Reputation Management — Rabbit’s Hole or Golden Egg?

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Reputation Management — Rabbit’s Hole or Golden Egg?

If you’ve had one eye on new things popping up on the Web, here’s a new phrase we’re sure you’ve started to come across on a more frequent basis in recent weeks — Reputation Management.

The Lutheran cathedral "Ulm Münster" of Ulm/Germany, coloured window "Saint George" by Hans Acker 1440, 24.02.2007, by J. Köhler

The idea of protecting your (or losing it, for that matter) reputation has traditionally meant that of keeping one’s honor clean or virtue intact. With the birth of modern trimedia, it became associated with public relations, and perhaps to some extreme, with tabloid headlines about showbiz celebrities and their perpetual battle with paparazzi.

In the context of a business owner and the global Internet, reputation deals mainly with a business’s brand image, and is something that should concern all types of businesses, but especially those that deal directly with their customers. Why so? Something as trivial as a staffer having a bad day in front of customers can spark a whole slew of negative reactions that can spill over onto the Web. Damage control nowadays is not as simple as appeasing the customer. To this extent, pro-actively maintaining and improving a busness’s public image online and at the business establishment itself should be done on a continuous basis.

How to do this? A combination of regular customer relations, online marketing, and online research is needed. Regularly engaging in such activities as:
– Soliciting reviews and/or endorsements from customers
– Pro-actively responding to customer complaints both online and at your place of business
– Engaging in online research on your business name and brand and ensuring that no one is misusing or abusing it
– Keeping your online presence active by regularly adding new content and freshening what’s already there

There are quite a few more things you one can do but those listed above are generally considered the minimum round of activity one needs to do on a continual basis.

Here’s the million-dollar question for many small business owners — How can I do all of these when I’m already short-handed on staff as it is?

Mind you, this is only the first of several questions you need to answer before you can actually get on with it. And the answer to this first question is not as cut-and-dried as we’d like everything to be. In truth, it often boils down to how much time, effort and money you’re willing, or can afford, to spend.

The quickest and perhaps cleanest way to address this question is to outsource the reputation management work for your business. It’s not hard to find a marketing company or outfit nowadays. Almost on a weekly basis now, new reputation management service outfits pop up both online and locally. Of course, this leads to another set of questions. Are you comfortable outsourcing a part of your business process? Are you willing to take the risk of hiring a company that does not have a brick-and-mortar office? Or would you rather be getting someone that you can call or visit any time of the day?

The list of questions go on, and the more you think about these questions, the more things will look like another rabbit’s hole. One thing is clear though. At the end of the route through this rabbit’s hole, you will have the makings of a solid business asset in your hands.

If you enjoyed reading this article, feel free to send us feedback via our online contact form. We’ll be coming out with more articles on this, and other topics, in the near future. Naturally, if you need someone to discuss your concerns and questions in more detail with you, you can always give us a ring, or send us an email through our online contact form.

We’d be happy to help you sort things out and see how we can help you turn your business’s reputation into a golden egg for you. Oh, yes, did we mention we have a Reputation Management service, too?


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