Online reputation strategies
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Many business owners ask, What is the difference between "marketing" and "online reputation management"?
The common use of these two terms is rather confusing. In reality they refer to totally different things.
"Marketing" is commonly defined as the act of creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers.
"Reputation management" on the other hand is defined as the building, maintenance, and recovery of the organisation’s desirable image.
The long and short of this is that although we might have the power to control our company’s online marketing activities, the company’s reputation is largely controlled by other forces.
We can refer to marketing as the product, and to good reputation as the asset. Ideally, we would all prefer to have control over this precious asset, our online reputation, but we must accept the limitations to our control and learn to work around them.
On the internet, marketing is mostly about making promises which we believe will appeal to our consumers. If the customers believe our promises, they will proceed to check us further online. Only if they receive mental affirmation that our marketing promises could be trusted will they go on to consider our price and the value that we offer compared to other vendors.
It is a common error for a companies to invest heavily in marketing activities at the expense of consistent investment in the company's general online reputation.
But take heed:
No matter how many promises we make, and regardless of how cheap or expensive the product or service we sell is, most internet purchasers will choose to make their purchase on the basis of a good online reputation and only then will consider matters such as price and added value. That means that money spent by businesses on successful online reputation management represents a far more solid long term investment than money spent on short term marketing goals. After all, marketing efforts come and go, but reputation remains a steadfast asset - or liability.
Building positive online reputation from scratch is much easier than having to recover one later. It is also far more difficult for negative elements to penetrate if you have a strong online defence shield.
If your company’s good reputation is represented well on the first two pages of Google search results, any fresh material which is posted on the internet by others will have to struggle hard to make its way up to the top. The new pages will have to compete against your existing positive material.
But it works the other way round too. If nothing stands in the way of new negative internet posts, they will make their way to the top search results fairly quickly, and after a short while their position will be almost cemented.
Online reputation attacks can be vicious. But if business owners manage to re-establish a positive internet reputation following an online reputation attack, their marketing, their customer support, and their positive image are much more noticeable than ever before.
They can then start redeveloping their business - aware of the very real importance of effective online reputation management.