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First Impressions Are Most Important

first-impressionWith the rising popularity of the internet and with so many businesses jumping aboard the social media marketing bandwagon, many people are concerned about their online marketing plans- and rightly so. What once was done via word of mouth, radio and newspaper and could sometimes take years to really come to fruition is now done in much less time- thanks to the instant gratification of an online presence. Granted, it still takes time, but when you consider that the internet audience is much, much broader than say, if you were originally using only radio spots or print- your company’s reputation can either be made or broken in the span of a month in some cases.

You know that you cannot usually control what some people are going to say about you online, however there are a few ways to circumvent negativity online. We’ll begin with the very first of these things, because this should already be in place and running. Social Media Networking.

Apart from being a pretty useful tool in marketing, social media networking has some great reputation management assets, as well. Think about it- through social media networking, you connect with your target audience and others on a more personal level, you give your company a face, and this helps in a number of ways. Firstly, you’re sharing your knowledge and passion for what you do with your customers, and they do like to see that- it helps them to build trust when they can see that you are sincere, but also, that sort of connection helps in other ways.

As you integrate social media networking into your existing marketing plan, a few things happen- there are great search engine optimization benefits, yes, but when you are showing your honesty, your drive and the way that you care about what you do- what happens when someone pops off with something negative out of nowhere? You’ve got a following of people who understand your business, and who also are in your corner. Let’s face it, at some point or another, in any business, there are always going to be people who cannot resist venting negativity.

Problem is, online, those words travel fast and the better they are written, the more “reputable” the source is, the more viral they can go and your online reputation, and also your business’ reputation may well be at stake. The first way to combat that is in already having a good reputation. It is very hard to argue someone’s a faceless, money hungry tyrant when the face is there, the caring is shown, and it is more than obvious that there are more than one side to the story.

When there is an issue with online reputation, the best response is usually a professionally done reputation management campaign. Responding to the negative attacks usually does not help matters any, but if you already have laid the groundwork with a decent following via social media and other outlets, you’re already moving forward and past the negativity.