Reputation

Online Reputation Management

The easiest thing to do nowadays is to say something. True or not, you can put it out there for the world to see, read, and believe. This is a double-edged knife. It can be good. Who rejects praise, right?

On the other hand, once somebody puts something negative out there to the world, it is there and could potentially be harmful. Whether it is true or accurate does not even matter.

If you are unable to handle the online information and feedback about your business and your products and services, one negative post, even just one word could disrupt your business and could potentially have long term effects.

Online Reputation Management (ORM) pertains to strategies that influence the public’s perception or image of a personality, organization, business, and products and services. This is achieved by influencing online information about the subject.

It also includes the monitoring of the online reputation of the subject.

Online reputation managers address content that may be potentially damaging to the subject.

Customer feedback and other online content, both positive and negative are used to boost a positive image, solve problems, and resolve conflict.

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Online Reputation Management and Your Business

For businesses, ORM along with social media marketing and on-ground marketing strategies bridge the business to the public.

Businesses might think that the internet, specifically, social media only exists to help and boost them. False. The public, customers or even non-customers could easily damage the reputation of any business, its products, and services. Sometimes, even just one word could cause irreparable damage if not managed properly.

Needless to say, every business should have a sound online reputation management plan.

Benefits

These are countless benefits to actively employing online reputation management strategies.

Increase Brand Trust

The first of these benefits is an increase in brand trust. With proper social media marketing, a brand can gain brand awareness. This can easily be converted to sales and favorable actions that benefit the brand’s profits. However, there is a need for proper ORM to boost this awareness and give the audience a positive image of the brand, whether they have already tried it or not.

Increase Profitability with ORM

With better brand trust, increased loyalty, and improved customer satisfaction, businesses will increase profitability. And that is never a bad thing. ORM may also contribute to your team’s positive feelings towards your business, also contributing to better workflow and better productivity.
All in all, ORM can improve all aspects of the business.

Encourage Brand Loyalty

Another benefit of proper online reputation management is appealing to the sentiments of current customers and reinforcing their positive feelings towards the brand, its products, and services.
This will encourage the customers to be loyal to the brand and possibly repurchase time and time.

Improve Customer Satisfaction

Managing the subject’s image is important to the brand’s success. Also important is taking in all feedback and using it to improve the subject. Ultimately, it will improve the brand, the products and services, and even business flow. Consequently, customer satisfaction will improve.

Conflict Resolution

Negative feedback, whether reliable or not, is inevitable. No business is perfect. So do expect negative or damaging feedback. That is what ORM is for. Manage it properly and it can become a productive part of your business.

Online Reputation Management 101

According to studies, as much as 90% of consumers state that online reviews have an impact on their purchasing decisions. And as much as 85% trust online reviews by strangers as much as they trust recommendations and reviews by people they know.

There are 4 channels through which businesses can manage their online reputation: Paid, Earned, Social, and Owned. Or the so-called PESO.

  • Paid Media refers to marketing efforts on external websites and networks that require payment. Some of the most popular paid media channels are PPC advertising with Google AdWords, Facebook ads, and sponsored posts on relevant blogs. Paid media may seem superficial and unnecessary but there are benefits to it when done expertly. It can extend your reach beyond your current audience and attract new customers.
  • Earned Media pertains to published coverage on external websites and networks that you did not pay for. It is “earned” because you earn it by providing great content either by attractive media campaigns, interesting talking points, and of course, outstanding products and services.
  • Social Media includes posts, pages, and profiles that talk about your brand, products, and services. The important thing about social media is to employ well-planned sound social media strategies. Generally, none is better than a poorly conceived or inactive social media presence.
  • Finally, Owned Properties are websites and blogs that your business owns, manages, and fully owns. Manage them well. Make sure each property is well-branded. These four channels are your venues through which you can get invaluable media mileage to push forward your online reputation. Carefully plan your strategy for each one. Make sure all your ORM strategies for each channel work well with each other. You must always be consistent and on brand.

Step by Step

Now that you know the important things about Online Reputation Management and you now have an appreciation of the benefits it can give to your business. How then do you proceed?

Here is a step-by-step guide you may follow.

Before you dive into managing your reputation, you must first know what is your online reputation. And the easiest way to know is by searching. Yes, go to Google and search. But it is not just as easy as searching for your brand name. More than just searching for your brand, you must also search for the following:

  • specific products and services,
  • industry keywords,
  • local keywords,
  • product categories, and
  • direct and indirect competitors.

It is imperative that you search carefully for all these and read all that you can. Create an audit sheet for better tracking.

Next, take all the negatives. Filter what is truthful and verifiable. And fix what can be fixed. There are generally, two ways to fix negative content. First, reach out to creators or reviewers who published notable negative content. Work with them on ways you can improve their perception or experience of your brand.

Second, if the negative feedback is valid, work with your team to improve your products and services. Make sure to address legitimate concerns. Never miss the opportunity to improve your business. In the end, it will make your reputation management easier.

Next, push positive content to the top. Support customers, reviewers, content creators, influencers, and other community stakeholders who support you. Work and collaborate with them and encourage them to continue pushing positive reviews for your brand.

About Reviews

Reviews can make or break your brand. Everybody knows that. As has been mentioned, more than 90% of consumers depend on reviews to influence their buying. Reviews are important in online reputation management.

Positive vs Negative

While it may seem intuitive to push aside negative reviews and simply push positives to the top, that might prove to be counterproductive. If one of your business goals is to consistently produce and deliver good quality products and services, you must value negative or poor reviews, as much as positive reviews.

Negative reviews provide much-needed insight into how you can improve your products and do better. It can also give invaluable information that could give product development and marketing strategies.

Also important to online reputation management is creation. Create content that your audience and customers can like, share, and comment on. Craft press releases. Provide information that could push your agenda forward. Give your audience a reason to post positively about you. Whether it be images posted on social media, industry news in your blog, a compilation of reviews by users, make sure that there is always something there that will contribute to your positive reputation and keep you on top of mind for buyers.

Crucial to successful online reputation management is monitoring. Always be in the know about what is said about your brand. The internet never sleeps and there are infinite ways that people can say something about your brand. Make sure you are always listening, reading, and engaging.

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Recommended Tools

To achieve success in ORM, your business must use tools to make the process more productive.

First, we recommend Google Alerts. Google is the world’s largest and most used search engine. What most people do not know is you can use their engine to monitor content about your business. Just go to google.com/alerts and set up alerts so you will be informed every time content is published about your business and your chosen keywords.

Next, do not miss the chance to monitor amplify positive content about your brand. Use IFTTT. Set up alerts so you will know when your brand is talked about. You can also set up to automate reposting content about your brand.

Reputology allows you to track online reviews about your business. It is highly recommended for ease of use and inclusion of industry-specific review sites. Plus, you can easily integrate it with Hootsuite for easier social media management.

Finally, use Brandwatch. It is one of the most highly regarded social listening and analytics tools for businesses. You can do a demographic analysis of the users and personalities talking about your brand. Plus, it includes all the most used social media platforms.

There are, of course, many other tools, sites, and apps you can use to manage your online reputation. But these four are the ones that are highly recommended and most widely used.

Best Practices

Yes, there is more to Online Reputation Management than just keeping tabs on reviews. Like social media management, everything can become overwhelming. But it can be easier if you.

  • Set goals. Know your business goals. Write down your social media marketing goals. And do the same for your online reputation. It is important to know from the start what image and reputation you want to have. Be clear on how your audience should see and perceive you.
  • Be transparent. Online reputation management may seem like cherry-picking the positives and creating smoke and mirrors in order to have the best possible reputation. Wrong. Transparency and honesty are crucial for successful and consistent online reputation management.
  • Work with your community. As mentioned, you should know your audience and the people who publish content, reviews, and other online information about your brand. More than knowing who they are, engage with them. Reply to reviews. Re-post and promote their content. Reply and engage. Collaborate.
  • Treat every crisis as urgent. Do not wait for the next day. Never act or respond hastily. But never too slow in responding. One minor negative feedback can easily snowball and go viral. Respond and manage it as soon as possible.
  • Pay the price. Or pay the price. If you want to make sure that your online reputation is monitored and managed adequately, invest in the proper tools. Hire the right people. Or else, it can become tedious, frustrating, and counterproductive.
  • Never forget your business. Do not get caught up in project an image and managing your online reputation. This is just part of your business. ORM is more effective and productive when it is done in sync with your business flow and other marketing strategies. ORM usually works in tandem with SMM. Make sure your online reputation management strategies are in harmony with your social media management strategies. And that these two have goals aligned with your brand philosophy. At the end of the day, when you do your business well, your online reputation will be easier to manage.

Trust the Experts

As always, it is best to have experts handle the job. Online reputation management is not simply searching and reading reviews. By now, you know how much work it requires to have a consistently positive online reputation.

More than just reading, it requires meticulous social listening. Beyond replying, it needs meaningful engagement. And better than just basic online reputation management, it goes hand in hand with a well-planned and expertly executed social media marketing plan. And yes, all these are on 24/7.

The internet never sleeps and neither must your team. It will be exhausting. But it need not be.

If you want properly managed online reputation that will give your business the maximum possible benefits, work with experts.

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