These days most businesses are handling a considerable number of their operations online. Many companies are finding that many of their commercial transactions are being handled online, much of their marketing campaigns are being waged online, and even many in-house operations are being pursued online. For instance, a good number of companies conduct seminars for leadership training online.

Many companies are also storing their data online, in the cloud, in order to save money on hardware and energy costs. One of the newest online trends for businesses is reputation management services, all of which seek to shape a company’s brand by developing positive web content and SEO. Where once a company might have focused their Public Relations budget entirely on events and publicity, the rise of the Internet and social media has forced all industries to keep track of brand awareness online. Here are a few of the ways this is being done:

Bring in the bloggers

Many prominent bloggers will write sponsored reviews and if their blogs receive considerable traffic a link to your company’s site can accomplish a number of tasks at once. One, it is a great source of link-building, which helps your SEO. Two, it (hopefully) creates positive content about your brand name. And three) with the help of social media you can get the post shared, tweeted, dug, stumbled upon, etc. Your company should have it’s own blog too, which is necessary for any kind of meaningful SEO.

Engage with consumers directly

One of the most beneficial aspects of social media for businesses is the ability to easily engage with consumers through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In and dozens of other sites. Where branding used to be limited to television and print advertising, the Internet presents an entirely new niche for brand management. Use Twitter to monitor what people are saying about you, build networks, index conversations, integrate third party tools into your company’s blog (again, your company should definitely have a blog). In 2010, Pepsi spent their entire Super Bowl advertising budget on social media promotions—20 million dollars. So, yes, it works.

Keep track of negative reviews

Bad Yelp reviews can badly harm your business. In addition to releasing positive content to counteract the negative, you should engage with the reviewers. Offer them incentives to return to your service. Address their concerns and grievances. In many ways, reputation management is the new PR, or at least the newest incarnation of it. If your company is looking to get an advantage over the competition, optimize yourself for the web and invest in online reputation management.

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