By Stephen Davies

Why is online reputation management important?

People are talking

Every single day someone somewhere is directly or indirectly discussing something relevant to your company, organisation, brand, industry, competitors or staff. It could be a blogger; a journalist on an online publication; a YouTube video someone decided to create; a group set up on Facebook; members in a discussion forum. It really doesn’t matter which online media platform it is but the key thing to realise is that news online spreads quickly.

Discover what people really think about you

Imagine having a global focus group at your disposal. Imagine if you could receive genuine and unfiltered opinions about your product, brand or company directly from your customers for relatively little cost. Well, now you can.

Informed influential individuals

The advent of Social Media has allowed people to hold disproportionate levels of influence in ways which were previously not possible prior to the Web. These ‘influentials’ have created large followings where their opinion is sought after and usually taken as fact. This form of celebrity status has sometimes created reputation problems for a number of companies which have been criticised by the individual.

News travels fast, far and wide

As online PR specialists work to make their clients’ news go ‘viral’ over the Web they have to be aware that negative criticisms of faulty products, rude staff or poor customer service can spread just as quickly too. It would actually be fair to say that negative news spreads over the Web quicker than the positive and particularly when it involves a business or organisation. Why? Because people feel more obliged to speak out about a wrongdoing and certainly when it’s a wrongdoing against the consumer.

Google is your 2nd corporate homepage

Over time companies have begun to place more of an emphasis on their corporate homepages by investing more money into its design and functionality. Go to any reputable company’s website and it will include all sorts of content designed to engage and inform its numerous audiences.

However not everyone types the URL (www.companyname.com.uk) into their browsers when researching information on a company or looking for its website. Rather they go to Google, type in the company’s name and run the search from there.

As you probably know, a search engine pulls up a page of 10 results which is known as the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). Hopefully your corporate website should be the number one result, but what do the other nine results say about you?

If there are results in the SERPs which you’d prefer not to be, there are ways they can be pushed further down the rankings using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) techniques. From an online reputation management perspective, the results from a search of your company’s name often can and will affect the external perception of your company.

Stephen Davies is the Managing Director of 3WPR a specialist online communications agency and his blog www.prblogger.com has been ranked the No.1 UK PR blog. Stephen previously worked with Adam Parker as Social Media Manager at webitpr where he was instrumental in the company’s implementation of the Social Media News Release – a new kind of news release designed for the online world. www.3wpr.co.uk

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