Reputation management is the process of influencing the public perception of an individual or group. While this originated in the public relations sphere, it has become increasingly prevalent with the advent of search results and social media.
So, let's find out why reputation management is so important.
What are the different types of reputation management?
Today, there are two different types of reputation management: online and offline.
Online reputation management is handling the content on the internet regarding an individual or group. This primarily refers to product and service search results, especially reviews that are given by customers or clients. This can also include the search results or social media content regarding a specific individual. Online reputation management has become increasingly crucial as now 65% of adults view internet searches as "the most trusted source of information" when it comes to either people or companies.
Offline reputation management deals with the control of public perception of an individual or group via their standing outside of the internet. Items of interest in offline reputation management include press releases, media content, and even displayed morals and/or ethics.
How does reputation management work?
Reputation managers work to influence how an individual or group is perceived by filtering the information the public is exposed to about them. So, reputation managers will monitor all the information that is published or distributed about an individual or group, then decide whether it will have a positive or negative influence on their potential for success. If negative, the manager will then work to hide or eliminate the content. If positive, the manager will attempt to spread it further and have it be readily available when someone goes to research said group or individual. On certain occasions, reputation managers will even reach out via email to promote more people posting their positive reviews.
Why is reputation management important?
Reputation management is crucial because it impacts major decisions, whether for one individual or a giant corporation.
Looking for a job? Applying to college? Trying to jumpstart your dating life?
Well, all of these will be a lot easier if there is nothing negative circulating about you. A common problem people face in these endeavors is what happens when people put their name into a search engine, or into social media. If it is easy for a company to find a picture of you on Facebook passed out after a night of drinking, odds are they are not going to want to hire you. If someone puts your name into a search engine and the first thing that appears is a mugshot, odds are they will not be quite as keen to go on a date with you, hire you, or accept you into their school. This is the case even if the mugshot is not yours, but someone else with the same name. So, reputation managers work to have these types of negative content removed or at least suppress them in search results so that they will not hinder your success,. This is especially important as approximately half of adults in the United States admit that their results in Google searches are not positive.
For companies offering products or services, reputation management is extremely important. Would you rather go to a doctor that you heard was excellent, or one your friend had a bad experience with? Would you rather eat at a restaurant that you see has 4.6 stars or one with 2.3? Would you rather purchase a product you have little to no information on, or a similar item that you can see others have had a positive experience with? Would you rather go to a spa with a review about how amazing the experience was or one where a customer has described being treated poorly? Odds are, you would prefer those with better reviews, which is why reputation management is so important.
Wondering how important reviews really are?
A 2016 study showed that 90% of customers read through online reviews before visiting a business, and online reviews influence 67.7% of purchasing decisions. Every additional star on the website Yelp has found to yield an additional 5-9 percent in revenue for a business.
Not only is reputation management important in driving business, but it also reinforces employees' commitment to the business, and gives them confidence in the brand, further benefiting the company as a whole.
Now, there is an easy solution to many reputation management problems. Software has been created that can easily monitor reviews, ensuring they do not get missed. Negative content can easily dissuade customers from making purchases, and harm business. Negative reviews can be left at any time, day or night, so software solutions are often the best resource, as they handle the content as soon as it is posted. These forms of software can also create an analysis of an individual or company's current online reputation, and offer suggestions on how to maintain or increase this level. There is also social media monitoring software that can track comments, subscriptions, likes, and more to ensure your business looks its best online.
Now that you see how important it is to track your online and offline reputation for both job candidate and businesses, there are no excuses for ignoring it. Keeping a close watch on your reputation, whether you are a job seekers or business owner should be a top priority. The days of setting it and forgetting it, will not only hurt your brand, but also your bottom line.
About the Author: Brett McIntyre is the founder of 216 Marketing, a Digital Marketing, SEO, PPC and Social Media Management company based in Cleveland, Ohio.