The pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way billions of people live their lives. Most students are engaged in distance learning, and most of the workforce continues to work from home to avoid catching and spreading the virus. That has made everyone turn to the online sphere for all their needs, which means that eCommerce businesses have skyrocketed in popularity. Since most people now live their lives online and rely on the Internet for many of their necessities, online reputation management for businesses has become more critical than ever.
In a 2017 study, Forbes found that 90 percent of consumers consult online reviews before purchasing an item. Meanwhile, 74 percent of respondents say that positive reviews make them favor a business more, as they believe they’ll experience similar agreeable transactions these other customers had. Online reputation is now what ultimately decides whether or not a potential customer will engage with you or your competitor.
The Rise of Online Reputation Management Services
The digital landscape has evolved at nearly breakneck speed, which meant that traditional public relations strategists were remarkably slow at adapting to these rapid changes. That created an opportunity for enterprising digital marketers, who have instantly recognized the shift in consumer behavior and the way they research companies, establishing online reputation management as a field.
While traditional PR companies focused on managing their clients’ public perception through print, online reputation management strategists work behind the online scenes. These professionals have a job to improve their clients’ digital presence, which has a whole process behind it. They managed negative feedback and boosted positive reviews, helping their clients’ target audience regard the business more favorably.
Black Hat Techniques in Reputation Management
However, some strategists have resorted to less than ethical ways to manage their clients’ reputations, running contrary to the PRSA Code of Ethics. SEO is an organic process that takes a lot of time and patience to work, but these professionals have promised instant results to their clients—and they weren’t exactly lying. They employed black hat techniques that do not directly address the source of the client’s reputation problem, which ultimately exacerbates the problem.
For instance, they have opted for fake reviews on different review sites to minimize legitimate negative reviews’ visibility. They have also bought backlinks instead of earning them, which violates Google’s terms of service. They have also posted false information, buy mentions with under-the-table payments, and even created Wikipedia pages for their clients, which goes against the database’s terms of service.
The Ethical Way to Approach Online Reputation Management
While these techniques actually delivered instant results, they weren’t long-term nor substantial. In fact, they backfire most of the time, as they violate many websites’ terms of service. Improving your online reputation involves understanding the root cause of your perception problems, which consists of taking a comprehensive and sustainable approach.
You’ll want to consult a reputation management company that will develop a complete, detailed plan to create the changes you want in your business. It must also target the complaints from your customers. The company will also help you respond to negative feedback and turn these into positive opportunities that demonstrate your values. Working with them will help you understand your customers on a deeper level and provide them with what they want.
Managing your reputation isn’t the most straightforward task, which is why you’ll need the help of reputation management services. They understand the nuances of a business’s online presence and what goes into shaping them, helping you gain a stronger foothold in the industry. By prioritizing online reputation management, you’ll enjoy a more substantial following.
Rephub is a reputation management company that helps you take control of your online reputation. With our service, you can manage reviews and your business listing from one place, check, edit, claim business listings, and many more. Check out our plans today!