Online reputation management is a term associated with companies hiring a specialist to monitor and eliminate threatening audio, video, posts, photos, and customer feedback. Online reputation management aligns itself with individuals; they manually purge social media posts to delete offensive comments, photos, video, audio, and posts. Today, this term reaches public relations firms as well.
Wikipedia says reputation management was a former PR term that morphed into a search engine results issue. PR firms don’t believe online reputation management ends at search engine results.
Yes, search results are a piece of media diffusion. By pushing positive content and up-to-date news to the first page, it pushes negative content down to the next page. The online reputation extends past search engine results to cover online reviews and cyber security.
Online review sites separate into search engine review sites, business review sites, consumer review sites, social media comments, independent message boards/forums, and comments left on company websites. Business review sites are similar to Reputation Defender, Yelp, Houzz, and Angie’s List. Consumer review sites divide itself by industry (auto, law, shopping, etc.). While the other categories are self-explanatory, it shows how tough and draining reviewing those review variations can be. Surveys also highlight reviews, and it reaches emails and written form as well as online.
Alternatively, Glassdoor, BBB, and Indeed opened the door for employees to review the company’s internal practices. This revelation damages companies differently; employers will have difficulty in job hiring due to the information.
Cybersecurity is necessary for hacking situations and leaked confidential information. This practice goes outside search engines into the dark side of the internet. If the wrong hands secure private information, it ruins company reputation. Healthcare and finance must be extra careful about this although all industries must be aware of hacking and leaks.
The public relations professionals need to embrace online reputation management at all levels. This begins with embracing technology as a PR strategy. Then, PR professionals need to learn how to navigate through social media, online reviews, and cyber security. This knowledge will help PR professionals combat online reputation management effectively and change strategy when necessary.