Part 1: are the stakes worth the risk?


For a temporary or permanent staffing agency, the Internet and social networks are essential when it comes to reaching its clients and candidates. But exposing yourself to the reviews in the public arena is not without risk. So, I wanted to do an overview, in two parts of the challenges of digital reputation: to start, let’s analyze some data.


A few years ago, I was visiting Toronto with a couple of friends. Neither of us knew the city, and we were looking for a place to eat. Our first instinct was therefore the same: grab our phone and type “restaurant Toronto”. But where I dwelled on the menus on offer and the distance calculations, a friend of mine was already checking customer reviews. This is how I realized how e-reputation – for web-reputation – can impact our most common decisions, such as “what are we eating tonight?”


“It takes 20 years old to build a reputation and five minutes to destroy it. ” Warren Buffet


Appeared before the rise of social networks, the notion of e-reputation for a company, such as a temporary or permanent staffing agency, includes both the identity that it diffuses on the Internet, as well as the perception of the users. It is therefore, in essence, volatile and can evolve very quickly, in either direction. And, above all, it is very difficult to control it. The rise of social media has accentuated this unpredictable aspect, giving anyone the ability to influence a brand’s digital reputation at breakneck speed.


Why should a staffing agency ensure its e-reputation?


For staffing agencies, the issue is even more complex. A staffing agency must ensure its e-reputation with its clients as well as with its candidates. Attracting canditaes and satisfying clients : the stake is twofold! In a highly competitive industry, the image conveyed by the agency on social networks then becomes an essential parameter. And a major focus in its marketing strategy.


The main medium of communications for small and medium-sized businesses has always been word of mouth. While this is still the case in 2021, social media has since extended the reach of this medium, offering a boundless platform as much as a lingering echo sounding board. To caricature, let us say that word of mouth on social media means being able to talk very easily to many people, but without being able to control the contradictory messages that this same crowd may hear. Being on social media means having your stall in a Sunday morning market in the center of a small village of several hundred thousand inhabitants.


Therefore, to stand out and be noticed, a temporary or permanent staffing agency must take care of its image. And not only accept that clients and candidates talk about her but try to influence the publication of positive reviews.


Did you know that 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses?


User comments on social networks and reviews in search engines are now among the main criteria for selecting a local business for consumers. BrightLocal’s annual survey of local shopping habits showed that in North America in 2020, “87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses when it comes to finding out about a local business. It is clear, in this context, a negative comment can outweigh several rave reviews.


The same BrightLocal study thus reveals that only one in two people would consider using a company with less than 4 stars in their general opinion. In general, and for several years, studies on the subject have shown that the impact of online comments on a company, in particular an SME, goes beyond the strict framework of reputation and weighs on the accounting of commerce.


What are the financial impacts of a bad e-reputation?


In 2015 already, the MOZ agency, specialized in SEO, published a study by Dan Hinckley on the effects of the results of a Google search. He bases his analysis on a simple fact: one in two Internet users does not go beyond the first page of search results. However, demonstrates the author: “More than half of the respondents (54.7%) admitted that online reviews are fairly, very, or absolutely an important part of their decision-making process.” when it comes to consuming.


The author emphasizes the importance of ensuring that the first page of a Google search for his business does not contain a negative review. “Businesses risk losing as many as 22% of customers when just one negative article is found by users considering buying their product”. This potential loss of customers can increase by up to 60% if three negative articles appear in a single case.


A few months later, another study, this time published by Harvard, looked at the impacts of online reputation on the workforce. The conclusion is still enough to give recruiters a cold sweat: “a bad reputation costs a company at least 10% more per hire”.


Is caring for your online reputation a profitable business strategy?


For a temporary or permanent staffing agency, taking its e-reputation into consideration is therefore not only an issue, but also a strategy, which in my opinion deserves to be integrated into the DNA of the corporate culture. Fortunately, there are practices to apply as well as many tools to effectively manage your digital reputation. I will introduce you to some of them in my next article in two weeks.


A bit of history: How did a video game lead companies to care for their reputation?


A concept still young in the history of commerce, digital reputation has, as we have seen, acquired such weight in marketing strategies that it is the subject of an abundant and diverse literature as well as studies that are, for some, particularly interesting.


The word “e-Reputation” appears for the first time in an article by two researchers Rosa Chun and Garry Davies, published in 2001, even if the concept itself had been cleared up a year earlier already, in a study conducted by Cynthia Mc Donald and Carlos Slawson Jr. published in March 2000.


In the same decade, E-bay, closely followed by Amazon, will set up a small revolution in the world of online commerce: the possibility for the buyer to rate and leave a review for the seller. The seller’s assessment will be public and may or may not work in their favor depending on their reputation. The concept of online review was born, and Google, a few years later, would only generalize it.


This practice, extended to all the businesses listed online, becomes, in ten years or so, a major lever in the reputation of companies and, therefore, a strategic factor that will lead to the development of professions dedicated to the e-reputation, in particular “Community Manager”, who acts as the company’s spokesperson on the Internet.



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