Reputation management involves monitoring and influencing your reputation with the goal of both protecting and enhancing it. Given that negative press can spread quickly through news, social media, and other digital outlets, this practice has arguably never been more important than it is today. 

What Reputation Management Includes

Here are some of the core activities that fit under the reputation management umbrella.

Monitoring and making Google search results more favorable

49% of all shoppers use Google as a launching point for finding a new product. So a large percentage of people who find you will do so through Google. 

If the first information someone reads about you is negative, it instantly creates a poor first impression. An example would be coming across a slew of negative reviews or news articles about controversies and unethical behavior. When this happens at scale, it can be toxic to your reputation. 

But if what they encounter is flattering, such as positive reviews and news articles singing your praises, it’s going to help your reputation. 

This means a key part of your reputation management strategy should focus on 1) monitoring Google search results and 2) doing everything within your power to make them more favorable. 

You can start doing this by:

  • Owning the domain name and social media profiles for your personal name and/or business name
  • Creating high-quality content on your website and social media platforms that shows your knowledge and expertise
  • Posting positive content that reflects how you want your brand to be perceived
  • Publishing press releases that highlight accomplishments and awards
  • Guest blogging on other reputable sites

While it’s impossible to completely control what appears on Google, you’ll stand a better chance of controlling the narrative around your brand by being proactive. Simply posting quality content across your websites and social media channels will go a long way in helping you build a positive reputation.

Making reviews more positive

This starts with first offering an excellent product or service and focusing intently on the customer experience. If you can provide genuine value and exceed customer expectations, it lays the foundation for positive reviews happening organically. 

Next, you should follow up with customers post-purchase and continually engage with them. In other words, the purchase shouldn’t signify the end of communication—it should only be the start. 

Offer a simple framework for leaving reviews by giving customers direct links to review sites with straightforward instructions.

It’s also critical to monitor reviews, either manually or through a reputation management platform, which brings us to our next point. 

Responding to feedback

Whether good or bad, promptly responding to customer feedback is vital, as it shows you actually care about customer opinions and will use feedback to provide a better customer experience.

This is especially important when it comes to negative reviews. You want to show your customers that you hear them and are taking steps to ensure their negative experience won’t be repeated in the future.

This doesn’t just help with maintaining your current customer base, but it also goes a long way in proving yourself worthy to potential customers. Reading a negative review on its own can be a deterrent for prospective clients. But when they see your well-articulated response, there’s a much better chance they’ll want to do business with you. 

And if the feedback is positive, this can help further strengthen your reputation and build even deeper relationships with your client base. It also shows others who browse through your reviews that you genuinely care about your customers’ opinions, which can be a deciding factor in them choosing your brand over a competitor. 

Handling crisis management

When a full-blown crisis arises that can potentially cripple your reputation, a swift response is needed. Some specific crisis management strategies include:

  • Developing a sequence of steps to be followed in the event of a crisis, including objectives, messaging, and deciding who key decision-makers are
  • Assessing the situation to quickly determine the severity of the crisis and an appropriate response
  • Creating a communication plan to stabilize the situation
  • Determining corrective actions that address the root cause of the crisis 

This is a simplified overview, but it provides you with a good foundation for creating your business’s crisis management plan.

Performing sentiment analysis from social media

Sentiment analysis is a tool that uses natural language processing to assign a measurable score to the emotions people feel about your brand. For example, Mention is a social listening platform that offers sentiment analysis from social media, where it can show you what percentage of people feel positive, neutral, or negative.

From this, you can identify trends, better understand customer opinions, and track the overall trajectory of your reputation. And when an issue arises, sentiment analysis puts you in a better position to quickly diagnose it and come up with a game plan for fixing it. 

Who Should Use Reputation Management Services?

Here are seven specific types of people and businesses who can benefit from reputation management services. 


It’s pretty much a no-brainer that if you’re a celebrity, you should be using reputation management services. With the internet making it possible for anyone to say anything they want about you (even if it’s not true), bad publicity can spread quickly. This is especially important in the context of our modern cancel culture. 

Public figures

The same is true for public figures like actors, athletes, politicians, entrepreneurs, journalists, or anyone with a high degree of visibility. A good reputation management service will work to make sure you’re seen in a positive light while protecting you and doing damage control if things go awry.


The ease with which someone can slander influencers—those who influence consumer behavior and purchasing decisions—is staggering. There are even entire online forums and social media accounts created for the sole purpose of dragging down influencers. When you try to defend yourself on your own, it often doesn’t go well. A team of trained professionals can help mitigate any negative effects from these toxic environments.

Major corporations with valuable brands

Think Coca-Cola, Apple, Nike, and Google. Any company with an enormously valuable brand is a prime target for slander. With these big brands, though, it’s not just about one targeted smear campaign; simply having a large enough volume of customer complaints can erode a major corporation’s brand equity. 

Victims of online mobs or harassment

An online mob is a large group of people who collectively come together to attack a person or organization through online communities like social media or forums. If you’ve ever been or are at risk of being the victim of an online mob or general harassment, reputation management services are a necessity.

Companies working in controversial industries

Examples can include:

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Firearms
  • Gambling
  • Pharmaceutical

Industries like these that can easily spark controversy naturally run a reputational risk. 

Doctors with a well-known practice

Doctors with a lot of publicity (think Dr. Oz or Dr. Sanjay Gupta) have an elevated risk of reputational damage. You don’t necessarily have to be a famous doctor to need reputation management services, though. Most potential patients will do a ton of research online before choosing a medical professional, especially in fields like plastic surgery. If you run a practice where customer reviews and your online reputation is critical for bringing in new patients, you don’t want to cut corners when it comes to reputation management.

Can Reputation Management Be Done With Software?

Software can help with parts of reputation management—mainly monitoring different marketing channels. 

For instance, a reputation management tool like Brand24 lets you track mentions across news, social media, videos, and reviews and offers advanced sentiment analysis to break mentions down into positive, neutral, and negative categories. 

Example of a negative sentiment analysis from Brand24

Nextiva enables you to automatically receive customer sentiment ratings for your reviews, as well as provide automated responses to your reviews using AI technology. 

And as we mentioned earlier, Mention allows you to efficiently monitor your reputation using a similar approach as Brand24, and it also has instant alerts whenever a potential crisis arises so you can take immediate action. 

Software solutions like these can definitely be helpful and empower you to take some level of control of your reputation. That said, software can only go so far, so you’ll either need to do reputation management yourself or get a professional agency to help. 

How to Do Reputation Management on Your Own

In terms of actionable steps you can take to manage your reputation, here’s what we suggest. 

Own all your social media profiles

When you’re at the helm of your social media activities, you can create your own narrative. You decide what content to share and what conversations to participate in, and you can interact with your followers directly. 

When compared to having a marketing agency manage your social media profiles, doing it in-house lets you inject your true personality and gives you a tighter level of control.

And even if you don’t plan on posting on a specific platform for a while, you should still make sure you set up accounts under all the major social media networks so you own the account names for each. You don’t want to risk someone else taking the name for your personal brand or business.

Invest in your website and its SEO

As we know, a big portion of people find your brand through Google. While you can’t control everything that’s said about you online, you can control what people see first when they search for your name or business. The best way to do this is by making sure the top results are your own websites and social media channels—things you control.

If someone Googles your name, you want the website links, top stories, social media blurbs, reviews, and other content they see to be content that positively promotes your brand.

To help with this, take the time to make sure the content on your website and profiles reflects how you want your brand to be seen.

If you have a crisp, clean, professional-looking site, this is going to make a far better impression than if you have a cheap, outdated site with zero effort put into it.

Monitor Glassdoor and relevant review sites

Glassdoor is one of today’s most widely used job search and career community sites. Part of its appeal is its transparency, where Glassdoor provides ratings on:

  • Career opportunities
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Culture and values
  • Senior management
  • Work/life balance

Beyond that, it offers the pros and cons of working for a company, employee reviews, and the percentage of employees who are likely to recommend it to a friend. Long story short, having a good reputation on Glassdoor can positively impact public perception. That’s why you’ll want to occasionally monitor it to see what people are saying and if anything needs your attention. 

The same is true for any other relevant product/review sites that impact your brand. Some examples can include:

  • Google My Business
  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Angie’s List
  • Better Business Bureau

These can act as a microcosm for collective sentiment, so you’ll want to keep tabs on them. 

Do an annual review push from your best customers

About once a year, ask your most loyal customers to give you reviews. Since they’ve proven themselves to be committed to your brand, these reviews will likely be overwhelmingly positive.

Here are a few tips:

  • Personalize your requests, rather than sending them out in mass
  • Let your customers know how much positive reviews can help your business
  • Offer clear instructions with an easy-to-follow link
  • Consider an incentive, such as discounts or freebies to sweeten the deal

Again, this isn’t something you have to do all the time, but making it part of your annual routine can go a long way toward building a positive reputation for your brand.

When to Get Help With Reputation Management

Here are some situations when you should get real help right away:

  • Negative sentiment dominates search results 
  • A negative post on social media went viral
  • There’s been a surge in negative content surrounding your brand, including false information
  • You’re experiencing a reputation crisis, such as a company data breach or scandal
  • You’re facing legal issues because of an incident 

Furthermore, if you meet the criteria for reputation management services listed above, such as being a celebrity, public figure, or influencer, and simply don’t have the time to handle reputation management yourself, it’s usually best to get help. 

In this scenario, you want to look for an agency with serious experience in reputation management. Because of the backlash that can occur from a blow to your reputation, this isn’t an area to be experimental with. 

As for finding a professional agency, check out our top picks for the best online reputation management companies.