Reputation Management vs. Credibility Monitoring — What’s the Difference?

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You’ve probably heard of reputation management or monitoring. Many online companies offer these somewhat questionable services to help individuals and brands repair their good name online. From bad reviews to social media trolls, keeping your brand’s credibility clean can become time consuming.

Wikipedia breaks down the practice like this:

“Reputation management refers to influencing and controlling an individual’s or business’s reputation. Originally a public relations term, the expansion of the internet and social media, along with reputation management companies, have made it primarily an issue of search results.”

I love the idea of having an easy fix, but let’s be honest — online trolls and overly harsh reviews can get out of hand quickly. As a business owner, I know that things can pop up from time to time, so I wonder, is reputation management an option for me and my business? Wikipedia continues with this:

“Online reputation management, sometimes abbreviated as ORM, is primarily concerned with managing the results on websites that evaluate products and services and make recommendations and referrals. Ethical grey areas include mug shot removal sites, astroturfing review sites, censoring negative complaints or using search engine optimization tactics to influence results.”

“Ethical grey areas” make me uncomfortable in business. Since 2012, Google has released several sweeping updates to their algorithm that have penalized or blacklisted many businesses. Most notably, was hit with a penalty in 2014. The travel giant experienced a 25% loss in search visibility and their shares dropped 4.5%.

So, what do you do if you have a reputation problem?

Your web presence is the life force of your brand online. As a site owner, you want to protect your brand’s credibility at all cost, but black-hat tactics like ORM can often hurt you in the long run, creating a bigger problem for your business. While you can erase somethings from the internet, you can’t erase customer experiences.

Organic and “natural growth” is always better because it produces a permanent fix. This is how Credibility Monitoring is different from Reputation Management. CM doesn’t falsify or hide PR damage only to surface later, it repairs and corrects.

Credibility Monitoring is a Different Approach

CM helps businesses communicate with their customers online in a different way. Instead of controlling the what is said about your company, it encourages positive web presence.

Here’s one example of Credibility Monitoring when replying to a harsh review. ORM might have deleted or buried it in the search results, but CM would address the reviewer. Not all bad reviews are wrong, but they can misrepresent your company if there aren’t enough good ones to balance the blow. Instead of censoring valid complaints, CM offers great customer service. Mistakes happen, but the response to those mistakes can make all the difference.

Everyone wants to know that they are supporting a company they can trust. Customers who feel you are trustworthy leave better reviews, buy more and spread their experiences through word of mouth.

How Exactly Does CM Work?

Credibility monitoring boils down to three key parts:

  1. Communication – Response and interaction with your customers.
  2. Defense – Red flag trolls or false reviewers.
  3. Branding – Watchful of things outside of your online branding.

The goal of our CM services is to be as authentic as possible. To do this, you need to communicate with your audience and build a community. It’s important to offer outstanding customer service or help whenever possible. Your credibility is dependent on legitimate reviews, whether good or bad. CM helps you take the right action, effectively.

“Off-page” content is important to ensure consistent branding. For example, we look at the company’s social media and keep an eye out for personal statuses or opinion posts. Blog posts are also open to inconsistent branding. All of these things can be easily fixed and updated without black-hat tactics.

We believe monitoring your credibility should be an essential part of your SEO. That’s why CM is a key component of our off-page SEO strategy. It’s a better alternative to Reputation Management and helps you build customer loyalty and trust.

What do you do for your site’s web presence?

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About the Author: Linda Carlson is a UX designer with a love for wire-framing, planning and CSS at SonFisher Web Studios. For over a decade, she has focused her attention on small business needs and quality web services. Her writing includes content marketing, SEO localization and brand reputation.

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