Reputation Management in the Age of the Internet

Secret Secrets Are No More

Source: Neilson Marketing Services | Published on February 18, 2020

Businessman touching and drawing face emoticon smile on the tablet, service mind. blue background. Customer service concept.

There were days when a disgruntled employee or a dissatisfied customer would fade into the background without any further ado. Those days are long gone the way of the dodo and the VCR. Now businesses do not have complete control over their branding and their public reputation. With search engines, social media and general digital connectedness, companies are being exposed, both fairly and unfairly, and it cannot be ignored.

Proactive Plans for All Parties Involved

No matter the size of a business or organization, there needs to be a plan in place for reputation management. This begins by setting the stage and building a brand that is consistent with reality, because people will talk. An employee who works for, say, “The Friendliest Place in Ontario”, will be sure to highlight the irony when his boss shouts in his face.

Customer experience, employee satisfaction, and even public perception are as important as the bottom line these days. And then there should be a plan for how to respond should a crisis arise – someone review bombs the company, a news story paints them in a negative light, or whatever. Who is going to handle customers, the media, employees and so on? All of this must be planned ahead of time. Reacting in the moment is never a good plan.

Search Engine Optimization

One way to keep the company’s reputation in a good place is to pay for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Before anyone calls a company or visits an office, they will be sure to Google it first, so that first page of search results must be as closely guarded as the website. There are companies who will pay to set up a company’s pages and self-generated content in such a way that they will rise to the top. Left to the mysterious algorithms of Silicon Valley, it can be very difficult to put the best foot forward online. Speaking of the website, it needs to be well-maintained and intuitive, or it gives the impression of sloppy, dated business strategies.

The Two-Edged Sword of Social Media

Social media like Twitter, Facebook and the like have become ubiquitous, and many companies have jumped on the bandwagon. But a company should think very carefully about which, if any, networks it cares to join. Learn the specific contours of each site and see how this could help the company. Because if left to rot, it will reflect poorly, and the only ones who will visit it are angry customers who want to leave their one-star review. Not every business is conducive for an online hang-out, so be sure that everything lines up with the brand and that the digital reputation is as important as the presentation of the physical location itself.