Category Archives: Tips

Bad press can happen to anyone: how to overcome a PR disaster

Bad press can happen to anyone: how to overcome a PR disaster

Irrespective of whether it is an industry, a business, an individual, etc., amidst today’s digital era everybody needs to manage their online reputation accordingly. We at ReputationDefender have previously addressed this important issue from various standpoints; we have shown how taxi unions lost hundreds of customers worldwide because of their poor ORM strategy; or how United Airlines evidenced a massive fall in the value of their stocks. Bad online reputation management often brings bad press, and, in light of such premise, no one is exempted from suffering an ORM crisis brought by the emergence of bad PR and bad press.

However, and even though falling victim of the aforementioned scenario is highly probable, there is also hope for dealing and, more importantly, overcoming such nagging and excruciating event. As of the emergence of the digital era, the Internet and the different social media platforms have gained tremendous importance. Thus, it is quite easy to come across companies and businesses in general struggling to protect their brands and their image against the myriad of possible pejorative eventualities that might end up being detrimental to them. Just recall previous events along with the ones mentioned at the beginning of this article where a company or a business face the dreary fallout of bad PR: in reality, all of them share something in common, and it is that it is quite hard to think clearly once the reputation has been compromised.

Nonetheless, regardless of the size and importance of the eventuality, there are several guidelines for mitigating the possible aftermath and the risk of everlasting damage:

Voice everything you have learned

Some companies have managed to make a positive name for themselves after being involved in not-so-friendly affairs in the court of public opinion. In fact, companies that have made a mistake in the past have regained their status after openly addressing the event it from time to time as a way of speaking about the things they learned. This sort of self-assessment allows companies to acknowledge their flaws and, sometimes, even their insecurities. And once this is shared with their customers and their target audience, they end up developing a solid connection. Because that is all that ORM is about: connecting with other people. By taking responsibility for every mistake, businesses and companies, in general, can actually create value and gain more customers and attention.

Act, do not react

One of the most important things that ought to be considered when addressing the vast spectrum of ORM, is to act first. And, in that sense, act instead of reacting. Most companies and the vast majority of individuals who outsource their ORM strategies often do so in hopes of remedying something (reaction to something pejorative and negative) bad that appears in the pages of Google results out of nowhere; however, and in accordance with what we have mentioned several times, the best time to focus on the scope of online reputation management is right before problems and challenges emerge.

Nevertheless, companies and people, in general, ignore the importance of their online track until it is too late: a negative review, a caustic forum thread or a terrible PR or press headline, all of them are the most common triggers for businesses to start minding their ORM. Of course it is possible to counteract and even fix the aftermath of these events; however, it can take months and, in some occasions, even years, thusly remaining open to suffering additional blows.

Image courtesy of Omkar Patyane at Pexels.com

Taking control of online reputation before issues start to arise is the most effective and cheapest way to manage the very first thing people and target audiences come across on the Internet. Think of it as a digital investment. This, of course, should be addressed as a digital strategy driven by proactivity: companies need to provide enough information in regard to their reputation in advance so that viewers get a better way to develop their own opinion about the business or the brand, or pretty much about anything worth taking care of.

In light of these facts, although some industries can tailor their ORM strategies to their needs and their target audiences, it is clear that in the thick of today’s digital juncture, everything requires some degree of online reputation management. Thus, the principle of making the first move, or acting instead of reacting applies irrespective of the nature of the business and the industry. ORM issues are no silent problems that fade away over time: they need to be fully addressed once they happen, but it has proven to be more effective to just act in advance and be prepared for whatever challenges might appear. That is how big companies have managed to make a successful comeback after suffering the consequences of their negligence.

* Featured Image courtesy of John Jackson at Pexels.com

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3 ways celebrities can avoid an attack from the media

3 ways celebrities can avoid an attack from the media

There are many ways for online reputation to be manipulated or affected.  In previous posts, ReputationDefender has written about some of the mistakes that should be avoided if you want to protect your online reputation.  In today’s digital age where everyone goes online to comment on anything and everything, it’s relatively easy for anyone to have a direct impact on how the public views you online. 

This fact is especially true if you are a person with celebrity status or clearly in the public eye.  Actors, athletes, artists, and politicians are just some of the most common occupations which have to deal with negative and vicious comments on a daily basis.  For the most part, the negativity comes from the average Joe or Jane and people in the limelight can normally handle it without a hitch.  As a matter of fact, it’s quite common for those types of comments to be ignored, it’s part of the job.  But, what happens when the negativity comes from the media?  It’s a whole different story.

All news media has the power to influence how a recognized person is perceived.  So much so that the media has shown to have a direct influence on how people vote when election season rolls around.  It’s no secret that there are several news corporations which are biased and where there is clearly no objectivity.  It’s also quite clear that they know their viewers, followers, or readers will base their own opinions on what the organization tells them.  Whenever someone famous has a scandal on their hands, you can bet that the media will be quick to have an opinion.  So, how can those who are constantly being scrutinized by the media make sure that their reputation doesn’t suffer?

1 . Take preventive measures through you own behavior

A celebrity wouldn’t be criticized or their online reputation wouldn’t be in danger if they didn’t give the media any reason to target them. They must make sure that their behavior on and offline is top notch and to the highest standards.  What this means is that they must avoid giving controversial sound bites during interviews and public displays of anger, drunkenness, or intolerance (the typical fodder for haters and detractors).  Here’s where some would claim, “But celebrities are people, too, and they are prone to make human mistakes.”  True, but their recognition comes with a responsibility to be role models to millions of people so it would be wise for them to be on their best behavior.  Otherwise, media outlets will surely write articles and record sound bites that will try to tarnish the person’s reputation so that others do not follow their example.

Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com

2. Understand that they are a huge target on the cloud

The cloud revolution created more virtual space for society to save their information without having to sacrifice phone or computer memory.  We have become confident that the information we put up on the cloud is safeguarded from prying eyes, and celebrities are not the exception.  However, there are those out there who live to obtain sensitive information and share it with the world.  Famous people have the biggest target on their backs and over the last couple of years, there have been uncountable stories of incriminating photos or videos which have been leaked to the media in order to show that celebrities are not as holy as some deem themselves to be.

And if it’s not a hacker, the recipient of the controversial content could easily leak it.  In order to avoid being hacked or having private information and images shared to the media, celebrities should either avoid doing those actions altogether, have the other person sign a confidentiality agreement, or not save the information on the Cloud where hackers are definitely going to try to obtain anything they can give the media so that they can tarnish the celebrity’s reputation.

3 . Face the detractors and negativity

As we said before, celebrities are humans as well, and they are likely to make mistakes every once in awhile.  When tragedy does strike, celebrities should fess up and recognize that they made a mistake.  Those who have gone on to admit their errors, normally haven’t had their reputation suffer and they bounce back relatively fast.  The opposite has happened to those who refuse to concede any wrongdoing.  The media can’t do that much damage once you recognize your own faults.  Not doing so would give the media numerous angles from which to attack you and your reputation.

The media is a major player in shaping people’s perceptions and reputation of a celebrity.  However, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost.  The more aware that a celebrity is of how the media can use one’s actions against you, the better chances they have of ensuring they don’t give the media anything to talk about and the higher the chances of protecting one’s online reputation.   

* Featured Image courtesy of Martin Foskett at Pexels.com

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How to stop looking like an unpleasant phisher

How to stop looking like an unpleasant phisher

Phishing is perhaps one of the today’s most infamous practices within the vast spectrum of the digital world. In fact, from an ORM standpoint, phishing, or being linked to carrying out phishing activities can arguably be devastating for the name of a company or a business in general. We at ReputationDefender previously stressed that when it comes to strengthening a business’s online reputation, avoiding looking like a dreary and a bothersome phisher is almost mandatory.

Phishing e-Mails are often used by all kinds of cyber criminals to trick people into providing or, better said, handing over sensitive information such as their usernames, their passwords, social security numbers, PIN numbers, credit card details, amongst others. If the phisher is successful, meaning: if the fraudulent e-Mail fulfills and accomplishes its purpose, the recipient can fall victim of a sheer array of issues, especially, identity theft, or maybe they will just find their credit card maxed out or their bank account with balance zero.

This scenario has alerted major Internet Service Providers and other mailbox providers, which is why they are seemingly becoming more aware of any incoming mail that looks like it could be a phishing attempt: anything looking like a fraudulent or malicious mail goes directly to the junk box, or, sometimes, it gets deleted upon arrival.

This being said, it is not difficult to also fall victim of being linked to phishing activities —it is not a secret that some industries seem to be more prone to suffer this kind of situations, especially, the banking or mailing industries; however, there are certainly several things a company, irrespective of its nature, can do to prevent its e-Mail campaigns being mistaken for fraudulent or phishing attempts.

This is particularly important even from the online reputation management standpoint: when it comes to developing and maintaining a strong brand, nothing seems to be more of paramount importance than trust; a lack of trust is detrimental to even the most creative and compelling marketing campaigns. The digital age, of course, also brought along a new paradigm in regard to how companies and brands convey information to their customers thanks to today’s social media platforms, improper engagement, and bad practices can spread around the globe in less than the blink of an eye.

With phishing attacks on the rise, regaining control of e-Mail channels should be no less than mandatory and essential for every company that values the trust of their clients; by making sure a company does not ask for information out of well-meant motives, any particular business will not only be able to overcome this dreary issue of being linked to phishing, but also will see an improvement in customer response rates. Be that as it may, here are several strategies a company can follow in order to work against unscrupulous copycats:

Stay away from mismatched URLs

Perhaps the most basic and common example of a phishing technique is an e-Mail asserting and reporting malicious and fraudulent activity on an account and asking the recipient to click on a link just to verify the information. This apparently innocent and harmless link could actually be hiding something terrible; in fact, bad links are hidden behind a legitimate looking link —especially those from banks— which is why recipients do not hesitate to clink on them most of the times —nor question their legitimacy. These links manage to trick people into downloading malware to their computers or accessing insecure websites.

To determine whether an e-Mail may be indeed a phishing attempt or scam, the e-Mail client looks for a specific link in the recipient’s HTML campaign where the text being displayed is an URL: if the displayed link seems to differ from the actual URL, the user gets an instant notification. Sadly, cybercriminals have become really tech-savvy, and they have come up with different ways to carry out phishing scams, to the point where these have been designed to work in a rather large variety of ways, one of which, like the aforementioned technique, consists of hiding malicious links that are seemingly legitimate. Internet and safety researchers have developed different ways to combat this increasingly used thread: they have developed software that detects fraudulent e-Mails while scanning for mismatched links.

Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com

Authentication is everything

Phishing e-Mails normally use spoofing to trick recipients and mislead them about where the e-Mail was actually sent from. Basically, a “spoofed” e-Mail is a message with a fake sender address, thusly posting as if it was sent from a trusted source; nevertheless, and unfortunately, this is not actually that hard to do because an e-Mail —the process of conveying e-Mail messages between mail servers— was not precisely designed with high standards of security in mind. And here is where authentication technology steps in authenticating e-Mail addresses validate the identity of both a company or a business and the e-Mail Service Provider.

Do not overlook the power of setting up a custom domain

Instead of getting accustomed to using the default subdomain generated for a particular account, it seems to be much better and wiser to override it with a custom domain. Custom domains are the ones referenced in every campaign a company sends, meaning it will appear in the URLs for website version links, amongst other social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc. Internet Service Providers assess the domains referenced in a particular campaign in order to find out whether these match the company’s DNS records. Besides, spoofed or fake e-Mails sent by unscrupulous phishers lack that kind of customization.

Ask for information the right way

Last but not least, sometimes companies have got to ask for specific (personal) information about their customers, or ask account holders to update their information for well meant (and legitimate) purposes. For example, it is ok to let customers know about a data security breach and ask them to reset their passwords; however, most of the times, this will sound tremendously suspicious. Apply the aforementioned techniques to provide e-Mails with a good reputation and make the content look entirely trustworthy: provide explanations, choose words carefully, use customization, reference trusted websites, do not ask customers to click on a link, pose as security conscious and include a permission reminder, etc.

* Featured Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com

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All right, you need Online Reputation Management: What now?

All right, you need Online Reputation Management: What now?

They say that defining a problem is really half of the solution. If your business is going through a bad time, and the main reason for this is due to the bad – or almost non-existing – online reputation in search engines, at least you already know where to focus your efforts in the digital marketing department of your business. In this post, we’ll talk about what to do when you already know that you need to invest in online reputation management, but you do not know exactly where to start or what to do whatsoever.

Related: How do you know if you need Online Reputation Management?

So, the first thing you should do is to question the way you treat your customers, both potential and those you already have. Regardless of your experience in the industry to which you belong, no matter how well things have gone in some moments of your company or how much you have learned in entrepreneurship courses, you will need to unlearn old knowledge and learn the new one. Online reputation management is a complex job, and sometimes it is because of the very stubbornness of clients. The first step to start improving your online reputation, of course, is to know that you need to improve it, but the second step is to be willing to unlearn useless ideas and learn useful ones.

This is not simple. Many do not like to “re-learn” something apparently so elemental. The ego is always in the middle, especially if you have been a successful entrepreneur. However, just remember why you are reading this post in the first place since you do need to implement some necessary changes and this involves abandoning old schemas and building others from scratch.

Now, before continuing with the second step, you need to understand that while it is important to keep updated on new techniques, tools, algorithm changes in Google, etc., in the long run, it is much more important to understand the basic principles of online reputation, which, by the way, fit into any new circumstances. The first one is that if you do not deal with your own online reputation, someone or others will do it for you, and this is not necessarily good (we all have people we do not like us, right?) The second one, respect the rules, do things right. Your good deeds may be a better protection than the work of the best online reputation professionals. Watch your silence and evaluate everything you publish before posting it. Thirdly, your customers should be a priority and not just an economic one. They are human beings with needs, just like you. Treat them with the care you treat yourself, and the consequences of it will come back to you.

Now, to improve your online reputation it is essential to review what you offer: Is it a service, is it a product? Make it the best. It is vital that brands produce valuable content simply because it is the only way the public knows and is interested in brands’ new features. Before your products or services improve, try to learn more about your niche: Has it changed? Do they still need the same? Which are the common complaints of your niche about your competition?

Image courtesy of rawpixel.com at Pexels.com

The third step is to outline a good plan to improve the relationships with your customers. Set long, medium and short-term goals; take a calendar and write them down there. Set what days you will work on it … and do it! Look for tools to monitor your online reputation, such as Hootsuite or Market Samurai, so you’re aware of what they say about your brand in the social media, forums, and blogs. Answer the bad comments, and do it with respect. Spend time each week to review and correct your bad reputation.

Work on two big fronts. One, as mentioned above, has to do with reputation monitoring. The other has to do with a content strategy. It is important that you have a presence on the Internet. Potential customers must type your name or your brand’s in Google and find content that enhances your business. How? You can start new blogs and periodically publish content related to your business activity. Publish every week from your website or blogs, share those contents on social networks and through your email database. In this way, you will not only be present in the searches of users (if you apply some SEO techniques, your content could even be in the first search results,) but, in case there is inconvenient content about your online reputation, the new content you produce will push off all that negative information to those search pages that no one reviews.

Recommended: 10 Pro Online Reputation Management Tips For Local Businesses

Finally, keep in mind that there are companies that work on this matter. ReputationDefender is a reliable, experienced brand that can do all the mentioned activities for you. Just like illnesses and self-medication, when it comes to the online reputation it is best to count on the knowledge of experts.

* Featured Image courtesy of Travis Isaacs at Flickr.com

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How to know if you need the power tool that is online reputation

How to know if you need the power tool that is online reputation

Online reputation management or ORM for short.  Separately, those three words may not amount to much.  But, when you put them together they become an incredibly powerful tool, especially in 2017: The year of online reputation.  As a matter of fact, ORM can play a decisive role in helping a company get to the top of search engine rankings and in influencing how the Average Joe decides to buy and which company or brand they will pledge their allegiance (and their money) to.  Many companies have decided to invest in online reputation management and they have reaped the rewards.  Others are still on the fence about taking ORM seriously enough to hire a professional.  ReputationDefender is here to provide some help to those companies so that they can understand when the time to hire and ORM consultant or firm is right for them.

Scenario 1: You messed up big time

Sadly, many companies take online reputation as a reactive task instead of a preventive one.  It’s quite common to see ORM firms and professionals being hired as soon as a company or individual is involved in a scandal.  An inappropriate comment on social media can have a serious effect on someone’s reputation.  The same goes for a product launch gone bad (Sam-cough, Sung-cough cough). Companies and individuals who mess up big time usually hire online reputation firms to help them get back on track and to restore their good name and get back to the public’s good graces.  The ideal scenario would be one in which reputation management firms were hired to help strengthen and improve online reputation instead of doing damage control.  But, as we said earlier, many companies wait until the ship crashes into the iceberg to make a move instead of turning the wheel when they see trouble is coming.

Scenario 2: Negative comments are becoming more prominent

One of the most damaging things to online reputation is a slew of negative comments.  The source for the negativity can come from many places.  It could be that as a company you have started to shy away from what made you lovable in an effort to get better and that ticked off a couple of your original followers.  Or maybe, there has been unsatisfying customer service.  Heck, it may even be a competitor that wishes to bring down your success and the only way that think they can do it is by attacking your reputation.  Independent of where negative comments are coming from, a company needs to deal with them.  There are many ways to deal with negative comments which can help recover online reputation.  Online reputation management firms can give a company expert guidance so that they know how and what to say to get back on their feet.

Scenario 3:  Traffic isn’t coming your way

Today’s digital first world requires companies to have an online presence which will draw people to the company.  In other words, they need to be on social networks and have an eye-catching webpage.  Without these two key ingredients, gaining online reputation is an uphill climb of Mount Everest proportions.  An ORM firm can be just what the company needs to help them set up and organize their social media profiles and websites in ways that will get the company more exposure and more reputation.

Image courtesy of Unsplash at Pexels.com

Scenario 4: Rebranding or changes to the company

It’s not a sin for companies to want to change something about them in order to get better.  Sometimes it’s changing in brand design and others it could be a complete overhaul of a company’s business.  Customers are resistant to change and when it happens they will often react to the news with disbelief, shock, and even anger.  Some will even feel like the company sold out.  In order to deal with the possible and like backlash of customer dissatisfaction, it would be wise to hire the services of an online reputation management firm that knows how to ease the transition the company would like to make into the new brand or the new business.

Online reputation is crucial in today’s world if a company wants to succeed.  Companies need to start taking it seriously and not just as the next publicity fad.  Online reputation management can help a company deal with a number of scenarios that can affect how a company is perceived.  

Most times, many companies don’t really think they need to worry about online reputation management until it’s too late.  A preventive approach to ORM will always work out better than a reactive one.  Preventive measures allow a company to stay ahead of any possible hits to online reputation and to overall customer satisfaction.  Finally, online reputation management can and will help a company to deal with negative comments that can have an adverse affect on perception and overall trust in a company.  Online reputation management is good for business, plain and simple.

* Featured Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com

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4 ways bloggers can protect their reputation

4 ways bloggers can protect their reputation

Building online reputation is like walking through a frozen lake.  It’s quite doable if you know where and how to step.  However, if you step on a little thin ice, you could find yourself swimming and yelling for help in some really cold water.  One of the biggest stretches of thin ice you can find on the online reputation management lake is blogging.  It’s no secret that blogging can help build an online reputation.  Blogs help companies create credibility and leadership within their respective industries.  Those two values are crucial to maintaining reputation on the cloud.  Effective and well written blogs will make it a whole lot easier to get through the ice, but one that just post any content are sure to break the ice and drown.  Good-bye online reputation.  Now, the difference between crossing the lake and drowning comes down to those in charge of creating the content. That’s right, blog writers are the ones who can make the greatest direct impact on online reputation.  Whoever writes an article, whether they be ghostwriters, guess writers, or staff, must be careful and take into account some considerations regarding what they post.  ReputationDefender is here with some insight regarding the things bloggers should think about when writing so that they protect their online reputation and that of the company they represent.

1. Write about what’s relevant

Writing for a blog means trying to find something interesting and up to date to write about.  Bloggers must stay on top of what’s going on in their respective industry in order to avoid writing about topics no one is interested in reading about anymore.  What was once current and interesting a while back can be outdated today.  Readers want to visit a blog that can give them some help on something that is relevant to what is currently going on.  Failing to stay updated could lead to people losing interest in coming back to the blog.  Having no visitors means less of a chance to build an online reputation.

2. Reference the right blogs

Backlinks are an important part of gaining online reputation.  They are all about sending quality blogs a little recognition for a job well done.  They could provide to be some valuable allies in the future.  Linking to another blog should not be taken lightly.  When you find an article that can help you clarify or add to a point you are trying to make, you should read it thoroughly to make sure it helps you make your point.  Additionally, you shouldn’t be ashamed or concerned about not knowing something.  Referencing someone else, who might just have more experience than you, shows that you want to help your readers find all the information they need.  With time, you shouldn’t be surprised if you start getting some referrals yourself.

Image courtesy of Victoria Pickering at Flickr.com

3. Check your grammar

This just might be the most important factor that can affect online reputation when it comes to bloggers.  Readers who find basic grammar mistakes will be turned away from the blog.  Therefore, before posting any article, it’s crucial to check and double check that there aren’t any grammar mistakes.  Grammarly and Google Docs are great at correcting grammar and making suggestions.  Microsoft Word has recently improved its proofreading abilities and it will now offer a writer options on how to better a document’s readability.

4. Thou shall not copy and paste

Being on a deadline and with writer’s block can be incredibly difficult to deal with.  It’s easy to go to another person’s blog and borrow some inspiration.  You start thinking, “I’m pretty sure I can paraphrase this.”  All of a sudden, you’ve got an article and you’ve met your deadline.  Job well done, right?  Wrong! There are many tools out there to check whether a paragraph has been plagiarized in any form.  Aside from the legal implications of copying from others, the hit to online reputation might be so hard you just might not recover.

Bloggers have been charged with helping build an online reputation through original and engaging content.  They are responsible for making sure a brand or a company acquires enough credibility to be considered a trustworthy authority in a given industry.  With that in mind, they must make sure to do their part to make sure they do their job appropriately.  This means four things essentially.  First of all, they need to write about current topics.  Secondly, bloggers must make sure they reference current and high-quality sites.  Third, writing for a blog means being aware of respecting grammar.  Finally, the content must be original and not taken completely from another source.

Bloggers are not the only writers who should worry about their online reputation.  Independent journalists must also.  Independent journalism has gained some significant importance over the last couple of years.  Check out the post “Independent journalists need online reputation management more than ever” to see just how and why this occupation should be concerned about ORM.  

* Featured Image courtesy of Sebastien Wiertz at Flickr.com

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Why is 2017 the year of Online Reputation Management?

Why is 2017 the year of Online Reputation Management?

Online Reputation is now more important than ever: Google and the myriad of search engines seem to be fond of pejorative and even negative content. Such premise is compelling enough to believe that in the not too distant future things are certainly going to get worse despite the efforts being made by press releases, media relationships, leadership publications and advices and the never-ending social media engagement.

And although the previous paragraph seems to be somewhat sensational and gutter, such scenario may not be entirely true —as a matter of fact, Google and the other search engines do not lean towards negative content; however, while the most visible aspect influencing the algorithms of the aforementioned search engines still is the interest (and the traffic) in a particular website, the premise might not be entirely nonsensical. Likewise, the paradoxical nature of human interest dictates, likewise, that pejorative mentions go on to draw more attention and, thusly, more links, likes, Facebook mentions, social media posts, etc., than the diametrically opposed scenario. Such behavior is indeed the substrate on which Google’s algorithm bases its ranking.

Sensational tabloid publications alongside the sheer array of media dedicated to publishing the so-called “fake news” tend to be more valued —and sometimes even more interesting— than other contemporary, legit, serious and positive news. There is an undeniable tendency to give more attention to misleading information, which only enables these sources to outrank genuine and lawful content across the Internet. And the issue recently got wider and deeper due to the development of Google’s sentiment algorithm: likewise, just like search engines seem to prefer to portray a balance of media trends in the first pages of results, the algorithm also seems to be seeking to display a fair share of sentiment as well.

This entails a much greater consequence: even a minor fake, pejorative, erroneous, politically incorrect article has the power to become a much greater threat, and it will outrank, and get more traction than, other positive profiles and publications. Bear in mind that a sheer array of business that works in the ORM field gets their attention through press releases —something beyond the regular capabilities of a traditional communications services provider.

Positive news and genuine social media content and narrative might as well appear alongside their negative counterparts in a particular search; however, seldom are they enough to outrank such tendency to value other types of information. A ranking is determined by today’s technology after assessing a plethora of information, and there is where ORM comes in: a recently emerged field of what is commonly referred to as online reputation management seeks to prevent the ongoing emergence of this type of negative, fake, nonsensical content. Bear in mind that such strategy is often used as an attack to outsmart the algorithm in hopes of attaining a much better position in the listings of a particular search engine. ORM alongside Search Engine Results Page (SERP) are now responsible for constantly monitoring the Internet in order to prevent the emergence of this content and mapping the location of the source so that the content can be disabled.

Such juncture is by all means concerning, for unscrupulous people are now feeding the web with such content; however, that has enabled Internet users and businesses, in general, to be more aware about their activity and that of their customers, clients, and even their competition, which, again, presupposes a greater need for technology, for monitoring the staggering myriad of emerging information is no less than a daunting task —an extreme level of sophistication is likely going to be hitting 2017 in order to carry out all the tasks related with keeping an eye in real time on new emerging links, likes, tweets, and pretty much every single piece of new content. Today is the time where online reputation management has moved from just being a post-crisis tool and solution to a key component of risk awareness and its subsequent mitigation.

Image courtesy of Kaboompics // Karolina at Pexels.com

Besides, such landscape also impacts consumerism in the most negative way: fake news and pretty much every single piece of content is suspected of being fake —even positive reviews. According to a recent survey, almost 90% of American consumers think that reviews are either fraudulent or cannot be trusted; in fact, one particular study found that almost 33% of online product reviews were fake, and 15% percent of restaurant review were totally made up. Such circumstances are compelling enough to pay special attention to how ORM strategies and processes have been carried out and, especially, how they got to be done in the near future: we at ReputationDefender believe that SEO and ORM are now becoming intertwined given the proliferation of these posts and this content, and by combining these two disciplines businesses can positively influence their atmosphere and their environment.

* Featured Image courtesy of Negative Space at Pexels.com

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5 excellent reasons e-commerce needs to worry about online reputation

5 excellent reasons e-commerce needs to worry about online reputation

Online reputation management has increased in importance ever since people have taken to the internet to satisfy all types of needs.  From banking to shopping, entertainment to education, and many more aspects of life, we are going online to make our purchases.  Truth be told, buying things online is quite comfortable and time-saving.  A click here and there and boom, you’ll get what you want in a matter of hours or mere days.  Companies know that consumers are looking for more convenient ways to make purchases and as a result, almost every major brand has decided to set up an attractive online store.  The surge of electronic commerce comes with great responsibilities.  Here is where online reputation management becomes extremely important.  As a matter of fact, if there is any industry that needs and benefits from online reputation management it’s e-commerce.  ReputationDefender recently wrote about what e-commerce can learn from ORM.  Today, it’s time to take a look at why it needs to worry about online reputation and some of the things that revolve around it.

1 . The higher the rep, the better the business

When a company has a strong online reputation, people will take the time to come to their site more willingly and with a higher sense of trust.  They will be more likely to show that same trust towards the company’s online store and will not be as hard-pressed to make a purchase on a site with a poor reputation.  If companies are true to their word and deliver what the customers expect, look for them to come back and continue buying on further occasions.  

2. Star ratings can always use a boost

Sites like Amazon and eBay have a rating system that shows potential buyers just how trustworthy a seller really is.  Consumers will normally take a look at the ratings to decide whether to buy or not.  When a seller is consistent in fulfilling the clients’ demands, their online reputation goes up and so does the star rating and as we said before, the higher the rep, the better the business.  Companies can boost their ratings by making sure they live up to their word when they deliver their goods to consumers.  If they do a good job, all they really need to do is kindly ask customers to leave a review and why they were satisfied.

3. The comments section is the reflection of your reputation

Consumers like to look at minimum ten reviews before they make a purchasing decision.  Imagine what would happen if a company’s comments section is full of negative or below average commentary from users all over the country and the world.  They would definitely influence a potential consumer to go against buying from the company.  The opposite happens with positive comments.  The more satisfaction that can be read from other customers’ experiences, the higher the chances of boosting online reputation and sales.

4. Gets you on top of search engine results pages

Unless someone is loyal to one brand or online retail site, chances are your average Joe and Jane will take to a search engine to start looking for a place to buy an array of products.  The quality of a company’s online reputation will either help it be shown or highlighted on Page 1 of Google and/or Bing’s search results pages.  Why is this important? The overwhelming majority of consumers don’t even bother going to Page 2.  And hardly anyone ever stumbles onto page 3.  In other words, the harder a company works to get to improve their online reputation, the more Google, Bing, and other search engines will rank them on their rating scales.

Image courtesy of Anthony Ryan at Flickr.com

 

  5 . Online reputation helps create strategic alliances

Companies looking to sell or promote their products are always looking for someone to help them do the job.  They want to be associated to those whom are trusted in the community.  They will often reach out and try to negotiate some sort of agreement where both parties can benefit the most.  However, no alliance would be possible if a company doesn’t truly worry about gaining online reputation.

E-commerce is sure to continue its growth and you can bet the competition will grow along with it.  Companies must have something to set them apart from the rest.  Online reputation is arguable that something.  The higher it is the more it shows just how serious a particular company is.  Furthermore, a company must be up-to-date with the information regarding ratings and comments that consumers leave on their website or profile pages.  Having decent online reputation will definitely help a company create partnerships where everyone involved can have their product promoted across different platforms while also raising their own credibility.  Finally, worrying about having excellent online reputation will ultimately help a couple rise on the rankings ladder and if everything goes according to plan, they should get to the top spots of Page 1.

* Featured Image courtesy of CC0 License at Pexels.com

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5 important considerations you need to know about online reviews

5 important considerations you need to know about online reviews

The service industry is arguably one of the most difficult business sectors to thrive in.  You’ve got practically unlimited competition and grueling consumer demands to meet.  And if that weren’t enough to deal with, in today’s service industry, you have to be concerned with what people say about you and what you offer.  Word of mouth has been replaced by online reputation and review sites.  Consumers are taking to the net to get an idea of a business they hear about or pass by on their way to work.  A nice-looking setup is no longer enough to bring in consumers.  You can have the most modern decoration and state of the art technology, but a one-star rating on any review site or a constant thread of negative comments and you’re done for.  Online reviews are still a crucial part of online reputation.  As a matter of fact, they just might be the most important factor.  With that said, ReputationDefender is here with some considerations regarding the relevancy on online reviews and how they can impact online reputation in the service industry.

1 . Give your consumers the information they need

Establishing a profile on review sites provides your consumers with information on working hours, contact information, location, and a general idea of what you offer them.  Make sure you include this information on all your profiles so that your customers don’t have to go all over the internet looking for it.  The first places you should start listing your business are Google My Business and Bing Places.  Why these places?  Simple.  Consumers, both loyal and potential ones, will take to the two major search engines to try to find this information first.  In other words, they will surely use either Google or Bing to look up a business.  As a bonus, having the listing shows some professionalism, and that is definitely good for business.

2.  Get an idea of what your customers really expect

One of the best things about leaving a review online is that a company gets to know their customers effectively.  Whether it be a positive review or a negative one, a business will always gain insight on how they can improve the user experience.  Once you read the reviews, get back to your customers and let them know that their opinion matters.  Don’t just read and go on to the next one.

3.  Know if you are truly delivering on what you offer

This consideration is a branch from the previous one.  You don’t need to ask your customers to post negative comments, they will surely do this on their own.  Sometimes, companies have zero idea they are doing things wrong until they check their online reviews. Businesses must be on the lookout for some common complaints that can hurt the online reputation.  The best place to find them are on review sites.  Once they are located, companies must resolve the issue as friendly and transparently as possible.  No one is expecting a business to be perfect, most people understand that businesses can make mistakes.

Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com

4.  Encouraging customers to speak their mind

Negative comments come on their own, but positive ones are not given so willingly for some reason.  Positive comments on online reviews can outweigh the negative ones.  Four or five are enough to show people that you aren’t as bad as one unhappy customer thinks.  Businesses must be creative when it comes to motivating customers to provide feedback.  There’s the simple approach of asking them to do so once they have visited the business.  Another one is to offer an incentive such as a free product or discount the next time they visit.  Whatever the strategy, businesses should encourage customers to give feedback on what they enjoyed about the experience and what can be improved.

5. Positive reviews bring in more business

Nowadays, search engines are using reviews to help business climb ranking pages.  A lot of times, you will surely notice that when you search for a business you’ll see the average rating it has on a popular review site.  The higher that rating is the better chance you have of getting showcased by review sites.

While there are detractors who say online reviews don’t matter, the reality is quite different.  Purchasing decisions are clearly influenced by online reviews when it comes to giving the service industry a chance.  Businesses must come up with strategies that will help them land positive organic reviews from real customers.  In other words, a business should never resort to paying for positive reviews, eventually, they will get caught and punished for such an action.  Reviews are the perfect opportunity for businesses to gain perspective on how well they are running things and where they can do things better to give their customers a more enjoyable experience, one that will spread the word and bring in more business.

* Featured Image courtesy of Brian Talbot at Flickr.com

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American Visa Application: When Online Reputation Management is not optional

American Visa Application: When Online Reputation Management is not optional

It seems that the great breakthroughs in terms of the dissolution of international borders no longer have an effect in our time. We are facing a moment of history in which globalization seems to be on the verge of extinction: Brexit is an example. The new immigration measures of the current President of the United States, Donald Trump as well. Regarding the latter, one of the phenomena where this strengthening of borders is most evident is in the application process for visas from several countries (especially from the third world) at the American embassies abroad. One of the reasons for refusing visas is not simply related to the suspicions that may arise about the intentions of working illegally in the United States, but about the online bad reputation that the applicant may have and that, in turn, arouse suspicions about his / her true intentions about the national security of the United States of America and its citizens.

Following the executive order signed by President Donald Trump last January for increasing the security of the worldwide visa application processes, the State Department will require visa interviews for all applicants now. This measure, as it was mentioned by the authorities, will not apply for diplomatic and official visas from foreign governments and international organizations. Applicants under the age of fourteen and over the age of seventy-nine will also be exempt, as well as those who have had a visa of the same category which has expired less than a year ago.

So, the most natural consequence to expect from all this is a longer waiting time to schedule an appointment at consulates and embassies around the world. For this reason, those planning to travel to the United States should begin the visa application process earlier. Likewise, the deadlines for renewing past-due visas without an interview, shorter than four years, have been shortened from now on to one year.

The US State Department said it is committed to facilitating travel for legitimate purposes, but its duty is to ensure the security of the borders and the American people. It is one of the priorities during the campaign of Donald Trump, and now he has decided to execute it during his term.

Read also: Are you looking for a job?, by ReputationDefender

Moreover, a possible measure has been made and it would make the application process even more complex. The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has considered adding to the requirements the study of personal profiles in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. Although some media and independent journalists in the have rejected this measure and some have described it as a viral lie, other have insisted that this is so real and it’s actually operating. Of course, the single statement of such measure has raised a tremendous controversy around the world. Defenders of freedom of speech and thought have pointed out that if this becomes a global and official requirement, this measure would violate the freedom of users to express what they consider in their social profiles according to their personal criteria. Therefore, the bad online reputation derived from certain comments on Facebook, for instance, or the mere belonging to groups opposed to the official opinion of the US government, would become obstacles to getting into the country, even as tourists.

Now, security experts point out that social networks have become a tool for finding and recruiting terrorists (even potential ones) who move around the world in order to attack American interests, and, for this reason, they must be identified and controlled before it is too late, even if it is necessary to violate the online privacy of all visitors, including those who have not done anything wrong nor are planning to.

Image courtesy of Jim Sher at Flickr.com

 

Well, the issue goes further, because the review not only focuses on the social networks of visitors. It will become increasingly common for US officers to request visitors to unlock their mobile phones for a further review of the information contained therein. This is not a new regulation created by Donald Trump: since 2009, the government of Barack Obama implemented this policy and now it has been implemented by immigration agents. In fact, authorities may be able to retain an electronic device of any kind (a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, a Kindle, a USB or other storage device) for several days and even make copies of the stored data.

It seems as if the freedoms of old were only rhetorical. In times of global insecurity, where a terrorist attack may strike anywhere in the world unexpectedly, taking care of online reputation is now a requirement for not raising suspicions that may cause subsequent trouble. Online reputation management is no longer just a business-related issue. Now it’s a political issue. Other governments will surely implement such measures, and make decisions depending on what they consider to be politically correct or not. It is not the same to apply for a visa to visit Israel than to visit Iran or Cuba. This is the new reality of our world, traveling friends!

Recommended: Visa application processes around the world: your guide

* Featured Image courtesy of Seiler Family at Flickr.com

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