Managing reputation must be an integral part of your marketing strategy.
It’s no longer an optional extra and as the digital marketing landscape continues to change, there are compelling reasons to take reputation management seriously. Here’s why.
How much does online reputation management really matter?
Two years into the pandemic and a recent survey shows that more marketers than ever (57%) now prioritise online managing of reputation in order to shape public perception of their brand and business.
Undoubtedly there are still plenty of brands and businesses that do not fully appreciate the import of reputation management.
After all, how much can negative comments on social media accounts or a negative really matter for a brand’s reputation?
Our experience at Igniyte shows that online managing of reputation isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ extra within the marketing mix. Rather, it’s essential to build a positive reputation.
A company’s reputation directly hits its bottom line
What people say about a brand (regardless of the industry sector), its management, its employees and its reputation directly impacts its success.
The Internet is an enormous resource for customers who want to know everything they can find out about a business before they spend their money.
What people say about your business or brand online directly influences purchasing decisions
We think that a company’s reputation online is the single biggest influence on its success.
When potential customers Google your company name, or find your business listings through search engine results, the brand’s reputation matters.
Whether they see positive content, evidence of customer experience that is encouraging, or whether they see negative content about the brand online will inform their decisions.
How the online reputation of a business informs buyer decisions
For example, the next time you’re searching a specific online retailer, what’s most likely to make you use them?
Is it positive messages from online reviews? Could it be positive interactions people are having on social media channels with the brand? Our research shows that the more positive content is out there for the brand in question, the more likely customers are to pay attention to the brand image. The chances are, in this case, you’ll be happy to spend your money with this online retailer over other companies.
But let’s say, for example, that you decide to search a certain restaurant chain and some links on the first page of Google search results are negative ones? How much time will you spend searching for positive reviews instead? Data analysis shows that most people will simply choose one of the many competitors out there.
Companies dealing with negative media coverage must manage their online reputation
For a business with negative reviews, bad news coverage, a critical blog post or less than stellar social media interaction, it’s increasingly difficult to maintain a useful online presence. And in today’s climate, that can be the difference for most companies between success and failure.
The reputational risk for a business goes far beyond the odd negative review. Rather, online reputation management can be key to a positive or negative financial performance. That’s how important it is, and that’s why it’s vital businesses put together solid reputation management strategies.
How does online reputation management work?
Reputation management online is about strategically countering, weakening or eliminating negative content about your brand or business.
However, it goes much further if it is carried out effectively.
A reputation management company like Igniyte also pro-actively works to promote positive content in the online world. The idea, of course, is that when customers search for you online, their impression is positive.
The kind of content we’re talking about varies greatly. It includes everything that could feasibly appear in a Google search results that affects brand reputation.
All kinds of content impact a company or group’s reputation online
For example, your online reputation is not only impacted by positive reviews on independent review sites, but also social media content, public relations stories picked up on news sites, negative reviews, coverage of social responsibility factors on news site and nearly everything else.
Crucially, every company must understand that even false information about public figures at a business, or its management and employees affects its online reputation too.
This is where reputation management companies come in. At Igniyte, we have vast experience in reputation management that covers all bases.
We create a bespoke reputation management strategy that is informed by the client’s needs and the kind of content that’s already out there.
This will include review sites, company performance and any public relations coverage, as well as everything listed above.
Reputation management statistics worth knowing
If you’re still on the fence about the importance of reputation management, the following stats may change your mind.
Collated from Igniyte research as a reputation management company, the following statistics underline the import of your brand reputation.
Of all search engine traffic on the Internet, 92% is controlled by Google alone.
When someone Googles your company name, the first page of the search results attracts 95% of the focus.
For customers, there is little risk in trusting online search engines, with 64% of customers considering them totally trustworthy when deciding whether to use a business.
Reputation management is primarily online
Traditional public relations aim to enhance the good reputation of a company or brand in the offline world.
Today, reputation management is mostly online. While no-one can control what people think about a business, it is possible to control what they focus on. This, in turn, helps to shape their perception of the brand name in question.
So much communication today is online, it’s inevitable that more attention must be paid to media coverage, review sites, social media and social networks rather than solely on public relations.
Experienced and effective reputation management companies understand this and can work across the entire spectrum of potential content and coverage to manage a cohesive digital marketing and reputation management strategy.
It also makes sense not only to manage people’s individual opinions or a brand, but instead strategise for the platforms that act as arbiters of a brand’s reputation. This means review sites such as Yelp and Google reviews, as well as social media platforms.
Review sites and reputation impact marketing
A reputation management strategy should form part of a cohesive digital marketing plan.
They are not two separate entities. This is because what customers think of a business, whether through social media platforms or more traditional media coverage, influences every part of that brand.
It’s extremely difficult – if not impossible – to sell services and products to people who just do not trust your brand. People will simply turn to your competitors instead.
Effective reputation management, then, allows positive online content and messages to have the maximum possible impact.
Reputation management can save a business during a time of crisis
It’s not an exaggeration when we say that effective reputation management can be crucial for the survival of a brand.
A business reputation crisis poorly managed can spell doom for a business, regardless of its size or perceived strength.
In our view, prevention is always better than cure when it comes to reputation management.
Every business management team and its wider base of employees should be pro-active about reputation management.
A true reputation management crisis can impact your company in many ways.
It can damage your sales and the chances of company growth, it can put existing and potential new customers off buying into your services.
Poor reputation management, particularly in a time of crisis, can deter everyone from shareholders and suppliers, the local community to your personal relationships.
How concerned should companies be about a possible reputation management crisis?
For the team at Igniyte, effective reputation management is about preparing ahead of time. Dealing with a reputational crisis through the media retrospectively is incredibly difficult. But if companies have reputation plans in place, then they’re better positioned to manage any crisis.
Our research shows that 46% of companies are concerned about the damage that can be done from negative online content. And this is rising all the time.
We also found that any company dealing with negative media articles can risk losing up to 22% of new business.
A poor online reputation will hit the company bottom line
If your online reputation is suffering, so is your business.
Customers are highly likely to stop using a business or brand online after they see negative content about them.
This is why businesses who understand its importance will incorporate reputation management into their marketing strategies.
It’s a no brainer when you consider the damage that can be done, and the costs that can be incurred through a negative online reputation.
Work with professional and experienced reputation managers
As you can see, the complexities involved in managing your online reputation are many. From ensuring content covers the positive such as your social responsibility strategy to pushing down or eliminating unwanted or negative content, there are many different strands to an effective reputation management strategy.
At Igniyte, we have the experience cutting edge tech solutions and the content creation expertise to help you take control of your online reputation.
Find out more here, and start cultivating the kind of online reputation that will work for your business.