In today’s digital age, reputation management is more important than ever before. With a few clicks, anyone can leave a negative review or post an unflattering article about someone. As a result, it is important to be proactive about maintaining a positive online presence.
Reputation management is the process of actively and continuously monitoring the reputation of an individual or company and then taking steps to improve or protect it. This can include things like monitoring Google results, responding quickly to negative reviews, and promoting positive content about yourself or your business.
At Minc Law, we help individuals and businesses monitor, protect, and restore their online reputations. Our attorneys have removed over 50,000 negative and unwanted pieces of online content, and we offer online reputation management and digital risk protection services to help proactively guard against online threats.
In this article, we will define reputation management and discuss its importance. We will also cover some steps for managing your (or your business’s) reputation.
What is Reputation Management?
Benjamin Franklin once said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad deed to lose it.” In today’s connected world, it has never been easier for words to travel – both good and bad.
By tracking and influencing what others are saying about you, you can stay ahead of the curve and take steps to proactively protect your good name.
Definition of Reputation Management
Reputation management is the process of monitoring, protecting, and improving your reputation, both offline and on. It also involves a prompt response to any negative or unwanted content that could damage your reputation.
Whether you are a business owner or just want people to have a positive opinion of you, your reputation is important. Paying attention to your reputation can help you ensure that the opinion people form of you is the one you want them to have.
Reputation Management vs. Online Reputation Management
Your online reputation is the opinion of you that is formed when someone finds information about you on the internet. It includes everything from Google search results to reviews on platforms like Yelp, and your social media presence. Because more and more decisions are made based on internet search results, it is important to pay attention to your online reputation.
Online reputation management (ORM) is the process of tracking, improving, and protecting your online presence. It combines elements of search engine optimization (SEO), digital marketing, and public relations to give you the best possible online reputation.
ORM is a component of reputation management that specifically pertains to one’s online presence. While reputation management involves offline strategies like marketing, public relations, and the way you compose yourself around others, it now involves ORM as well. Because most modern interactions take place on the internet, in one way or another, most reputation management tactics have shifted online.
Different Types of Reputation Management
There are a variety of techniques that can be used to manage one’s reputation, and the most effective approach may vary depending on the situation. However, reputation management is generally categorized as proactive or reactive.
Proactive Reputation Management
This type of reputation management is all about taking proactive steps to ensure that your brand has a positive reputation. It is particularly useful for those who want to establish a positive reputation or those that want to maintain an already established reputation. This can involve creating positive content, using good SEO practices, engaging in community outreach, maintaining an active online presence, and running advertisements.
If you are able to take a proactive approach to your reputation management, you will be in a much better position to control the impression that you or your brand makes on the public.
Reactive Reputation Management
Reactive reputation management, on the other hand, is typically concerned with damage control. Once negative information about you or your brand has surfaced, these reputation management strategies can be deployed to help minimize the damage. Reactive strategies often include public apologies, content removal or suppression, and digital risk protection services to eliminate online threats.
No one really wants to use reactive reputation management – because it likely means their reputation has been tarnished. However, it is very easy to make an incident worse by responding in the wrong manner (or failing to respond at all). Reputation management professionals can help ensure your response does not make matters worse but serves to restore and improve your reputation.
Importance of Reputation Management
Reputation is the perception of an individual or business by others. A positive reputation can lead to increased opportunities, while a negative reputation can result in financial struggles. But before you can fully understand the importance of reputation management, it may help to look at the factors that influence one’s reputation.
What Factors Influence a Person’s Reputation?
Many factors contribute to someone’s reputation, such as their appearance, behavior, and personal values. And people’s opinions of an organization can be shaped by their interactions with the organization, as well as what they see and hear from others.
Reputation can also be influenced by:
- Google search results,
- Social media content,
- Expertise and recognition in your industry,
- Online reviews or comments mentioning you, and
- Arrest records or evidence of criminal behavior.
What Factors Influence the Reputation of a Business?
Businesses, in particular, need to be concerned with the myriad factors that can influence their brand’s reputation.
The way you treat your customers can have a big impact on your company’s reputation. Good customer service can lead to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth. On the other hand, just one negative interaction can damage your reputation. So it is important to provide consistently excellent customer service.
Product or Service Quality
The quality of your product or service is essential to the success of your business. Not only does it affect your reputation, but it also has a direct impact on your bottom line. Customers who are impressed with the quality of your products or services are more likely to become repeat customers and recommend your business to others.
The content you share with your customers should not only reflect the values of your company but should also be consistent. Your marketing efforts should revolve around the image you wish to convey. Marketing techniques, such as a brand campaign, can be used to increase visibility and influence consumers’ views of your organization.
Happy employees are key to a successful company. A great employee experience leads to increased quality and productivity at work, which in turn positively influences customers’ views of a company. By offering benefits and soliciting feedback from employees, you can create a work environment that everyone loves. This also sends the message that your company has good values and cares about people over profits.
A company’s financial performance can also affect its reputation, as financial success often indicates that a company provides quality goods and services. On the other hand, companies that are struggling financially may experience damage to their reputation. Poor financial performance may indicate problems with leadership, customer services, or the company’s products.
Today’s consumers care about corporate social responsibility. This means that even a company’s environmental impact can affect its reputation. Businesses can bolster their reputation by positively impacting their communities and the world at large.
For example, even small changes, like implementing an in-house recycling program, can positively affect a company’s image.
Corporate culture refers to the behaviors and values that shape a company’s identity. It can include everything from the way employees dress and interact with customers to the company’s core values and mission statement.
A positive corporate culture can help to attract and retain talent, foster innovation, and build customer loyalty. Conversely, a negative culture can lead to high turnover rates, regulatory scrutiny, and reputational damage.
Please see our article explaining how a CEO’s reputation can impact corporate reputation.
Just as your company’s environmental impact affects its image, so too does its philanthropic activity. By donating time and resources to worthy causes, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to making a positive impact on the world.
In addition, philanthropic efforts help to build goodwill among employees and customers. When people see that a company is committed to making a difference, they are more likely to want to do business with them. As a result, philanthropic efforts have a clear and tangible impact on a business’s reputation.
Protecting customer privacy has become an increasingly important concern for businesses. Customers trust businesses with their personal information, and if that trust is violated, it can damage the business’s reputation.
Diversity & Inclusion
A commitment to diversity and inclusion conveys the message that the company is open to employees from all backgrounds and provides an inclusive workplace. This can help to attract top talent, as prospective employees will see the company as a welcoming environment. It also helps build trust with customers and other stakeholders.
By demonstrating that the company promotes equality and inclusion, it shows that it is responsive to the needs of all members of society.
Why is Personal Reputation Important?
A person’s reputation is the sum of how they are perceived by others. A good reputation can open doors and lead to new opportunities, while a poor reputation can make it difficult to achieve success. It can also affect relationships and social interactions.
People with positive reputations are often trusted and respected, while people with bad reputations may be avoided or even ostracized.
Please see our comprehensive guide answering ‘Why is a positive reputation important in business?’
Why is Corporate Reputation Important?
A company’s reputation can be a key determinant of success. Customers, employees, investors, and partners all make decisions based on how they perceive a company. A strong corporate reputation can attract new business, inspire employee loyalty and dedication, and instill consumer confidence. All of which directly impact a business’s bottom line.
Conversely, a negative reputation can damage relationships, discourage potential customers and employees, and lead to financial losses.
For further reading, please see our comprehensive guide explaining the corporate reputation management process.
Role of the Internet In Reputation Management
In an age where information is readily available at our fingertips, the importance of reputation management has increased tenfold. With a simple Google search, employers can find out everything they need to know about a potential employee – and that includes any embarrassing social media posts from their teenage years. Similarly, a bad review on Yelp can tank a small business.
The internet has made it easier than ever for people to find information about others – and that includes both good and bad information.
How Can a Negative Social Media Presence Affect Your Reputation?
Inappropriate Photos Display a Bad Image
Inappropriate photos or posts on social media can damage your reputation and cost you opportunities, whether you are an individual seeking a new job or a business trying to attract new customers.
Be mindful of what you post on your own social media accounts, and also be aware of what employees are posting about work on their private pages. Once something is posted online, it can be very difficult to remove it, so it is best to avoid any potential problems by being cautious about what you share.
Your Attempt to Be Relevant Could Backfire
Comments and posts that are insensitive or disrespectful can quickly damage your reputation, even if you did not intend to cause offense.
Similarly, if you post inflammatory or offensive content, you may find yourself alienating potential employers, clients, or business partners. Therefore, it is important to use social media responsibly and to think twice before posting anything that could jeopardize your personal or professional reputation.
Your Words Can Come Back to Haunt You
With just a few clicks, anything you say or do can be posted online and shared with a wide audience. And once something is out there, it can be difficult to control the damage. If you make a mistake or say something offensive, it can quickly go viral and tarnish your reputation.
Just as it is important to think before you post, it is also wise to think before you speak – as one slip-up could cost you dearly.
Your Personal Profiles Could Leak Onto Your Professional Ones
With social media, everything you post could potentially be seen by anyone, including future employers or clients. If you are posting something on your personal profile that you would not want your boss or a potential customer to see, then it is best to keep it off social media altogether.
Remember, even if your profile is set to private, there is always the potential to leak out.
How Do You Check Your Online Reputation?
One way to monitor your online reputation is to Google yourself in incognito mode. This will give you an idea of what kind of information is easily accessible about you.
You can also create alerts to monitor mentions of your name or business. Checking social media accounts and taking charge of online reviews are also good ways to manage your online reputation.
Finally, you can purchase domains that match your name or business’s name to have more control over the search results that come up when someone looks you up online.
What is the Role of the Internet in Reputation Management?
The internet can be a great tool for promoting yourself and your business. It can help you reach a wider audience and attract attention and customers from all over the world.
However, it can also be a double-edged sword. If you are not careful, other people can use it to attack or sabotage you. They can spread false information about you or your business, or they can harass you.
As a result, it is important to be aware of common reputational risks and take steps to protect yourself. By being careful and proactive, you can make the most of the opportunities the internet has to offer while minimizing the risks.
What You Can Control About Your Reputation
You cannot completely control your reputation – other people will always have their own opinions – but there are things you can do to build a positive reputation. If you are constantly putting yourself out there in a positive light, it will be harder for negative rumors to take hold.
Of course, even if you have a strong reputation, there will always be some people who try to tear you down. But if you have taken the steps to build up your reputation, then people will be more likely to doubt the false or negative content.
How Can I Take Control of My Reputation Online?
There are a number of things you can do to bolster and protect your online reputation.
1. Secure Private Information
It is important to be aware of the ways that your online reputation can be affected by the private information you share. By keeping family and personal information private, you can help to protect yourself and loved ones from identity theft and other online threats.
Make sure that only trusted people have access to personal information like your home address, phone number, and birth date, and teach your children about the importance of privacy. This will help keep your online reputation strong and secure.
2. Set Firm Privacy Settings
You can take control of your online reputation by being thoughtful about your privacy settings. On social media, limit access to your posts to friends or family only. And always be careful about sharing family member data publicly. In addition, it is important to set guidelines for your children’s social media usage. They should understand the importance of privacy and staying safe online.
3. Google Yourself Regularly
One of the most important things you can do is to Google yourself regularly. This will help you to detect any potentially troubling posts or images that could damage your reputation.
If you find such content, you may need to look into using an online reputation firm to help you delete it.
4. Clean Up Social Media Platforms
Social media is a great way to stay connected, but it is important to remember that anything you post can be seen by others. If you or a family member posts something that reflects poorly on your family, it can damage your reputation. That is why it is important to have a discussion with your family about the importance of maintaining a positive online presence.
Emphasize the importance of posting only content that shows the best side of your family. By doing so, you will build a positive family brand that will reflect well on you and your family members.
5. Register Your Name Online
You can take control of your online reputation by registering your name as a domain if it is available. This will help you control your own name online, as opposed to someone else who could do you harm.
Additionally, register a domain name for any family-run business. The idea is to control your good name online – and a professional, well-managed online presence will serve you both in your personal and professional life.
How Can A Business Take Control of Its Reputation?
Assess Your Current Online Image
The first step is to assess the current state of your company’s online reputation. This can be done by conducting a Google search, looking at social media platforms, and reading online reviews. Once the current state of your online reputation is known, you can take steps to protect or improve it.
Be Active on Social Media
You can take control of your business’s reputation by being active on social media and portraying the image you wish to convey. This gives your business an opportunity to shape the conversation and ensure that your message is getting out there. It also allows you to respond quickly to any negative press or criticism, helping to limit the damage that can be done.
Claim Business Profiles
There are multiple ways to take control of your company’s reputation, but one of the most effective is by claiming business profiles. This allows you to have a say in what is being said about your business online and gives you the ability to respond to negative reviews.
Additionally, it allows you to share your story and connect with customers on a deeper level.
Make sure to read our comprehensive guide explaining everything you need to know about business review management.
Adjust Your Social Media Privacy Settings
Social media can be a liability if not managed properly. To protect your reputation, take care to adjust your social media privacy settings. By making sure that only authorized personnel have access to the account and by monitoring what is being said about your business online, you can minimize risks to your reputation.
Practice Corporate Social Responsibility
This means being active in the community, supporting worthy causes, and generally behaving in a way that reflects well on the company.
In addition to positive PR, a company may find that its employees are more engaged and productive and that its customers are more loyal.
Create Positive Online Content
By sharing positive reviews, blog posts, and social media content, you can help to shape the way potential customers view your business. Sharing informative and engaging content can also help to build trust and credibility with consumers.
Engage in Community Outreach
Community outreach shows consumers that a business cares about more than just making money. Customers and potential customers will see that the business is invested in making a positive impact, and this can generate goodwill and loyalty.
Furthermore, community outreach can help to raise the profile of the business to attract new customers.
Build a Positive Company Culture
A positive company culture can build a strong reputation by instilling trust and confidence in employees, customers, and stakeholders. In turn, this can lead to increased sales, higher morale, and improved retention rates.
Additionally, a positive company culture can help attract top talent and create a competitive advantage.
Become a Thought Leader
A thought leader is an individual or organization that provides insights and ideas on a particular topic. By sharing expertise through blog posts, articles, and other forms of communication, thought leaders can shape public opinion and build a positive reputation for their businesses. It can also help attract new customers and grow revenue.
Remove or Suppress Negative Content
This can be done by flagging and reporting false or defamatory reviews and by proactively promoting positive content. Additionally, businesses can engage with customers to resolve complaints and address negative feedback. In some situations, you may need to work with a reputation management firm to delete harmful content.
By actively encouraging customers to leave reviews, a business can ensure that its reputation is an accurate reflection of its products or services. Moreover, by responding quickly and professionally to negative reviews, a business can demonstrate its commitment to customer satisfaction.
Create a Reputation Crisis Management Plan
Whether it is a negative review, a product recall, or even a scandal, a crisis can quickly damage your company’s good name. That is why it is essential to have a plan in place to protect your reputation.
A crisis management plan should include steps for identifying and responding to potential threats, as well as ways to prevent future crises from occurring.
Is It Possible to Control All Aspects of Your Reputation?
Your reputation is the combination of how others see you and what they say about you. And while it is impossible to control everything that is said about you, there are steps you can take to try to influence your reputation.
First, focus on your performance. By excelling in your role, you can earn the respect of your peers and superiors. Second, be authentic in your interactions with others. Be genuine, transparent, and honest in your communications, and people will be more likely to trust you.
Finally, be clear and timely in your communication. If there is ever a question or concern about your reputation, address it head-on and as quickly as possible.
When Should You Reach Out For Help?
There are many reasons why you might need to hire a reputation management firm. If your business is facing a PR crisis, for example, it is essential to take quick and decisive action. Negative online content can also damage your reputation, making it difficult for customers or clients to find you. Additionally, creating positive, brand-centric content takes time and effort.
Ultimately, if you want faster results or do not have the time to manage your reputation yourself, it is best to hire professionals. With their help, you can protect and enhance your good name.
How to Choose a Reputation Management Company
If you are looking for help with your online reputation, there are a few things to remember when choosing a reputation management company. First, consider what services you need.
What Services Do Online Reputation Management Professionals Provide?
Online reputation management (ORM) is the process of monitoring, addressing, or mitigating search engine results and online assets that may affect your reputation. Most online reputation management service providers offer a combination of services that can be broadly grouped into the following categories:
- Online review management: helps you monitor and respond to online reviews, including those left on third-party sites like Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor.
- Suppression services: work to suppress negative search results. This can be done through content marketing or SEO techniques.
- Page creation and management: helps you create and manage positive web content, including social media profiles, websites, and blog posts.
- Reputation monitoring: monitors mentions of your name across the web and alerts you of any negative sentiment so you can take action accordingly.
- Public relations services: help you proactively manage your reputation by developing and executing PR campaigns that generate positive media coverage.
- SEO and content marketing: help improve your website’s SEO, so it appears higher in search results, as well as develop engaging content that drives traffic to your site.
How Much Does Online Reputation Management Cost?
While every case is unique, our reputation management services typically cost between $2,500 and $8,000 per month. We usually recommend six months to a year of service for the best results.
Online reputation management costs are usually dependent on the following factors:
- Whether you need negative content removed (and how much content needs to be removed),
- The size and visibility of your brand (large brands require more time and effort),
- Whether you need crisis management,
- The number of links you currently have and whether you need more links created, and
- Your existing domain authority.
However, it is worth noting that our packages are always customized to a client’s needs. Costs will differ depending on your specific goals and circumstances.
How Do You Choose a Reputable Online Reputation Management Company?
When it comes to reputation management, it is important to choose a company that you can trust. First, check out the company’s track record. How long have they been in business? What kind of results have they achieved for their clients?
Second, make sure the company is transparent about its methods and pricing. You should know exactly how they plan to help you improve your online reputation and what you will get for your money.
Finally, ask around. Get referrals from people you trust and see what others are saying about the companies you are considering. With a little research, you can find the right reputation management company to help you protect and improve your online presence.
Once you meet with a potential ORM service provider, we recommend asking some of the following questions to get to know them better:
- What type of content will you create, and will it be original?
- How long will the campaign take?
- Who will be doing the work? Is anything outsourced?
- Does this include a social media campaign?
- Is all of the work customized?
- Are you constantly changing your strategies to keep up with Google algorithm changes?
“I highly recommend the Minc Law firm. Not only were they knowledgeable, professional and timely in resolving my matter, but they were a pleasure to work with. Dan, Darcy and Melanie thank you for everything! My only regret was not engaging the firm earlier.”
October 4, 2021
If you would like to get started with online reputation management services, reach out to schedule your initial, no-obligation consultation by calling us at (216) 373-7706, speaking with a Chat representative, or filling out our online contact form.