Thanks to the internet, people can access any kind of information, wherever they want, whenever they want. The meaning of the expression “word of mouth” has completely changed because of it as well. Today, we can ask people what they think about things at any time, regardless of our time zone or if we even now people. If you run a business, you need to be aware of this. You need to know that people who might shop with you will first try to find that “word of mouth”, which translates in the world of internet as “online reviews”. This also means, however, that you have to be aware of what people say, and that you have to know what to do should they be saying negative things. This is what reputation management companies can do for you.
Reputation Management in Today’s World
Things have changed, and this includes how marketing is done. Customer feedback and your online reputation are now the most important elements of marketing and advertising. In fact, your customers will base their decision on what they can find out about you online, and you have little to no control over what it is they say. Did you know that 84% of people trust what they read online? This means that, if someone leaves a negative review about your company, true or not, your potential customers will believe it to be true.
What reputation management companies aim to do is monitor what is being said about you. At the same time, they will make sure that there is lots of positive content about you online. Lastly, they will use different tactics to get rid of the negative (remove it, de-index it, push it back, respond to it). This is absolutely necessary if you want to run a business. However, there are pros and cons about it as well.
Pros and Cons to Be Aware of
You would be surprised at how hard it is to remove negative information that has been posted online. While it can be removed if it is outright slander, this would take legal action, which is costly and lengthy. What reputation management companies do instead is try to control what people can and cannot see, focusing mainly on suppression. This is also known as “reverse SEO” – pushing something down the search engine results, instead of up.
The other big disadvantage of reputation management companies is that they cost money. However, not working with the could, and likely will, be even more damaging. Simply figuring out what people are saying and where is enough to keep you busy all day. If you then also have to engage in SEO tactics, respond to the negative comments that are out there, and try to suppress the truly defamatory ones, you would have no time left to run your own business. As a company, you have choices to make: do you take the risk and possibly have your reputation destroyed, or do you spend some money and have it protected for sure?