The Internet and Social Media have given a voice to millions, offering web visitors the opportunity to provide reviews of a multitude of products and services, and to post all types of potentially harmful information about you or your business. Studies indicate that more and more consumers are turning to online sources for product and service reviews, as well as information about the people with whom they choose to do business. But the risk to your reputation isn’t limited to potential customers. A business partner or prospective employer may see unfavorable information about you. Co-workers or acquaintances may have access to information buried in your past.
To date, the Internet and social media site have been mostly unregulated, allowing for the publication of false information, the disclosure of potentially scandalous personal information, and easy manipulation of reviews to either promote or disparage a company. As a result, it can be extremely difficult to protect your business reputation. And, as search engine technology blossoms, there are more and better ways to speed up the delivery of negative reviews, false reports or potentially damaging information. Consider the following advancement in search technology:
- Personalized search-This Google product keeps track of every page you have clicked on from a Google search result.
- Universal search-This tool from Google combines listings from local, news, image, video and book search engines, so that a broad array of information is available at one place.
- Rich snippets-Another Google product, this allows users to view certain summary information about a search result, including reviews and ratings.
There are measures that you can take to try to manage your online reputation, but they can be extremely time-consuming. Both Google and Yahoo have a free alerts function, where you can get regular e-mails documenting any online use of your name or your business’s name. There are also social media management tools, such as Hootsuite, EasyTweets and Disqus, that allow you to manage multiple Twitter accounts or track comment threads.
Recognizing the need for online business reputation management, companies such as BirdEye, in Silicon Valley, have developed comprehensive strategies to protect businesses and business owners. According to BirdEye, the key components of an effective business reputation management service should include:
- Ongoing monitoring and collection of reviews from all major social media websites, including Google, Yahoo, Angie’s List, Kudzu, Yelp, CitySearch, Avvo and Trip Advisor
- The generation of new positive reviews through automated requests to past and current clients
- The ability to collect client feedback on a mobile application, so that you can get immediate input on your reputation
- The collection of customer e-mails via a mobile app, to be used for future marketing/reputation management requests
- The aggregation of all your online reviews in a single place, as well as e-mail notice when any new reviews are posted
- The ability to contest, and even hold back fake, false or slanderous reviews, so that they do not appear on your website or on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter
- The generation of digital referrals from satisfied customers
- The ability to automatically highlight positive client review in search engines, on social media, and on your firm’s website
- The distribution of your positive reviews worldwide
GetLegal.com’s new product, GL Catalyst, developed in partnership with BirdEye, offers comprehensive online business reputation management services to law firms nationwide. To learn more about GL Catalyst, and how it can benefit your firm, call GetLegal.com directly at 817-359-7077.