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Why Reputation Management is So Essential in an Online World

Why Reputation Management is So Essential in an Online World:

The simple fact of the matter is that people do not like to be "sold to" anymore. Sadly, this can make things fairly difficult if it is literally your job to do exactly that on a daily basis.
Consider a few of the following statistics, outlining exactly how most people are likely to come into contact with your brand for the first time:

      According to one study, the vast majority of all online experiences begin with a search engine. That search engine is usually Google, which still owns between 65% and 70% of the total worldwide market share.
      According to research obtained by imFORZA, 70% of the links that users click on are organic - meaning that they're ignoring all of the paid ads that usually appear right at the top and are instead trying to get at the heart of the more organic results.
      According to research conducted by PageFair.com, 615 million devices worldwide now use ad blocking software - that breaks down to about 11% of the total global Internet population.
      Across 2016 alone, worldwide ad blocking usage grew an impressive 30%.
So what does this tell us? People are growing very impatient, very quickly, with traditional advertising methods. Not only are they ignoring paid ads when they can, they're taking the extra step of blocking them when the opportunity presents itself. This is a trend that shows absolutely no intention of slowing down anytime soon, either.
What, exactly, does that leave you with? Thankfully, the answer is simple: your reputation.
In a Lot of Ways, Your Reputation is All You Have
The term "reputation," especially on the Internet, invokes a whole lot more than just whether or not your business has good or bad reviews on a site like Yelp. It's literally the feeling someone gets when they think about your brand, or encounter one of your products or services moving forward.
These days, it's come to describe the deep, emotional connection (or lack thereof) that you have with your target audience. If you're able to positively influence that, all the ad blocking programs in the world won't be able to stop the progress you're able to make.

Once again, consider the following statistics about reputation management in the online world:

      91% of consumers in North America who responded to a survey said that they read online reviews to learn more about a business before making a purchase. People regularly check out Google Reviews, Yelp and just about any other customer feedback system that you can think of - not necessarily to learn about the products and services, but to learn more about the company and the people who work there.
      In another study, 89% of shoppers say that they stopped buying from a particular brand after a poor customer service experience - even if they didn't really have a problem with the product or service itself.
      The most damning statistic of all is ultimately the following: nearly eight out of every ten Internet users in the United States say that some piece of negative information they read online made them change their mind about a purchasing decision.
But again - even though reviews are important, they are not the only thing that goes into determining what people feel when they think about or encounter your brand. There are other steps that you can take to improve this essential bedrock that is your reputation.
Think about the types of materials that you're regularly creating with a tool like Visme, for example (which in transparency, I’m the founder of). Feeding back into the larger idea of "reputation as customer service," instead of using Visme to create straight marketing materials you should be using it to create helpful educational resources, instead.
Don't just use Visme to visualize your product's spec sheet.  Or tap into this free videos series on how to create beautiful visual content without being a designer. Show them encountering real problems that people might have and show in full detail how to overcome them.
This will allow that video to transcend the status of "promotional tool" and move into something much more valuable.
The same is true of the presentations that you create, too. Don't create presentations with the primary goal of selling - again, people don't want that anymore. Think about topics that you can use to build presentations around that will help, that will educate and that will inform.
This won't just allow you to create better materials that people want to experience. It will also have the added benefit of helping to establish your brand reputation as one of a company that actually cares about the success of its users.
You don't just want their money - you want them to actually be better off after they've started a relationship with your brand than they were before. Your reputation plays into how true this is and the materials that you create can in turn feed into that reputation.

Reputation Management is Active:

Building this type of reputation, however, isn't something that you can just do once and forget about. Because this concept is so essential to your ongoing success, it essentially demands an ongoing effort, too.
Think about it like this: you will make mistakes, particularly as you start to experiment with the ways in which you're reaching out to your audience on social media. How strong your reputation is will directly affect how easy it is for you to bounce back from those mistakes.
In the end, every piece of collateral that you create, every conversation you start and every action you execute needs to begin from the same place: "how will this affect the way people see me?"
Not "how many products will this sell?" or "how will this increase my click through rate?" "How will this particular action positively impact my reputation today?"
If you're able to master that, everything else that you seek will essentially fall into place on its own.

About the Author:


Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience and web app development.

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