Just What Do We Mean By “Online Reputation”?

Occasionally I like to get back to basics here and cover some topics or nomenclature that may be unfamiliar to people who aren’t in this business. As I educate my customers on the importance of Online Reputation Management, I often first have to explain the term “online reputation.”

As you know, your reputation is based on what others say about you. That’s what makes it a reputation and not marketing, which comes from the company.

Your customers share their views or opinions about you with others, based on their experience, so people who haven’t done business with you directly now have some estimation of your company. Your reputation precedes you, as they say.

That was all very well and good back in the old days where word of mouth actually took place in person and reviews in the newspaper were often carefully-placed PR pieces. It took some effort for someone to find out what kind of “rating” you had with any particular agency or consumer protection group.

Nowadays, everything about you can be found with a quick search online. And therein lies your online reputation.

Just what are people saying about your company in chat rooms, blog posts, and review sites? What views are generally held about you in all these online forums?

All those thoughts and opinions broadcast to the world create the perception that a new customer has of you. More specifically, the various websites that rank high in a Google search are mainly the ones that shape someone’s view of your company, whether or not they’ve done business with you.

Because most people tend to only look at the first two pages of a search, the comments, blogs and review websites that come up on those pages make or break your online reputation.

The main strategy in managing your online reputation is to make sure your customers see only positive reviews and comments when they do a search. When a lot of third parties write recommendations about you, all those testimonials create a powerful social influence that few prospects can resist.

And be aware that you can’t boost your online reputation by posting more press releases on your company website. People easily see through corporate PR tactics.

A positive online reputation means that a lot of other people are saying good things about you.