Online Reputation Management

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We live and work in a time of unprecedented change. And as digital marketing continues to evolve, so do our business needs. Reputation management as part of a core marketing strategy is no longer a 'nice to have', rather it's essential for success in business and as an individual. Reputation management means actively taking a control over your brand, whether that's business or personal.

Your online reputation and reputation management

In today’s world, online reputation management is essential.

The online sphere, and more specifically, what people say about you online is perhaps the single biggest influence on your success and that of your business and brand.

Whether it is personal or for a professional, this remains true for brands of all sizes and across every sector around the world. And as an individual, your reputation reflects on the brand or business that you're affiliated with.

If you're a business owner, thought leader, colleague, employee or major public figure, your reputation is everything.

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Speak with Simon our online reputation management expert, in complete confidence.

Reputation management should be an extension of marketing

While reputation management may sound like a brand-new trend, it's always been understood by high profile or public figures that their reputation can make or break them.

Business mogul Warren Buffet famously said: "A reputation takes 20 years to acquire, and five minutes to lose." And that was before the Internet!

Reputation management is more important than ever thanks to the Internet. In an online environment, everything impacts a brand's online reputation. From comments on social media accounts to customer feedback and from review sites to false information spread in the news, the online world does shape public perception.

A brand's reputation can be felled by negative comments from an influencer, for example. In some cases, this is all it takes to ensure a public relations disaster or the kind of brand reputation crisis that affects the bottom line.

Facts and stats - Igniyte
So, what’s the real influence and impact of different search results online?

Do you know what you look like to others online?

When people Google you, everything they see in the search results influences their perception of you.

In other words, the perception of total strangers, who may or may not be customers, creates reputation. And most of this kind of brand perception is created online, thanks to the ubiquitous nature of social channels and the ever-expanding online world.

Anyone can decide, at any time, to put your name or business name into Google. The chances are they stick with one platform, and the chances are also that what they see about you, your services and brands, goes on to inform their opinion on buying from you.

Let’s face it – if you search for something and all the online chatter about it is positive, you’re going to want to get in on the act. If it’s a sea of negative chatter, you’ll go elsewhere. It really is that simple.

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Reputation management is a 21st century necessity

In the days before the Internet, a company or brand could feasibly control its reputation through traditional public relations. As there were far fewer channels of communication pre-Internet, this was more manageable for a brand, and many were able to continue to increase sales regardless of the character of their CEO, for example. Potential customers simply wouldn't have access to that level of information.

Today, of course, everything is different. And while for many businesses, the fact that online media greatly increases their brand presence and helps to attract new customers, is a good thing the reverse can be true if negative content takes off.

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How does online reputation management help?

Online reputation management works to counter, weaken, or eliminate negative material online and generate and promote the positive.

This means that when people search for you online, they only see you or your brand online in the best possible light. Here are some stark statistics showing how deep this goes and how important review sites and online search engine results are for brand reputation management.

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During an online search:

Google controls as much as 92% of all search engine traffic.

The first page of Google search captures most of the traffic.

75% of people only look at the first page of search engine results to form their impression.

Getting the number one page of Google with SEO is important because 41% of consumers trust organic results over paid ads as their primary source for information.

HOw do you appear online?
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Create and curate your reputation through effective management

The goal with successful brand reputation management is to ensure that the first hits customers see that name your company, employees, services or industry sector are positive. This needs to be on page 1 of the search results.

Just as we, as individuals and as representatives of a business should be hyper-aware of our reputation, we are also all customers too.

Put yourself in the shoes of a potential new customers for your company, brand or services. When you search the appropriate name on Google, what do you see?

You want people to get a positive first impression briefly on page 1. If the results are positive – website, profiles, positive press articles, good star ratings, and reviews, etc – they’ll want to do business with you. Or at least move closer towards it.

Conversely, if the first few links are negative industry press, or a customer leaves negative reviews, they’re less likely to believe that you’re right for them and look elsewhere. Interestingly, this is also the case if there is nothing to be seen through search engines. In other words, if you or your company has little to no online presence, this will also negatively impact your brand reputation. In some cases negative online press can lead to defamatory cases which you then may require an internet lawyer.

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This is how much customer reviews impact your reputation online

We've collected some statistics that show just how much negative content online can affect your brand or company. Your business needs to take this into account and utilise any actionable insights to manage online reputation.

The impact specifically of online reviews on your brand reputation management is potentially huge:

93% of people say that online reviews impact their buying decisions.

95% of people admit reading online reviews before visiting a business.

89% of consumers are 'highly' or 'fairly' likely to use a business that responds to all of its online reviews.

67% will consider leaving a review for a positive experience.

68% of consumers also say they are actually willing to pay up to 15% more for the same product or service if they are assured they will have a better experience.

In the simplest terms, it's best to never underestimate how much customer experience matters. Other people's opinions of your business online can affect your reputation management offline and, ultimately, impact sales.

Why online reputation matters
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It’s also interesting to note that:

58% of consumers need high star rating before they choose to use a business.

Nearly 3 out of 4 consumers trust a company more if the reviews are positive.

Every 1* increase in Yelp rating means a 5 to 9% increase in revenue.

Negative press, content, reviews, and trolls can really harm businesses:

75% of businesses say that online reviews, comments, press and forum posts are important to the financial and reputational status of their business.

46% of companies have been damaged or are worrying about negative press coverage, (up 29% since 2014).

1 in 3 businesses say negative content has already damaged their business and 1 in 3 worry about the impact of negative content on their business and its future value.

1 in 3 businesses say negative social media posts pose the greatest reputation threat.

Negative content has cost 1 in 20 UK companies more than £500,000, 5% have lost £100,000-£500,000, 1 in 7 have lost up to £50,000.

51% of businesses say that their company has been negatively affected by unsubstantiated online reviews or targeted by trolls.

70% of consumers will avoid buying a product if they don’t like the company behind it.

1 in 5 companies surveyed by Igniyte are unhappy with the way they’re portrayed on their Google page 1.

Negative results are a huge worry for businesses as well as individuals. Whether you consider yourself solely an online retailer, or your company has a significant market share of a specific sector, customer experience and customer feedback matters.

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Showing your best side first will boost your reputation

But highly visible positive search results on page 1, really influence perception, reputation, consumer behaviour and business and individual success. And that is why it's so important implement a workable, meaningful reputation management strategy.

Here's a bit more insight into customer behaviour as a direct result of their view of a company or brand's online reputation.

98% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses.

93% of customers comparison shop for every purchase.

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Reputation management at a personal or individual level

The way individuals appear in search results or social media doesn't just impact their current role or business, but also the chances of furthering their career. Recruiters today will search media outlets or third-party sites to find information about an individual. This is where negative reviews or other negative feedback on an individual can impact their future.

Social recruiting is fast growing and virtually all companies are employing social recruiting in one form or another.

72% of recruiters use LinkedIn to recruit talent.

79% of job seekers have used social media in their job search in the last year.

91% of employers use social media to screen candidates.

The average UK company spends a quarter of their recruitment budget on social media.

21% of recruiters decide not to hire a candidate based on their social media profiles.

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And on how candidates perceive companies:

50% of job seekers are likely to reject a job offer from a company with a bad reputation.

Brand image and a company's reputation also impacts its recruitment possibilities. High quality candidates are likely to turn away from a business with a poor brand image. In extreme cases, one negative review can go viral and expose all kinds of negativity for a brand or business and can deter talent from joining.

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The benefits of online reputation management

All the above combines to form an extremely strong case for looking after your own reputation management. Online reputation management is essential and understanding how to manage it will increase your chances of success.

Here are some of the key benefits of effective online reputation management.

Credibility – positive links, comments and high visibility online makes you credible in the eyes of customers, stakeholders, employees, influencers and peers.

Trust – people trust a company, brand or person with a good reputation.

Profit – companies with higher star-ratings, reviews and positive content and PR get more business.

Talent – brands with a positive reputation earn better employees.

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Reputation management must be actively implemented

Reputation management cannot be a passive endeavour. Just as with any effective marketing or PR plan, it needs to be strategised and actively implemented.

Search engines, such as Google, Bing, and others, don’t care about your reputation. Results are not presented based on what’s negative and positive, but rather on relevance and popularity.

So, while negative reviews or other content that could negatively impact your reputation may not be fair, if it's clickable then it will be visible in search results to potential customers or recruits.

This is why taking steps to ensure reputation management is covered is in your best interests, both at a corporate and individual level.

Taking control of your online presence enables you to present the best possible image of your business, brand or senior figures to the online community.

As an individual, you’ll also control what people see when they search for you, and for businesses, you’ll help prospective customers notice you before your competitors and convert them into sales. It also protects your brand from any unwanted negative content online. How? The positive profiles and content make it harder for negatives to rank in the first few pages of Google.

This is where a reputation management company comes into its own. At Igniyte, we can have a macro of your online reputation in a way that would be extremely time consuming for you to have. There is, of course, reputation management software out there, but taking a DIY approach for when it comes to building business reputation, could end up costing more in the long term.

Because our approach to online reputation management is organic and bespoke, rather than automated, our clients’ reputation strategies last as Google’s algorithms change over time.

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Why online reputation management matters for businesses and brands

The more search engine results you ‘own’ on the first two pages of an online search the better. Why? Because it enables you to control what people see and influence their decision-making process. As well as your website, you want them to see positive reviews (which are very important for trust and credibility), social media, profiles, and PR.

A study conducted by Chitika reveals that the first page of a Google search for your firm’s name attracts 91.5% of traffic from an average search.

Credibility, trust, profit and attracting talent are all linked to your search results.

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Why online reputation management matters for individuals

People search for people online, whether they’re looking for a potential new hire, or want to know more about you before choosing to do business with you. They’ll check out your social media and professional profiles and notice if you’ve been in the news. What people see in the first 2 pages of an online search is what shapes their opinion of you.

For a quick insight into your own online reputation, all you need to do is Google yourself. Do you like what you see in the first few hits? These are the links that people will use to form their view of your online reputation, whether you're aware or not,

By putting place a professional level reputation management strategy, you get to curate these results and always put your best self forward.

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How long does reputation management take?

As a leading reputation management company, we work with all kinds of clients. And one of the first questions we tend to get is a form of: “How long does online reputation management take?”

This is entirely understandable, and as a reputation manager for our customers and clients, we know that the answer is not the same for everyone.

The length of time it will take to fully manage and curate your online reputation depends on your specific goals. Our services include link removal strategies that take, for example, between one and four weeks.

However, to get to grips and manage online reviews or to create bespoke content that will improve online rankings can take longer. Online reputation management activity to suppress/push down negative search results take on average six to 12 months.

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How online reputation management works

Every project is different and with lots of factors to consider, some projects are ongoing and never ‘finished’ but will be improved over time.

We use our expertise and experience as well as appropriate reputation management software to help guide clients through the process and understanding the amount of work that goes into improving online search results.

Personal Reputation
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What kind of reputation management software works best?

There is reputation management software out there that could, in theory, be used by individuals to try to conduct their own reputation management strategies,

However, review management software can be expensive in and of itself. Add on to this the understanding and experience you get from a reputation management company, and the time it takes to effectively strategise and it's not generally the best way to tackle reputation management.

Here are recommendations on 13 best free and paid for online reputation tools.

Online Review Management
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Does everyone need a reputation management company?

While it's obviously possible to take a DIY approach to your online reputation, this tends not to work for anyone who has a large presence online. We do work with people to create and curate their reputation from scratch in some cases too.

As you can see, the world of reputation management is both complex and wide-ranging.

You can find out more about personal reputation management and professional reputation management by clicking these links.

We would always recommend working with a professional reputation management company as the most cost-effective and useful way to improve and manage your reputation.

Learn more about Igniyte here and how we work.

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Speak with Simon our online reputation management expert, in complete confidence.

Online Reputation Management
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Online Reputation Management
Reputation Management matters for business, brand and individual success. Find out how it works and how Igniyte can help you here.
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