Brand Reputation Management

Management vs. Monitoring

Business owners are faced with numerous considerations when taking their business online. There is much more to factor in than simply the design and structure of a website. They are forced to ask the hard question, “We have a website, now what?”
One of the many things to address is online reputation management, which is especially critical when participating in social media. The prevalence of social media has made online reputation management not only relevant, but a necessity.
In the most basic sense, online reputation management is the consistent research, analysis, and engagement regarding reputation represented online. The key to online reputation management is engagement, which immediately creates concern for many.
While engagement can be a daunting prospect for any company, it is important to remember that conversations about your company may already be occurring and influencing online - with or without your involvement. By not engaging, others have the opportunity to manage your reputation for you.

So what is the first step towards leading the conversation?

 As with other online media efforts, it is best to start with a strategy. There most likely will be negative comments about your company at some point, and the best approach isn’t a kneejerk reaction, but instead a strategy for when these types of occurrences arise. By having a plan in place, you will be able to effectively handle the situation and any potentially negative feedback.
It is important to understand that online reputation management not only includes the strategy on how to manage online buzz, sentiment and feedback, but the implementation of that strategy through engagement. As with most social media efforts, it is critical to be honest, transparent, and engaging. These efforts are really something that should not be outsourced to a vendor, but done in-house through people who understand the “soul” of brand, not just the messaging.  
Unlike online brand management, online brand monitoring is something you can consider outsourcing to a vendor such as a digital agency or public relations firm. The core difference between management and monitoring is that, through monitoring, you will gather the necessary information that educates you on what is being said about your brand. Through analysis of the data provided during monitoring, you will be able to properly implement your engagement strategy. In other words, monitoring facilitates management.
By utilizing the online conversation, you may be able to improve customer satisfaction, gain insights on competitors, engage with your current and potential customers more effectively, and ideally reduce costs while increasing return on investment.

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