Reputation Management

2014 – The Do-or-Die Year for Online Reputation Management

A few highs, a few lows – 2013 has been a good year for online reputation management, overall, and hopefully, 2014 will be better. That being said, with just a few days left before the year ends, it’s high time we take lessons – lessons from anything that may have gone wrong. After all, there’s no point in making the same mistakes again, more so because 2014 is likely to be a decisive year.

The Year of Images

This coming year, a picture will be worth a thousand words, not that it not already is, but 2014 will see it becoming more important than ever, at least in terms of online reputation management or ORM, as we know it. And with Pinterest and Instagram already creating ripples, content, it seems, would only play second fiddle.  What does that mean to you?

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The Year of Proactiveness

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2013 may have seen you digging your well late (pun intended), but that won’t work anymore. That’s because 2014 is not the year of ‘wait and watch’; it’s more about ‘wait and ouch’. You wait for someone to attack your brand and who knows, you may lose:

  • Your reputation
  • Your customers
  • Your money, if there is a need to go legal

Worse, you may not be able to do anything to stop them. Or maybe you can, but only if you act well in time, i.e. before it’s too late. Hint: securing negative domains should work.

The Year of Self-Dependence

Yelp is a useful tool and that it will continue to be. No two ways about it. However, 2014 will need you to look for an alternate, and what could be better than your own site. But, why not Yelp then, you may ask. Here’s why:

  • Reportedly, Yelp doesn’t post some of the positive reviews
    • So if you get such reviews, they might go to waste
  • Not all reviews posted on Yelp are real
    • As many as 25% of them may be fake

It comes down to this: you need to take the matters into your own hands and that’s only possible when you collect your own genuine reviews from happy customers.

The Year When SEO May Die By Its Own Hand

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There’s no denying the fact that SEO’s days are numbered, but come 2014 and it may breathe its last. With Google refusing to stop rolling out updates, search engine optimisation will soon be a thing of the past. And the worst part is that SEO brought it upon itself. Had it woken up to the signs that Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird showed, it could have easily saved face. But no, most SEO providers chose to look the other way. And they paid for the price for it. The next year may bring more bad news. The only thing that can help SEO survive and maybe make a comeback is great content. You need to make sure you have enough of it this coming year.

The Year of Putting On a Brave Face

2013 saw many brands coming under attack. But what did they do? Nothing, they just sat on their hands. Surprisingly, this worked for many of them, doing nothing that is. Will it work in 2014 as well? What if it doesn’t? You need to be prepared and make sure that a well-thought-out defence strategy is in place.

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Barring the last approach, anything may work, depending on the situation. That being said, do whatever you want to do, just don’t sit idle when someone says something negative about you online; it may prove fatal. Before you take any action, make sure you think logically and do not make the things worse.

The Year When You Need To Keep Your Eyes Open

There are two sides to every coin; there always have been. Social media is no exception. 2013 did see the rise of Vine and other social media sites, but the year also gave troublemakers a new opportunity – the opportunity to attack you, when you least expected it.  In 2014, you must do something about it before your online reputation goes for a toss. Also, try and see the downside to everything before you bask in the glory of your next successful social media campaign.

Points to remember:

  • Keep your eyes open while sharing images on Pinterest or other social media sites. Make sure you are not inviting trouble in the form of copyright issues.
  • Nothing is fool-proof, period.

The Year of Reading between the Lines

Matt Cutts talked of ORM in a video released early this year. He may not have done so on purpose, but what if he did? Did it have anything to do with Google per se? You never know; nobody does for that matter. But in 2014, you just cannot take chances and so it’s better to assume that the search engine is keeping a close watch on ORM. What does that mean to you?

  • Keep the press releases to a minimum
    • Even guest blogs may be devalued
  • Focus on good content
    • Visually-oriented information may also do you some good

The Year of Encouragement

2014 must see a change in your ORM policy. Chances are that in 2013, all you did was to make the most of whatever positive reviews came your way. You did not ask for any. This coming year, you must. Meaning, if there are customers who are satisfied with your products and services, it makes sense for you to encourage them to write reviews. This encouragement can go a long way in making you look credible online.

The Year of Acting in Time

Some of the biggest brands suffered huge losses in 2013 as they waited for too long even when they came to know that their reputation is at stake. For some strange reason, they thought they could deal with the issues on their own. As expected, many of them could not. 2014 is the year when they can make up for it, but only if they realise that some things are better left to professionals. And of course, they need to act in time or else, even professionals may not be able to save a sinking ship.

The Year When You Can’t Complain Anymore

Not 100% of the reviews posted online are genuine. They never were. Most of them have always been posted by disgruntled employees, competitors and troublemakers. Now that you know it, what can you do about it? Complain? Isn’t that what you have always done? Come 2014 and nobody would listen when you cry foul. What would you do then? Reviews, whether fictitious or real, are to be dealt with, simple.

Gear up for 2014 is the year of opportunities but only if you know how to milk them.

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