- By Adam Willhoeft
- 0 Comments
There are several risks that businesses take if they poorly manage their online reputation. Here is a list of some of the most common problems:
1) Industry Professionals: The comments left by industry experts and critics plays an important role in shaping a business’s online, brand reputation. Many savvy costumers are well aware that the internet is full of bogus positive and negative reviews. They look for opinions and comments from reputable experts within the industry. Comments left by these individuals and agencies carry more weight because readers trust their judgment to be objective and to be in the reader’s best interest. While positive accolades are advantageous, negative comments need to be micro-managed immediately.
2) The Competition: Some of the most vicious, cyber attacks that businesses encounter often come from competitors within their industry. Rival business can undertake negative ad campaigns against your company to tarnish your brand. While this mischievous act maybe unprofessional, it is becoming commonplace on the poorly regulated Internet. Competitors can be up-front and make their campaigns against you highly publicized or they can outsource this service and pay an expert or agency to assault your brand discretely using a variety of tactics.
3) Hate Sites And Blogs: Websites and blogs can be created today quickly, easily and in a cost effective manner. Businesses need to be aware that customers, competitors, former and current employees can create hate sites, blogs and forums devoted to ruining their brand. These sites can spring-up overnight, which makes them difficult to manage. Most large corporations depend on a team of experts to manage this problem.
4) Bad News Gone Viral: Negative news is more likely to gain public attention than positive news. News stories, reviews, reports, press releases and evaluations, which depict a business in a negative light, are detrimental to that company’s brand. In the past, countering poor publicity could be taken care of with effective public relations management. Today, the issue is more complex. Businesses need to plan ahead and often address issues before they go public. If negative news goes viral, it spreads like a wild fire and becomes virtually unmanageable.
5) War Of Words: Some businesses choose to challenge attacks to their reputation head on; this can be an effective measure if the company has the right personnel to deal with the issue. Nevertheless, it can also work against a business if they don’t employ experienced experts to handle the situation. In many instants, un-trained experts will make personal and or professional attacks against those attempting to tarnish their company’s reputation. This often leads to a war of words between the two parties. In some cases, tensions escalate and threats are made, which creates more negative publicity and potential legal ramifications.
6) Dealing With False Information: False information on the internet can create several problems for businesses, whether the false information is place intentionally or unintentionally. False information online is comparable to a rumor that spreads over time. The more people that hear the rumor, the more traction it gains. False information becomes more believable once it begins to trend over the internet. Therefore, businesses must address this information as slander before the general public begins to believe what they hear or read about.
7) Silence Can Be A Good Thing: Not all claims made against businesses online are worth addressing. Some information placed on the internet is so absurd that reacting or responding to these claims made against a company would only provide credibility to the source. While some claims eventually must be addressed, it is important to note that not all issues are addressed the same way or given the same amount of attention. Spend less time on less important issues and re-invest money and time into making your overall business practice better.
8) Consider The Big Picture: Some businesses become obsessed with maintaining a perfect reputation online. The truth is few businesses have a perfect reputation. The more customers a business receives, the more its brand develops as a recognizable commodity on the marketplace. Greater attention breeds greater public criticism and scrutiny from professionals in the industry. Having 1 poor review out of every 10 costumers isn’t the worse problem a business can have, so long as that review does not trend on the Internet. Try to learn what you can from these minor criticisms and improve your overall business model.
9) Have A Plan Of Action For When Mistakes Do Happen: Often when things go wrong, they tend to happen at unexpected times; these situations call for immediate action from a public relations standpoint. Businesses that send out mixed messages or vague and insincere apologies during a public relations crisis hurt the overall image of their brand. These companies are often underprepared for public relations emergences and waste crucial moments organizing themselves when the crisis becomes public. Successful businesses have a plan or several plans in place, which they can work with for these instances. They are able to address the issue quickly, effectively and in a professional, coordinated matter.
10) Online Or Offline: In today’s business world, a company needs to have synchronicity between their online and offline reputation in order to maintain a consistent and healthy, public image. These two aspects of brand reputation are interconnected as they both can influence each other and shape the reputation of the company as a whole. Modern business in a global-cyber age is a 24 hour operation; maintaining brand reputation must also be an around-the-clock endeavor.