Traditional public relations was the way companies managed their reputations and their public image. Whether the campaign was proactive or trying to fix an issue that was hampering a client, the typical PR response was made up of positive press releases and images of an organization helping endangered animals, orphans, or impoverished communities.
It’s almost impossible to win with shameless link baiting, especially when it relates to a tragedy but that didn’t stop The Huffington Post’s blogger Tricia Fox from trying it anyway. On the day following the death of Amy Winehouse the posted her first blog titled “Amy Winehouse’s Untimely Death Is a Wake up Call for Small Business Owners” and a reputation management crisis was born.
Building a well designed and fully search engine optimized website with a regular flow of great content is old news for businesses wishing to maintain a high level web prominence while building and protecting their online reputations. With the meteoric rise of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, businesses and professionals alike must hold and manage accounts on all of them. Regular blog posts must also be factored into the mix.
Complaints are a fact of life for any business. The cold fact is that while the experience you provide or how your product performs may satisfy 99 people out of 100, there is still that one person out of a hundred that will express negative sentiments and pose the potential of becoming a reputation management problem.
The practice of reputation management is often seen as a necessary reaction to negative information posted on the web. While reacting to negative posts by putting reputation management strategies to work is an absolute necessity, businesses can put themselves in a much stronger position by using proactive reputation management practices.
One of the biggest changes brought forth by the internet is the leveling of the field between major media outlets and individuals on the web. With the internet empowering anyone with a computer and an internet connection to publish online, the sources for content on the web are now virtually limitless.
It doesn’t take much to generate a bad review on a site like Yelp. In fact, for businesses with heavy customer traffic, whether online or at a physical storefront, it’s really a matter of time before something happens that rubs someone the wrong way. The unfortunate aspect of this new dynamic is that a negative review is a negative review; whether the person posting it is has a legitimate beef or not. So how should you handle a negative review?
The First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech, is one of the foundations on which this country was built. It is also the reason you should start and online reputation management initiative for your business as soon as possible. As more online businesses realize every day, sometimes to their dismay, nowhere is the First Amendment on display more than on the internet.
As review sites become a larger factor in reputation management strategies as well as the decision-making process for consumers, business owners increasingly face the temptation of gaming the review process for ratings and recommendations. To be sure, there are right and wrong ways to generate reviews.
Reputation management problems can originate from an almost unlimited variety of sources including those that are started by the people inside a company. A recent example of a company starting its own reputation management firestorm comes from a small company in Livingston, Montana named Wilcoxon’s Ice Cream. Started in 1912, the company has intentionally kept a virtually invisible profile with the media for entirety of its existence.