Reputation Management for the Modern Age: An Introduction

By: Jake

Now that you’re hitting the social media channels hard, your company’s name will be out front for everyone to see. But as your reputation spreads far and wide, it might occasionally need a helping hand. Enter the field of reputation management.

You might have heard the term reputation management thrown around with increasing frequency in the past few years. Indeed, the online reputation management field is booming.

It isn’t that people just recently thought of the concept – for as long as there have been businesses, there have been business-owners who’ve cared about their company’s good name. What has happened, though, is that the online world given much more weigh to every single customer’s experience.

In the past, if a customer used your company and was happy with the service, they could tell their friends about it, and that’s about as far as their influence would go. With the invention of dedicated customer review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List, we entered a new era of online review culture. Consumers now routinely browse through reviews before deciding which company to give their business too.

A positive review can now reach thousands of potential customers. In a sense, the positive experience has been immortalized through the power of the web. One person’s good experience can generate a ton of leads for your business, but the phenomenon works the other way too – one negative experience and the resulting bad review can reach all your would-be customers and turn them away before they’ve had a chance to evaluate you for themselves.

Businesses, of course, are attempting to reign in this phenomenon and use it for their benefit. This is exactly what comprises modern reputation management.

The handling of positive reviews is fairly simple – when someone posts a glowing review of your company on another site, you should use every chance you have to draw attention to it.

Dealing with negative reviews can be considerably more complex. Some experts favor engaging with the negative review, either by apologizing, explaining why this customer might have misinterpreted the situation, or offering to do something to help the customer feel better about the transaction. Others maintain that engaging with negative reviews does more harm that good, because it fails to mask the negativity, while simultaneously pushing the review higher in the search rankings because someone has now engaged with it.

Over the next month, we’ll be exploring the different angles of reputation management strategy to help you reign in the beast that is the online review culture. Whether you ultimately decide on an active or passive reputation management method, staying aware of what other companies are doing to keep their brand spotless will help you find the strategy that’s right for you and your business.