Reputation Management

Jan. 10, 2012
Have you heard the term reputation management? Do you know what it is? When was the last time you checked online to see what people are saying about you and your company?

Have you heard the term reputation management? Do you know what it is? When was the last time you checked online to see what people are saying about you and your company? What happens if you check online and you don’t like what people wrote about you or your company. What do you do?

Do you think negative comments online can cause you to lose business and revenue? Can you fix it yourself? What do you do? How do you handle it? That’s how online reputation management can help you. When people search for your company or your name, and they find negative comments, chances are they will look for a different company very quickly.

Reputation management has been around for about five years now but up until now, only large corporate companies could afford to use these services. These large corporations pay $20,000 a month or more to manage their online reputations, putting it out of the range of smaller companies. So what’s a smaller company supposed to do if they need these services?

When we talk about negative comments, different companies handle their negative reviews in different ways. Some companies will actually contact the customer to try to resolve the issue and hope that the customer will then upgrade their comments. Some companies just want the negative comments and posts to go away without worrying about satisfying customers. Truth is that any negative comment can and will affect your business. It’s always a good to try to satisfy your customer, but sometimes no matter what you do, you can’t please your customer; therefore, there’s a need for this service at an affordable price.

Before you start reputation management, it’s a good idea to fix the cause of problems that got you the negative feedback in the first place. If you don’t fix it and then spend a lot of money to repair the damage, you’ll only be doing it again in short order. Therefore, it’s important to clean up your act and then go through the cleanup process.

The good news is there’s an emerging industry of online reputation managers. This industry protects clients against harmful negative information on the web. Millions of potential customers regularly go online to research products and services, any negative reviews or complaints that pop up can mean lost business and revenue. Reputation management companies highlight positive pages and bury offending sites deep in search results by launching new content and linking to positive articles and web pages.

Is this something you can do yourself? The answer for most people is no. When you look at the best way to spend your time, it’s working on your business, securing new customers, managing your employees and not trying to learn a new reputation management skill. Reputation management firms have people that monitor the web, write content, post articles, write press releases, and create links to blogs and other sites that rank well with search engines. They have the expertise to fix your reputation and they have the knowledge of how to do it.

What’s great about this emerging industry is they’re catering to smaller companies and they have developed their pricing model accordingly. Their pricing model tends to depend on how many negative comments or posts that a company needs to overcome. This helps make it affordable and it gives you the peace of mind knowing that somebody is handling the situation for you.

The cost of the service varies, but you can expect to pay $4,000 to $5,000 per month for this service. You might think that’s expensive, but if you take into account the lost business every month from those negative comments, the monthly fee is relatively small. The main thing you should know about reputation management is that it takes time to make the negative posts go away. If you have five or more negative Google results on the first search page, it will take about six to twelve months to drive those results to lower pages. You can also accelerate the process by putting your company in an intensive care program to wipe out those negative results in a couple of months. That can get extremely expensive and the results depend on how important it is to you to make those negative postings go away.

Once you have driven the negative comments down in the search rankings, you can switch to maintenance mode at a significantly reduced cost or you can drop the service all together. However, it’s in your best interest to maintain a monitoring service so if something else pops up, you can deal with it quickly.

My website contains links to all the marketing articles I’ve written for the HVAC-Talk Newsletter. If you want your marketing efforts pay big dividends, contact a marketing professional. I’m available to assist you in all of your marketing efforts. If you need a branding consultation, a complete strategic marketing plan, help with lead generation, or reputation management services, call or send an email to discuss your needs.

Andy Fracica is president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, PR, social media, and lead generation strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping companies deliver their message in an ever increasingly crowded market by showing them how to do more with less($). Contact him at 260-338-4554, [email protected] or visit the Fracica Enterprises, Inc. website.