What is online reputation management and what does it mean?

There’s been a lot of talk about online reputation, and as a small business owner, you may have probably had several internet marketing consultants contact you offering this service. But what exactly is online reputation? This article looks at the definition of the term and how it applies to your small business. Online Reputation refers to the character, repute, name, and standing of your business in the online media.

Almost every day, somebody somewhere on the internet is talking about your business, whether it is about your employees, your brands, your services, your events, or anything that relates to your business, such as the latest happenings in your industry or reviews about your competitor. There are many online places that people can talk about your business, such as:

  • Social Media – this includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. Anyone can post an update, send a tweet or upload a video on these social media networks
  • Blogs- a blogger may write an article about your business, or his/her followers may talk about your business in the comments section.
  • Review Websites- there are lots of review websites where the public can rate a local business such as Yelp and Google Places.

In light of this, your small business has to take measures to monitor and manage your online reputation. Think of online reputation management as the online version of Public Relations. It’s merely managing and improving the public image of your business brand in the online world. A business’s reputation can be damaged very quickly due to:

  • the ease at which anyone can post content on the web,
  • the speed at which the material can be spread and
  • how permanently the content can remain on the internet for many years.

With the world increasingly becoming within reach of our fingertips, small business owners should not ignore or wish away their online reputation management but take proactive measures that will be a golden investment towards their long-term bottom line and success.