company need an online reputation management campaign? Chances are, your answer to that question is no. Companies that are fraught with bad reviews and online complaints tend to seek out reputation management companies, but companies without any negative listings on Google do not need reputation management. At least, that is how the conventional wisdom goes.

The conventional wisdom is simply not true, however. In reality, online reputation management works much better when it is undertaken as a preventative action, not as a response to some catastrophic event. If your company waits for disaster to strike, reputation repair will prove difficult, but by building up a strong online profile now, you can effectively ward off these reputation calamities. Reputation Changer reviews some facts about online reputation management below.

How Quickly Things Change

Take a moment to conduct a Google search for your business name right now. What do you see? Perhaps there is a Facebook page, your company website, maybe an odd listing or two in online directories, or on online review sites. All in all, it may seem perfectly harmless.

The trouble is, all of this can change in an instant—and all it takes is one bad listing for your brand reputation to get sunk. For example, what if a brutal one-star review shows up on Yelp.com? And what if Google’s algorithms make that review the very first thing that a potential customer sees when Googling your business? Given how much consumers have come to rely on the Web for informing their major purchases, something as minor as a lone bad review could devastate your company.

Meet the Culprits

And of course, there is nothing your company can do to prevent bad reviews from happening. You cannot force consumers to give you only positive reviews. You can try to strive for excellence in your products and services, but the simple fact is that some consumers are fundamentally unreasonable, and all they really want to do is offer up complaints.

An added problem comes from the fact that not all bad reviews and defamatory listings come from actual consumers. Fake reviews are alarmingly common—and these reviews can prove devastating to businesses. Just think: A zero-star pan of your company could get planted, at any moment, by a rival company, or even by a frustrated and disgruntled ex-employee.

This is not meant to sound alarmist. However, businesses must become realistic about the current online landscape. A negative review, consumer complaints, unwanted BBB listing, or unflattering news report could come up at any second, and any one of these listings could do immeasurable damage to your brand.

The Best Defense…

So what can a business do? For one thing, businesses can monitor their online listings carefully, using Google Alerts or a similar service. Additionally, remember that online reputation defense starts with a good offense. Take some time to fill the Web with blog entries, press releases, and articles that present your company in a positive light; rely on that positive content to effectively insulate your brand against all of those potential negative listings!

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