Consistency remains a virtue

During a campaign, remaining consistent can be inherently problematic. This is in part because campaigns have to be run on a continuous basis if they are to achieve and sustain success. Simply providing consistent content over a protracted period is far from straightforward. Users are swift to pick up on discrepancies or deviations. Contradictions may be picked up and can alienate users.

At, we recognise the fact that campaigns have to stick to their guns. Flexibility is necessary to cope with changes in the search world, but the values expressed via the content provision must not be all over the place. If they are contradictory then segments of the target audience will be disappointed. The abundance of choice on the net means that they will look elsewhere to have their needs addressed.

Therefore, inconsistency can be bad for Internet reputation management. However, online reputation solutions can mean that the trouble caused by a deviation is minimised. Much depends on the way in which an online error is responded to by users. It may be that it sparks a critical review on a consumer review site. A blog might report it. It might circulate around a social media network like Twitter. In a worst case scenario, a plethora of responses may be triggered. However, online reputation solutions are most easily understood if the possible responses are considered in turn.

Once upon a time it was believed that a critical review of a site was something best ignored. Ignoring it was seen as a way of making sure that it was not bumped up the search engine results pages. However, it has been realised that the danger of giving a negative response more prominence is not the same as the danger of leaving an issue unaddressed. Silence looks unprofessional. It can even be interpreted as an admission of guilt.

Replying to a harsh review is not simple. It is best to be brief without being curt. If part of a criticism is valid then one should accept it. However, if it is not then one is free to point out where it is inaccurate. This complexity means that the tone employed really matters. An effective reply to a critical review can actually improve the reputation of a company. It can change the mind of the critic and look good in the eyes of other users. Only an individual who is experienced and is not responsible for the product or service being criticised should reply to a review.

A blog post which criticises a firm should be assessed in terms of its likely readership. Looking at a visitor counter is not always possible. However, the number of comments on previous blog posts can provide a clue. Any response to an unfair blog post should be implied in careful language. It is important not to give further ammunition to a critic.

When it comes to unfortunate remarks about a business circulating on the likes of Twitter, the best idea is to recall that damage limitation is easiest when a loyal following has been acquired. Users who have a positive relationship with a company will not always be convinced by negative commentary.

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