A conundrum is a difficult problem whose answer is or involves a pun. Many online marketers have begun to discover that there is such a dilemma with reputation management. As soon as you realize what the problem is you also realize that the solution has just as much difficulty attached to it. It is indeed a riddle. A condundrum.
So what’s the problem? I’ll try to state it in as simple terms as possible.
Reputation management involves positioning your name or brand in a positive light while monitoring what others are saying about you. You truly are “managing” your reputation. You cannot control what others say about you. All you can do is respond to them if they say something you don’t agree with. But there are some challenges in responding to every little bit criticism you receive. You will have some trouble if you try to respond to it all.
That isn’t the conundrum, however. The real issue is that the more popular you are then the more reputation management you need and the harder it is to manage that reputation. If you are a virtual unknown then not many people are going to be saying much about you – good or bad. But if you are very well known – a celebrity, let’s say – then you are likely getting talked about, both good and bad. The problem for celebrities is that they can’t possibly respond to every bit of bad press they get, and really shouldn’t try.
But what if you’re a business? Your reputation could rise to celebrity status. And what’s more, even if you start out a virtual unknown, you could be catapulted to stardom by your reputation management efforts. See the joke now?
In simpler terms, reputation management begins the moment you open your doors. No one knows who you are or what you have to offer, but that won’t stop them from sampling your services. Once that first taste of your business is out there, you immediately need to manage your reputation because that customer is going to talk to somebody. That’s online and an off line reality.
Online, information is forever. Build a website and your reputation is attached. Perform some online marketing through social media and your reputation follows. In many cases, it gets there first. Even a virtual unknown can have a bad reputation before the perceived need to defend it. So what’s the moral? It is this: That you must make a conscious decision early on in your online business to establish a reputation for good customer service, a great product, and develop a positive perception. Any little blip in that reputation armor of yours and you just may need more “management” than you can handle.