Internet Reputation, online reputation, or e-reputation, is the reputation of a company, person, product, service or any other element on the Internet and digital platforms. This online reputation is impacted by the content an organisation distributes, the reactions of and interactions with web users, activity on social networks, etc. For e-commerce brands, online reputation is very important, as it can affect their online store’s credibility and visibility.
Managing Your Reputation Online
When you search for your brand, you’ll usually find mostly neutral results. It’s when you start finding results that include pages which refer to your brand, products, or service negatively that the importance of managing your online reputation becomes clear.
The usual response from companies who find negative results about themselves is straightforward. They want those results off the page. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple, especially these days.
Not only are there the usual issues with “out-optimising” those specific pages, and the effects of your efforts in things like personalised search (there is no more front page of Google), but search engine results are not the only source of potentially negative mentions of your brand. The rapid rise of social media has brought a new dimension to online reputation management (ORM). Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have not only made it easier than ever for end users to complain, but have brought a new level of visibility and shareability to negative mentions of your brand or services.
And while it is also easier for people to compliment your brand, they’re much more likely to take to social media over a problem than they are with praise. Part of this willingness lies in the perceived effectiveness of such complaints. Many users believe they will get faster and better results by reaching out on social media, than they will by following “official” complaint channels.
The critical part of responding to negative sentiment about your business is to do it quickly, and publicly (assuming that sentiment is made public). It’s more important to be seen to be dealing with an issue than it is to try and hide that issue away. Everybody makes mistakes. If one of yours is revealed, admit to it, and make up for it, so that everybody can see. With the right response, you can turn a complaint and negative comments into praise and positive ones.
With that said, you can’t depend on people contacting you directly (or via social) when they feel there is a problem. And that means you can’t just rely on the things you get told. You have to monitor the net for mentions of your brand, to make sure you can respond pro-actively, before things get out of hand. There are various software and online solutions that will monitor the net for you, but the important thing is to take action at the right time.