The Importance of Online Reputation Management in the Age of Internet
We now live in an age in which the Internet has become an indispensable source of information. German users use it mainly for activities that used to require leaving the house. These include online banking, social media and especially online shopping.
Forums and blogs are a constant source of information about the latest trends, products and services. This has a direct influence on purchasing decisions, which used to be made mainly via television advertising. Nowadays, new trends arise almost exclusively on the Internet. Information about a company can be accessed with just one click.
This transparency can develop into an existential problem for a company if the relevant search engines provide predominantly negative evaluations and comments. Often companies underestimate the danger that can be caused by a bad reputation on the net. If the negative ratings are prominently placed and spread by the web community, they can drive a company to the brink of ruin.
A good reputation is the basic prerequisite for creating lasting trust with a company or brand, now more than ever when your reputation on the net is comparable to a business card that you carry with you permanently and that is visible to everyone.
Take time for your target group
Gather feedback on your online activities and use this feedback in future decisions. One thing that matters most is becoming part of the community instead of just talking to it. Be sure to respond to posts as soon as possible — interaction instead of one-way communication. Let every user feel that he is the most important one. Adapt your writing style to that of the target group.
Learn to appreciate criticism
Do not act against the wishes and suggestions of your target group. Let yourself be inspired much more. Do not be afraid of constructive criticism. Do not treat emerging criticism in a general way, but try to respond to it. An open approach to criticism has a long-term positive effect on the image of a company.
Try to bring about change with the help of criticism. Total isolation gives the user the impression that he is not taken seriously.
Use Social Media…
If you want to be successful in online reputation management, there is no way around social media these days. The main focus is always on establishing contact with the respective target group. This contact must then be maintained regularly.
…and monitor online channels
If you want to operate efficient online reputation management, you need to know what is written about your company on the Internet. Therefore, make sure you have complete monitoring.
The basis of effective reputation management is always the individual consideration of each group such as customers, employees, suppliers, competitors, but also the public, media and politics. Various strategies can be derived from the respective needs, demands and motivations, which can be monitored on different online channels. The following channels in particular are decisive in this context:
Modern media such as social networks offer great opportunities for companies to strengthen their reputation, but also an increased risk of being exposed to negative criticism. The power of social media should therefore by no means be underestimated. A business mishap can quickly lead to a flood of negative reactions and comments, which in the worst case can lead to serious financial losses or even the end of the company.
Review and rating portals
Review platforms and rating portals are often the first point of contact for consumers when it comes to comparing certain products or companies with each other. If one’s own brand or company is rated negatively on the respective portals, this naturally has an impact on perception and fewer potential customers will buy the respective product or use a service.
Blogs and forums
In blogs and forums, experts often exchange information on specific topics. Accordingly, it also makes sense to search for mentions of certain products or brands in relevant blogs and forums to get an impression of user opinions. It is also worthwhile to run a company blog on the company website, which can also be used for customer communication.
To be successful on the Internet in the long term, effective, continuous reputation management is essential. A good reputation is still the best advertising a company can have. Only positive customer ratings can convince interested potential customers and create more trust for the brand or company. Ultimately, the market value of a company stands or falls with its reputation.