In our current world of social media platforms and visibility, online reputation management is something that no company can afford to ignore. Often confused with social media monitoring, or even publicity, this term applies to the presence that every single individual and brand has online.

Each and every day, brands are mentioned. It takes one bad review, one badly composed response, one hate letter and one public, humiliating scandal for your reputation to be damaged. Think this does not apply to your business? What would you do if your brand was suddenly demonised on major social networks and blogs? Would you simply ignore it and wait to see if it passes on its own, or would you do everything in your power to restore your good name?

If you answered yes to the second question, then you will already have a hunch on why protecting your reputation online has become such as vital service for companies all over the world.

The basics of online reputation management

Some tips to keep your online reputation in tact include the following:

Foster respect: Trust is hard to earn, and easily lost. If you consistently work to become respected, it will be a lot harder for your reputation to be damaged.

Be transparent: Transparency is a vital part of a solid reputation. Hiding or avoiding issues is never a good way to build trust or respect.

Monitor your brand: Investing in a reputation specialist who is able to proactively monitor your brand on social media and search engines is imperative.

Respond quickly (but politely): Ignoring complaints or taking too long to respond is never wise. Instead, aim for a polite response that lets people know you listen.

Confront criticism: Listening – really listening – to your audience’s complaints and criticism is essential if you truly want to earn their respect.

Set up Google alerts: A good reputation manager can do this on your behalf, but even if you set up your own alerts, this is a good way to track mentions of your brand.

Know your detractors: Attacks on your brand sometimes come from your target audience, who are not happy about a product or ad you may have run.

Fight genuine attacks: The legal way, of course. Hate mail and any other attacks that go beyond free speech are not legal in South Africa. Act quickly, while you can.

Keep learning and growing: If you make a mistake, deal with it, learn from it and move on. If you have followed the tips above, you will survive. If you haven’t, you may not.

Invest in an experienced reputation manager: As we mentioned earlier, this is easily the simplest and most effective way to protect your reputation.

Keen to find out more about professional online reputation management for your brand? Contact us today to learn more about Online Reputation Management.

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