Online Reputation Management: How to Protect and Maintain a Good Reputation in the Digital Space
Online reputation management (ORM) is the process of monitoring and positively influencing the reputation of a company or organization on the Internet.
This fast-growing practice is always relevant for companies when negative reports about it accumulate on the Internet. These can cause lasting damage to the company’s reputation, for instance in the form of lost sales. It can also help restore a company’s good reputation in the event of crisis.
Influence of search engines
Most people with access to Internet, use it in order to obtain information about certain companies and its products/services. On one hand, consumers make use of search engines such as Google, to search for products.
If, for instance, someone searches for something and all they find online about it is positive, obviously they’re going to want to get in on the act. On the other hand, if it’s all just negative chatter, they will go elsewhere to find what they are looking for. Whatever people may find about your brand online will significantly impact your business performance as well as sales. It is therefore crucial to take control over what people find about your brand in the first place.
Influence of social media
Social media has become an equally important source of information for brands alongside search engines. Users orientate themselves strongly on opinions and evaluations of other users about companies and products. They demonstrably determine whether a positive or negative image prevails — and thus shape buying behaviour.
With the growth of social media, it has become imperative that all companies and organizations have an active online presence on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Xing or LinkedIn. Today’s generation posts every snippet of their daily lives for the world to see, so why do you think your brand won’t be talked about?
You should constantly monitor social media — it is crucial to know how and what is being said about you and your products / services. Moreover, social media monitoring helps you identify critical voices and contributions early on and in turn it will help you control the mood.
How to manage your brand online
There are various success-driven strategies and tools available that can help improve your online reputation management. In short, the basic steps that go into managing your online reputation are as follows:
- Analyse — assess your current online reputation as well as your weaknesses, and then collect meaningful key performance indicators (KPIs) on the actual status
- Plan — based on the results of the analysis, create a catalogue of measures with specific recommendations for each action and KPIs to optimize your reputation in search engines and social media.
- Implement — employ all relevant and appropriate measures on all platforms that need to be improved and optimized.
- Monitor and adjust — monitor the results of your implemented measures and look for further potential for optimization.
The measures for reputation management must be taken in each case in accordance with the respective situation. The aim is to manipulate public sentiment so that the company is once again seen in a positive light. The following measures, for example, can be considered:
- Spreading positive content (e.g. blog posts, posts in social networks, press releases, ratings, forum entries)
- Improve the ranking of positive content by employing search engine optimization (SEO)
- Managing SERPs by linking a brand’s website to other reputable websites, improving the tagging and search engine optimization of company-published materials
- Collecting positive evaluations from satisfied customers as a counterbalance to negative voices
- Creating content that reinforces your brand message in a positive light
- Improving the customer experience