The Emergence of Brand Reputation Management and SEO

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As more people use the social media to talk, share, and interact with others, there’s an increasing chance that the same tools will be used to talk about your products, service, and offers. This poses an opportunity as well as a threat. How can you know what they’re saying? And how should you respond to their feedback? Brand Reputation Management can help with this initiative. Aside from turning negatives to positives, it also leverages on customer relationships to take it further.

Successful companies know that taking care of their brand is of utmost importance. Today, brand reputation management through targeted search engine optimisation (SEO) campaigns cannot be ignored. It can provide immense business benefits over the long term. Aside from this, there are also unique opportunities that can give your company an edge when it comes to brand reputation.

• Be Social Media-Savvy – are you up-to-date with the latest Web 2.0 trends? If you’re not, it’s time for a long-overdue lesson. Read up on tech blogs and internet marketing websites. Getting even the basic idea about new developments in social media will prepare you to take advantage of it.

• Get Brand Evangelists – the role of brand evangelists is to promote a brand in varied ways. It can include setting up a blog, commenting on recent posts, joining discussions, and taking advantage of social networking sites. This is an old “word of mouth” tactic that has been proven to be effective.

• Improve Brand Equity – brand equity is deeply linked to customer perception. That’s why it’s important to maintain an unblemished reputation in the market. Your brand is the reason why customers are willing to pay more for your product or service. If this gets tarnished, your offer might become just another commodity out there.

• Find Promotional Opportunities – there are countless promotional opportunities on the internet, all you need to do is find them. However, it is important to take note that not all activity is worth participating in. Pick and choose the best one for your company. Ideally, it should create “buzz” and make a positive impact to your bottom line.

• Research in Real Time – don’t let things get out of hand. With the number of tracking tools on the internet today, it is possible to monitor your brand 24/7. For example, websites like Technorati and Google Alerts can make you aware if your company is mentioned for any reason.

Sometimes though, even a highly targeted campaign conducted by SEO experts may be challenged when it comes to dislodging negative search results. This can occur if two opposing parties have sufficient budgets and the right consultants to mount highly competitive campaigns. Take the example of Wal-Mart. Despite its financial heft, their online promoters cannot dislodge Wal-Mart Watch from the first page of the search engine results.

The site is against the business practices of Wal-Mart and it demands reforms. It also talked about its harmful effect on average Americans. Still another website that ranks highly alongside Wal-Mart-sponsored websites is WakeUpWalMart.com. The proponents behind the website claim to champion local development, workers rights, and international trade.

As if having two anti-Walmart websites that at the first page of search engine results wasn’t bad enough, there is a third high-ranking site that isn’t happy with the company either. The home page of the “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price”. It provokes people to think about the way they shop. So you may be wondering, if Wal-Mart needs to deal with negative commentary and it is one of biggest companies in the United States, how can your small business compete in the search engines?
It is not for lack of trying. Wal-Mart has established individual websites for some of its specific services including its foundation and media download center. The company even set up another site to address the problems raised by its local communities and its workers. But in this case, its size might have contributed to its brand problems as well.

Wal-Mart’s reputation has been severely affected because of the negative content about its policies found on the web. The factor that really makes these issues stick is its legitimacy. The number of people attacking it from all sides doesn’t help matters. For most small businesses, the answer may lie in taking a proactive approach in search engine optimisation (SEO) and brand reputation management. Both have emerged as important marketing tools of today. It can complement each other to propel your site to the top.

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