What is Reputation Management?

Reputation management refers to the strategy and process of identifying, monitoring and influencing public perception about a brand or individual. This practice, which is sometimes referred to as rep management, is very common among brands that have a strong online presence. With the advent of the internet and social media, anybody can write anything they feel about a certain brand. As a result, brands have stepped up campaigns to minimize reputation damage online.

Why Rep Management is Important

A brand is only as good as its reputation among existing and prospective clients. Without a good reputation, existing customers will slowly break ties with the brand and new engagements will disappear. Eventually, the profit margins will shrink, and the business may fail.

Brands need rep management, especially online, to win the clients’ trust and cement their credibility in the market. A customer who is yet to choose a particular company will look at what people say about the company online. If the results he gets are negative, he might lose the trust and confidence in the company.

Rep management is also good for sales. People often do a background search on the company before they decide to purchase. If a company is not aware of what people think about their business, they will most likely miss out on the opportunity to meet the people’s demands and improve their products accordingly. This will lead to a decline in the sales volume and profit margins.

Managing reputation is also essential for professional image. Every person who wants to do business with a certain company usually searches its name in Google to learn more about them. Since they don’t know the company well, they will be looking for more information in order to make their purchasing or investment decision. With an effective rep management strategy, companies can make a good first impression on anybody who searches them.

Best Rep Management Strategies

Since most of the risk factors facing a brand’s reputation exist online, companies should begin by ensuring they have a strong online infrastructure. This involves creating a website that is well positioned in Google and other search engines. It also involves claiming social profiles, leveraging online review sites, directory listings and using videos and photos on Pinterest, YouTube and blogs. Once the website is established, companies should ensure they integrate the website with social media using social widgets. This will help them manage customer reactions on social media, which is where most internet users turn when they want talk about their experiences with certain companies.

Since the internet is huge, negative reviews are likely to be there, even if companies employ the best rep management strategies. Companies can reduce the number of bad reviews it they ask and show their customer where to post their reviews. They should also have a quick and effective response program to help deal with such reviews.

Steps to Developing a Rep Management Strategy

The first step to developing a reputation management strategy is to learn what is being said out there. Tools such as Google Alerts, TweetBeep, Blog Pulse and Social Mention provide a snapshot of what people say about companies they have interacted with. Once you know what people are saying, look for a way to interpret it. Your interpretation can either be negative, positive, industry-related, branding or regional. After you have made your interpretation, create a list of the categories you want to address.

Reputation is an important aspect that companies cannot callously dismiss. An effective reputation management strategy means a great company image, strong customer loyalty and improved sales.