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But it’s social media where you will also find examples of complaints from users about services or products. And these complaints are in the face of the companies that provide them.
Companies can no longer afford to ignore the power of social media. Those that ignore comments made by users risk the possibility of a complaint going viral and their reputation being trashed.
Complaints, if not handled properly, can quickly snowball and impact negatively on the image of a company (or its personal brand). Building up a good reputation can take a large amount of time. Ruining it can be done almost immediately.
It is increasingly common for a person to use the Internet as the first point of contact with a product or service. People seek opinions, experiences and reviews before they buy. They value what others say online even if they don’t know them, because they feel that such views are independent and therefore unbiased.
It’s therefore critical that a company and its employees offer their “best face” on the Internet. Imagine what would happen if users searching for a product or company in Google only encountered negative reviews? No one would buy that company’s products.
When you work for a company that provides any form of service or product, you’ll understand that it’s not always possible to control what others say about you. However, you can control whether the views about your products and services are gaining positive or negative traction in the search engines.
The first thing you must do is make sure that whatever you sell is of quality and not of low value or defective. If there’s no way to defend your product or service then don’t market it.
Online reputation is not dependent only on the company, it’s also on the perception that others have about the company. It goes without saying then that you need to make sure all your products are painted in a positive light.
In the words of Javier Leiva-Aguilera “online reputation management” is about providing content, making sure that what you provide is easily understood and that your customers do not need to invest a huge amount of time to see the benefits.
Yes, we’re all going very fast and time is a scarce commodity but it’s easier if knowledge is broken down in bite size chunks. Whatever you do, try to make it simple to understand and applicable to everyday life.
You should consider the following factors when you position yourself to your target audience: your reputation, your brands, and customer loyalty.
The process of managing online reputation is by considering:
1. What do other people say about us?
2. In which context are they talking about us?
3. Who is saying good and bad things?
4. Do we need to act urgently?
Then consider planning, ie. what to do in a crisis of reputation, how to act, response times etc.
Effective online reputation management occurs when it is accompanied by a continuous process of monitoring (you should always know what is being said about you).