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Why should everyone work their e-reputation? Importance of Online Reputation in Social Media Era

The need to work on e-reputation concerns professionals and brands, but not only: individuals are not exempt from it.

Warren Buffet had this sentence: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation, but only five minutes to annihilate it.” This has never been more true than today, in our ultra-connected world. And because: simple negative reviews posted on the Web can deter up to 96% of Internet users from interested in a product or service … Internet can be a powerful lever of popularity, but it does not give anybody any gift. That is why working your e-reputation is essential: if you do not take the subject, that’s the topic that will come to you. And everyone is concerned: businesses as well as individuals!

E-reputation: what are we talking about?

Trade is like politics: to gain market share (as politicians gain votes), it is necessary to be popular. It is the notoriety that makes a brand that it attracts buyers or not. And at the time of all-digital, while the Internet has insinuated itself into the shopping streets of consumers, this question has become more important than ever.

We refer to e-reputation as the image returned by an entity (company, brand, professional, individual) on the Web. This image is forged from multiple materials: content published on the website and blog of the entity in question, content published on third-party media and platforms (by consumers, journalists, customers), posts on social networks, opinions and comments, notes … All these elements together constitute the base on which will rise the digital popularity of the entity.

And this popularity is essential. According to a 2015 Ifop survey, 80% of individuals use the Internet to find out (and get an idea) about a product or service before buying it, a percentage that increases to 92% among professionals and senior management. Become an expert, fully informed about companies and brands, the digital consumer pays particular attention to the notion of e-reputation: 96% of Internet users say they are sensitive to the negative impact of notoriety.

Having online reviews … whether positive or negative!

Therefore, an e-reputation, it works proactively. If you voluntarily ignore this necessity, two things can happen:

Negative contents and opinions are likely to be of unprecedented importance on the World Wide Web if they are not counterbalanced by content and positive opinions;
You become vulnerable in the event of a bad buzz attack, that is to say if malicious individuals or competitors launch actions in order to affect your e-reputation.

In this context, user reviews become powerful catalysts. Today, most individuals search for information online to assess the quality of a company, brand or professional. Few people are buying a new phone, paying for air tickets or contacting a plumber without first asking Google for advice.

88% of Internet users consult opinions left by consumers, posts on forums or blog posts, before embarking on a purchase (44% say they do it “often”, according to the Ifop survey). 73% of them do so in a Web-to-Store approach, before going to the store. 52% trust the opinions posted on the social networks – which take more and more power.

For a professional of any kind, having positive opinions on the web is therefore essential: if 30% of Internet users confronted with negative views give up immediately the purchase, conversely, they are 73% to trust business / brand when they read positive things. More confidence is more conversions; more conversions, more customers; and more customers, it’s a boom in sales.

But be careful: it is just as important to have negative though positive opinions, as long as they are honest, relevant … and you have shown responsiveness to provide a quality response! Nobody is perfect, and consumers are fully aware of it. The way you respond to criticism is therefore essential for the merits of your e-reputation. On the other hand, anything that has the purpose of destroying your notoriety without any other form of trial does not need to be.

For this reason, hunting for false publications becomes a matter of survival. A Deloitte study in 2013 shows that 40% of companies see e-reputation as their number one business risk, precisely because of the ease with which rivals and unscrupulous Internet users can undermine the foundation of reputation so hard to build.

The reputation of individuals

However, the problem of e-reputation is not limited to professionals and brands. Everyone is concerned, including individuals – you, your loved ones, your friends, anyone. Individuals are as vulnerable as corporations to attacks on digital fame, as can be seen on a daily basis with politicians, artists or athletes.

Let’s take an example: the relationship between a company and a candidate for recruitment. E-reputation is crucial for the first, as 62% of hiring candidates study the employer brand on the web, especially on social networks. A good reputation attracts good profiles – 4 out of 5 employees acknowledge having already applied for a job offer after consulting positive opinions on the Web.

But the reverse is equally true. Everyone, whether he likes it or not, is preceded by an online reputation … that employers do not hesitate to check. 48% of them confess that they have already decided to recruit (or not) a candidate according to what they found on the websites and their social profiles. 35% dismissed a candidate directly after finding negative content – it could be unreliable photos on Facebook, questionable tweets, political statements, etc.

To be clear: 90% of recruiters, when they receive an application, type the name of the person on Google. And more and more often, they go in first instance on LinkedIn to check profiles. It is therefore essential for any individual that the elements that appear first in the results are positive, or at least that they are not 100% negative.

Work on e-reputation is a problem that affects everyone, from the most powerful company to the ordinary citizen. Do not ignore it: a notoriety is like a castle of cards that a breath of wind is enough to demolish. Protect it!

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