There are a lot of misconceptions about online reputation management (ORM). Some people think it’s just social media monitoring, while others believe it is associated with PR, however others have no idea how significantly it could impact business and sales when done right or wrong for that matter.
All businesses need to keep track of their online reputation. It only takes a couple of hours for a bad customer experience/review to go viral and impact your brand online. It’s even worse if you don’t know it is happening and you’re not on top of the situation. If your brand is active on social media, it’s likely you’ve had to deal with ORM. Most consumers will hesitate to purchase products or services from a business that has negative online reviews, so the impact of what your consumers are saying about you online couldn’t be more important.
To prevent your business from suffering huge losses as your reputation takes a hit, you should follow a well- executed plan, which involves social media strategies and tools that will help you build and maintain your brand in a positive light.
1. Assess your current brand situation
Find out what consumers as well as competitors say about your brand online. Monitor your brand’s presence on various online platforms such as social media, search engines or review websites. There are various digital tools you can utilize in order to know when someone posts something regarding your brand online.
2. Start being active in social engagement with your audience
Obviously, just monitoring your brand’s online presence is not going to be enough. To keep your audience interested and engaging, create high quality content and post regularly: user generated content is a must. Encourage your followers to engage with your content and establish a close communication channel with them.
3. Respond to positive and negative feedback
Respond to questions, comments and positive as well as negative feedback in a timely manner. Don’t be afraid to respond to negative comments. Depending on your reaction, they either make you or break you. Negative comments/reviews can often provide your business with crucial information regarding to where your business is going wrong. In addition to that, it is also a great opportunity to speak to those who have posted negative feedback and ask them why and eventually offer solutions or help.
Positive comments build up your reputation just as much as the negative ones. Encouraging and highlighting positive feedback will definitely boost your brand. In both instances, personally replying to comments and reviews shows each customer that you care and are actively listening to their concerns and opinions.
4. Make use of owned/paid content/SEO to increase your online presence
What can boost up your search engine rankings more than owning a few websites or blogs that help promote your brand in a positive way? Not only do you provide additional platforms to interact with your customers, but also extensive keyword research and high-quality content increase your chances to push undesirable content further down on the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Creating your own media such as blogs or websites that promote your brand in a positive manner will improve your online reputation. Paid media is another digital marketing tool that can boost your online performance. That involves display ads on social media, and sponsored posts on influencing blogs. Paid media extends your reach and drives more traffic to your websites by building new relationships with partners and customers.
5. Ensure you maintain professionalism at all times
Last, but not least ORM is something that your business needs to be aware of at all times, not just when operating online. Make sure your business operates in a professional manner at all times, treating customers with respect offline will further encourage positivity online.
Online reputation management requires two investments: time and money. Thus, ORM, when done right, can help enhance your brand’s reputation online and it can significantly impact your sales and business revenue. Your online reputation doesn’t need to be left up to chance. Proactive commitment to managing your online reputation is going to cost you, either money or time — if you want to be perceived well by the public, but it will also save you some money in the long run if the nearly-inevitable occurs.