Can Digital Reputation Matter?

By Tiara Ogabang

I saw this headline a few weeks ago:

Social Capital Platform Botches Cofounder’s Death.”

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Airbnb

These platforms had millions of users, and in the case of Facebook, billions of users. The news affected everyone because of the vast audience these accounts had.

The Facebook story was a wake-up call for businesses and a reminder of the personal side of social media and its implications.

The fallout from that bad news included the company investing a good deal of money in content moderation, ensuring the privacy of users, banning fake accounts, and investing in machine learning to remove fake accounts.

The lesson is clear: We need to take care of ourselves first.

Your company has multiple facets that must be maintained. The Internet and social media can be a powerful force for positive change, but it isn’t all positive. This is where a human factor comes in.

I’m going to talk about how you can use digital reputation, and reputation management, to help protect your brand, increase revenues, and improve the customer experience.

Digital reputation is everything

Digital reputation is everything

In the technology space, reputation is everything.

When Google, Twitter, and Facebook think of search, they think of reputation. It’s a strong word, and there’s a reason for that.

Your customers and clients are talking about you ­– sometimes in the best of ways and sometimes not so much. It’s negative and positive, depending on the news that comes your way.

One thing’s for sure – digital reputation is a growing concern. It’s no longer just about your company, but about your reputation in general.

Did you hear about the Echo that recorded the voices of a family and sent them to an acquaintance? This wasn’t the first incident with Alexa, but it’s the most recent one.

The fact that this was a family member or close friend doesn’t change the danger that your reputation poses. You have to be ready for that.

In 2017, according to a Northstar’s independent global survey, just over a third of people now think AI is already having a notable impact on their daily lives. This peaks in the US (44%), though not surprisingly most people globally still seem to believe the AI evolution is only just gathering pace. Ask people about how the world will look in five years’ time and the story changes: three-quarters of consumers expect AI to feature heavily in their lives by 2022.

This could have wide-reaching effects on the new industry of assisted living, where people with physical or cognitive disabilities are kept in their homes, which means they will not be in the rooms with the “robots.”

Any data or personal information that’s sensitive is not private. The machines learn. It’s scary, but it’s also a reality.

Most companies that rely on the cloud have strong data security practices in place, but in 2018, consumers are taking extra steps to protect themselves from identity theft, hacking, and other digital attacks.

Cybersecurity is also a growing business, and keeping up with changing trends, regulations, and technology is no easy feat.

At the same time, companies can suffer from bad reputations when they don’t take the necessary steps to maintain them.

Be social, not viral

A viral website or a viral video can do a lot of good for a business, but it can also do a lot of harm. That’s why it’s important to know when your story is ready for the public.

A good example of this is how Target handled its data breach, which affected 70 million customers. The company never tried to spin the news or make it seem like it was just a blip in Target’s business.

They immediately put out a press release that detailed the breach and their steps to ensure that it never happens again. Target took the time to respond to customer questions and took care of business before the social media team was even activated.

The biggest thing companies need to remember is that online reputations are alive and evolving. What people think about you now isn’t necessarily what they will think about you in a year.

In 2018, we saw celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Jim Carrey, Jennifer Lawrence, Dave Chappelle, Amy Schumer, and Kevin Hart having their names and faces dragged through the mud because of either a comment they made on Twitter or because their followers turned on them.

Although we don’t know the details of what exactly happened with these celebrities, it’s clear that social media is a place where you can get a lot of unwanted attention and that what you say has real-world consequences.

This is why it’s so important to keep a close eye on what your company or brand posts on social media and be proactive in your responses. These days, public opinion is heavily influenced by the Internet, and you want to be the company that the people trust.

Don’t be that company

Don’t be that company

As you can see from the list above, there are plenty of digital pitfalls that you can fall into, but there’s a lot you can do to avoid them.

Here are a few tips to help your company stay relevant in 2021 and make your digital reputation stronger:

Give your employees access to real-time data

There's a very good chance your customers or customers of your competitors are online.

If you want to know what's happening, you need to be talking to them. That's why you need to provide employees with the ability to view live information about your customers and what's trending online.

Employees can check in with tools like Google Analytics or Mixpanel to see which social media channels your customers are using and what keywords they're typing into search engines.

You can also give employees access to analytics on social media. This way, they can stay abreast of what's going on with your customers on social media and identify any trends or content they may be responding to.

Set up a bot to monitor social media conversations

Human resource departments often get the short end of the stick when it comes to digital reputation.

Although you can probably guess that your employees are not the best at managing digital reputation on your behalf, it's still important to keep them informed of all the conversations happening on the Internet.

Can digital reputation matter as a management tool?

Can digital reputation matter as a management tool?

Not only can your digital reputation matter as a manager, but it will affect your overall sales and revenues as a business.

The truth is that customers have limited time and attention. As such, they want an easy way to find your business or brand in their pursuit of those things they seek. And while traditional sales techniques might work in the past, they will quickly lose relevance as customers use the Internet.

To sum it up, the business’s digital reputation is the lifeblood of your business. While you may be the most talented business person in the world, if no one has heard of you, it’s a short jump to closing a sale and leaving your business in the dust. This is why digital reputation management is essential.