Every organization looks upon reputation as an essential business asset that needs to be built and protected and maintained in order to ensure that it enhances your brand value. That is why it has been observed that the companies use traditional disciplines of media and public relations for something called online reputation management. It is all about guarding your organization from any kind of reputational hazard. And today with the rise of social media and the explosion of information online, it has become imperative to maintain reputation with not just the media, stakeholders and regulating bodies but with the entire community of internet users.

The need for online reputation management

Internet has made it easy for people to engage in conversations, share views on diverse topics online using social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, various online forums, etc. Your customers, employees, potential clients are all there discussing your brand, posting comments on different sites- some favorable some not.

You cannot have control on what they say about your products, services or your company. They will be vocal about their opinions, whether you like it or not, and will largely influence the decision of the prospective customers who choose to research your brand online. This can pose a lot of reputational threats that you need to combat, requiring you to monitor your online presence carefully and manage it methodically.

Some run of the mill adverse comment from an individual on Twitter site can go viral with thousands of internet users tweeting and posting comments on it and thousands of others viewing it. As the mainstream media pick up the news, people will start blogging and posting comments on the same on social networking sites with the result that the negative comments will show up in Google search results for months to come.

Online reputation management to handle crisis situation

As the saying goes it is better to be safe than sorry, companies should be prepared with resources for online reputation crisis. Practicing online reputation management means you are always watchful for signs of trouble and are well equipped to deal with any predicament related to online reputation. It is advisable to put plans and processes in place so that you can quickly respond when your online reputation is under attack.

This is a process of following your customers closely online and analyzing what they are saying about your products or services and then engaging with the customers by taking part in the conversation. Online reputation management works as a warning system that enables you to monitor your online repute and act quickly if something be the issue. For example you can quickly respond to customer complaints, online rumors and take measures to address malevolent or incorrect information about you that might be spreading across the web.

Conclusion

A tainted reputation can create collateral damage. And it is very difficult to project the damage that a single negative comment, blog or photo can do once it gets sent to millions of people involved in social networks. Online reputational management thus today needs to be given topmost priority. Online reputational management is a vital part of risk management today and should be so in the future as well.

Author's Bio: 

Celena Watson - Passionate writer and blogger. I have written on many different topics which include inbound sales, lead management, IT & services, lead nurturing process, demand generation and many more. For more info on visit social media optimization