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Are companies that don't manage their online reputations doomed?

Managing your online reputation is important for businesses and individuals. The problem is, most people don't have the skills to do it themselves.

Whoever came up with the saying, "sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me," wasn't trying to run a business in the age of social media.

In his book "The Organized Mind," neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin retells a story one of his professors shared about a colleague who was in the market for a new car. After thorough research, the man decided to buy a Volvo, which Consumer Reports had ranked among the best built and most reliable cars in its class. A few months later, when their paths crossed, the professor asked his colleague how he was enjoying the new car. The colleague said he had decided not to get a Volvo, after all. His brother-in-law had a Volvo that was always in the shop, so he had gone against the piles of data, crash test results and statistics in favor of one person's experience.

There are two easy lessons in this story for business owners. The first is association: Every time you see a Volvo, you will think of this story. The second is testimonial: It matters what people say about you.

Statistics support this information but are not as easy to remember as the story:

  • 90 percent of consumers trust recommendations from others, according to Nielson.
  • 84 percent of millennials and 70 percent of baby boomers say user generated online content influences their purchasing, according to Bazaar Voice.

What used to be a chat at the water cooler or over the back fence has morphed into a shout out or rant on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter or any other number of social media channels. In fact, typical business owners likely are being reviewed on channels they don't know exist. One tweet can quickly reach hundreds of thousands of followers. In short, businesses no longer have sole control over their message. The best they can hope for is to manage it.

Large companies have teams devoted to managing their online reputation. In addition to polishing company posts, these gatekeepers monitor what other people say. That way, they can respond quickly to a complaint and capitalize on praise.

These actions are equally important to small companies, but they don't often have the labor force nor tracking skills to carry them out. Organizations such as Reputation Management, help small businesses protect their online reputations by keeping an eye on the business' visibility, reviews and mentions. They also keep tabs on how much love the competition is getting when it comes to these touchstones.

By now, most people are aware there is no shelf life for the internet and, even if you remove unflattering information, it's never really gone. The good news is there are ways to draw attention away from negative press.

"If it is off Page 1 of Google, it basically doesn’t exist," according to Forbes.

With the help of a reputation management company, damage to a business' reputation can be repaired.

Interested in a free online reputation analysis for your business? Call 912-652-0202 or email sophie.mitchell@savannahnow.com for more information 

 

About Morning News Media:

Morning News Media is the premier media and marketing services company in the Coastal Empire, providing custom solutions for local businesses to reach and engage consumers ready and able to buy. Our portfolio includes the Savannah Morning News, savannahnow.com, a variety of targeted niche publications in print and digital platforms, as well as a full suite of digital services including data-driven display, SEM, web development, SEO, and reputation management.

Morning News Media provides businesses with tailored marketing, advertising and digital solutions that get results. Our history of success working with businesses in the greater Savannah area spans over 160 years. We know this market…from Savannah to Bluffton to Springfield to Hinesville. And we use our knowledge of the area and unmatched resources to help our partners connect, engage, and win in the marketplace.

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