If you want to improve your reputation in digital media, online reputation management is the term you’re looking for. Nowadays, the Internet presence is more important than ever before. What are the most important questions about online reputation management, and how to answer them? Read below.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Online Reputation Management (ORM) refers to the continuous monitoring and strategic influencing of reputation in the digital sphere. Online Reputation Management aims to positively influence the reputation of a person, a company, a brand and its products/services. It is a long-term process of monitoring and taking appropriate action in order to cultivate and maintain a positive image of your company.
How do customers talk about your company on the Internet? What information does a user find about the brand? Or even about its CEO? What does a potential business partner see first when searching for you on social networks? Questions like these bring online reputation management into play.
Basically, you try to put out as much positive information about yourself on the web as possible whilst drowning the negative content down the search engine rankings. Negative entries can rarely be avoided completely. How one deals with criticism, however, also affects one’s reputation, and skilled communicators can greatly benefit from this situation.
How does ORM work?
It cannot be stressed enough — Online Reputation Management is a long-term process. Creating an appealing website once is only the first step in the right direction. To optimize your public web presence, you need to work on it continuously — good things take time.
The first step is to establish a strategy. Should the brand look casual and more approachable or traditional and professional? Which target group(s) should be addressed?
The next step would be observing what others are spreading about you on the Internet — this is also called “monitoring”. Monitoring is not only important at the beginning, but should be continually practiced. After all, you can only react to something if you know it is happening. Social listening should be added here as well. Make sure to use social listening tools available online to effectively listen and react accordingly when people mention your brand on social media platforms.
Then it’s time to take active steps to build and maintain a good reputation. This can be, for example, networking on LinkedIn or social media posts, posting relevant and engaging content, writing high-quality articles for relevant or industry-specific magazines. Likewise, you can try to increase your brand’s visibility on search engines and to rank high in search results with the help of the classic search engine optimization (SEO).
One advantage of the Internet is direct interaction. In contrast to traditional advertising such as PR via radio or TV, there is usually no third party standing between the customer and the company. When taking action in terms of ORM, you can take advantage of this and respond directly to reviews in online portals or answer questions about your products and address your customers’ concerns.
In the best case, the insights gained from this exchange can not only improve the reputation, but also the overall product and customer experience. Lastly, methods commonly used in advertising and PR can be used to analyze and evaluate the actions taken. This way you can see if what you are doing is effective.
What role does ORM play in online marketing?
Online reputation management and online marketing are closely interlinked, seeing as successful campaigns can improve your reputation enormously. Ideally, they lead to follow-up communications — personal recommendations are still the most important factor for many people when choosing a provider. On the other hand, online marketing problems can damage your reputation. Watch how individual actions affect your overall reputation and stay true to your communications strategy.
For instance, if you present yourself as a progressive company in a promotional video, but then publish a post on social media about the traditional manufacturing of your products, it may come across as inconsistent.
Of course, trying to cover something up can backfire. To avoid the Streisand effect, make sure you have a good communication strategy in place. With carefully curated social media accounts, SEO, reviews, testimonials and the like, you’ll attract attention in the long term — in a positive sense, naturally.
Basically, with ORM, companies, but also individuals, get the opportunity to influence their own reputation. It is a long-term process that consists primarily of two things — monitoring and action. In other words, observing and reacting.