What is Reputation Management Theory? Our 2022 Guide
Reputation management theory is a concept that informs the process by which an individual or business owner takes charge of their online presence.
In this guide, we will explore the components of management theory, giving you a better understanding of what it takes to shape public perceptions of you and your brand in the digital environment.
What is the reputation management theory?
Reputation management sometimes referred to as reputation management or online reputation management strategy, is the practice of attempting to shape public perception of an individual or company by influencing online information about that entity.
It is actually the process of monitoring online mentions of a person or organization and addressing any damaging information. In order to determine reputation management needs, it is important to monitor social media and search engine results using appropriate search queries.
After gathering insights from monitoring, an assessment can be made as to how best to resolve any negative issues that have been discovered. This is the foundation of reputation management theory. A public relations (PR) campaign may be implemented in order to increase positive visibility or decrease negative visibility. It is also common practice to create positive content pieces in order to counterbalance negative organic content.
A good reputation manager will publish enough posts in order to push down the negative commentary that is getting found on search engine pages or on social media sites.
You can choose what information to share with potential customers but you cannot control the conversations they have about you or your brand. According to research by the Nielson consulting group, 53 percent of adults follow particular brands online and 60 percent of users of social networking sites write reviews of products and services.
Given the number of people who are willing to discuss real customer experiences—and especially negative ones—the only truly effective way to create a positive online reputation is through appropriate behavior.
The first and most important step of reputation management for individuals is limiting the images, videos, comments, or posts that you are comfortable sharing with the rest of the world and who are available through online searches.
On the other side if we talk about businesses, the best approach to corporate reputation management requests implementing customer experience management (CEM) practices, promoting your company/brand honestly, and engaging with customers online actively.
What is Reputation Theory?
Reputation is considered a form of power and advantage that affects directly the decisions that are made by your friends, family, coworkers, competitors, and all other people that your name is in contact with.
In case you are wondering how your personal or brand reputation is being formed, and what are the basics to build or fix it we have some answers for you.
Reputations and competitors
Reputation can be an important part of the game theory, especially if the reputation is strong enough. If there is a strong brand’s reputation for something, other companies in the field have the incentive to focus on other attributes instead of competing over that one attribute. That is because you will need to input a huge amount of resources if you are trying to compete over having the strongest reputation for a specific attribute.
By maintaining a reputation for a specific attribute it means that a firm has its own territory on the market and area where they are specialists which means that if a competitor appears they will need to spend a lot of money in order to compete with them.
This shows that having a nice corporate strategy and strong reputation cuts a slice of the whole market pie just for your business and your company. Having an area where you have absolute domination and all of that from something that is non-physical but still exists in everyone’s eyes and minds.
How is reputation made?
Everything begins with the supposition that many people do not have any or have very little information about you or your business. In this situation when a person finds info about you and tries to get in contact with your company, in most cases they got a small piece of information from somewhere (since your company is not well known at the moment).
If we compare that with a headline, it will look like “Car manufacturer won a first place for making most silent vehicle” and that is something which will make people think “Does that vehicle have other important qualities?”.
Next, information is added to a viewer’s mental folder about a company. The data could come from word-of-mouth and it might not even be about that company, but if it’s similar, the brain will probably add it in somewhere.
That person’s brain is on a mission and trying to add enough information to make an inference about the company. And when it does make an inference, it usually shares that with the rest of the world through blogs, online reviews, word of mouth, and other channels.
The reputation of that company will be formed as the culmination of all the necessary data and inferences that were shared by people who got information about your business. Some of the data might’ve been altered, and some of the inferences might’ve been way off base; but either way, these perceptions affect business in a big way.
If that car manufacturer wants to keep on producing and selling their best vehicles they will need to be sure that people interested in their business heard enough good things about their vehicles and their business from people who are making corporate reputation reviews.
The whole image
There are different aspects that are considered when stakeholders are forming an opinion about a specific company or business and they come from search results, social media platforms, or online reviews. Their reputations are made from two different parts:
- Personality – What that company is all about.
- Identity – What the company is saying about themselves (how they describe themselves).
For the people that are working with reputation management, these parts are very important when they are trying to build, protect, and sustain an organization’s reputation.
It is important to mention that everyone involved in that company is playing a significant role in the company’s reputation growth. People around that are speaking and sharing information about your business or your company also play a significant part and have a huge role that concerns the company’s reputation building.
How to manage your reputation?
Increasing searchability and publicity of the positive sides that are associated with your company while pushing down the negative comments and aspects of your business is the job of reputation management companies. They also use media monitoring tools and try to increase your social responsibility which means they are essential for business continuity.
Some of the most common reputation management tactics are:
Reviews and rating
Always keep an eye and pay attention to what other people are thinking and saying about your brand or business on the internet (public relations review).
Look for both positive and negative reviews, and try to find ways to build on the positive reactions and address the problems people have with your product or service. It’s always best to respond politely, and professionally, and offer concrete solutions to root problems.
Keywords and descriptions
To be effective with social media, you need to communicate the value of your business and brand to customers. In other words, you need to tell them what makes you different from the competition.
If you are using reputation management services they will be able to create great and catchy content for your social media profiles or your websites.
They are usually collaborating with business owners in order to find the right strategy that will inform many people, boost media relations, influence public opinion, acquire positive reviews, and increase corporate public relations for your brand and business.
Results showing on search engines
Because more than 95% of the people who are looking for information on the internet are looking only on the first page of google search or other search engines it is crucial to rank positive content on the first search page.
If you make such an approach you will eliminate the negative content on the first search page that makes people lose trust in your brand. This approach will help you boost brand personality, star ratings, positive feedback, and positive messages.
Search engines that you should focus on and are most important are: Yahoo, Bing, Google, YouTube, Amazon, etc.
Ethics and Reputation Management
There are many search engine optimization techniques that work, but Google strongly recommends not using them.
One of the many techniques that Google doesn’t want you to use is automatically-generated content which in many situations creates unnecessary content on the internet or better said garbage content. Other “forbidden” techniques are using automated programs to create links to your site, buying links to your site, forum comment links in guest signatures, and others.
Many people are still questioning if those tactics are unethical or if Google doesn’t want you to do that because can affect their algorithm. A lot of guidelines that are getting published by Google are part of the good ethics category but not all of them.
There is clean information that if you violate some of the guidelines Google will take manual action. Once you fix the issues you will be able to submit your website for reconsideration.
Another very important thing that everyone should consider is that what is ethical for one search engine like Google, can be considered unethical by other search engines like Bing, YouTube, Amazon, or Yahoo. Many people are usually wondering why do search engines have to decide what is “ethical”?
Does Google Decide ethics?
If we look in the dictionary we can see that definition of ethics is: “a set of moral principles: a theory or system of moral values.”.
Knowing this will probably make you wonder. Considering that Google is a machine, how it can have moral values? Because it doesn’t, how can Google decide what is ethical and what isn’t?
The answer is that Google probably cannot decide that, however, a group of people can.
List of unethical search engine marketing techniques
If the SEO techniques that are implemented are hurting other people we can consider them unethical. We have a list of SEO techniques that we consider unethical:
- Techniques that are able to take over someone’s web browser without permission.
- Content with fake facts.
- Methods that put one content for search engines but different content to the people.
- Low-quality content.
- Content that is filled with keywords (without any decent information in it) is meant to manipulate the search engines.
These mentioned SEO methods are considered unethical because they have the ability to hurt people in different manners. Most of that content is made to damage people’s systems, waste their time, manipulate the search engines, and provide false information.
Ethical online reputation management
What’s the difference between ethics and morals when it comes to reputation management? Morals reflect one’s own personal preferences, while ethics tend to have more universal aspects.
Anyone can say what’s right and wrong, but it gets muddy when comparing the ethics between different groups. In the end, ethical reputation management uses techniques that do not violate an individual’s rights, don’t knowingly generate false information, and make the internet a better place.
Need help with your online reputation management? Contact us now!