Take Active Steps to Manage Your Online Reputation with These Tips
Do you monitor and manage your online reputation? What steps do you take to ensure your reputation is protected on social media and in the search results?
If you think you can ignore customers’ comments feedback, praise, or criticisms, hoping that anything negative will just go away, you’re mistaken. This is where Online Reputation Management (ORM) becomes an indispensable tool for many businesses, big and small alike.
In times of social media domination, and the rise in popularity of user-generated review sites and blogs monitoring and managing your online reputation has become more imperative than ever before.
What is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?
Quite simply, ORM is a set of tactics and strategies expertly put into practice across a number of different communication channels, as a way of influencing a company or individual’s reputation online.
Nowadays, with the growth spurt of social media, power has shifted away from businesses and more toward consumers when it comes to voicing a company’s marketing message. Whereas companies used to be able to carefully create their message and then promote it using traditional advertising methods such as displaying on billboards, radio and TV spots, social media has today to a great extent shifted that power to consumers. Consequently, it has become far more difficult for brands to manage their online reputation as the sheer number of voices involved, and the diffuse nature of comments, complaints and negative feedback make damage control much more difficult.
How to overcome this hurdle? Firstly, knowing and comprehending what is being said about your brand, assessing your current online status and recognizing how customers, influencers and competitors perceive your brand online, is pivotal to the process.
To do this, you’ll need to identify and monitor keywords and hashtags related to your brand, products, employees and competitors to monitor conversations that are taking place on social networking sites.
There are a number of tools you can use to monitor these keywords, which allow you to search various social networks for keywords and hashtags related to your business; you can even set up alerts so that you’re notified when your brand is mentioned. Google Alerts is another great, free tool for receiving regular notifications of new brand and keyword mentions right in your inbox.
Next would be carefully devising a plan which involves active engagement with your online community. That means being receptive to both positive and negative feedback, responding in a timely and respectful manner to your customers’ comments, questions and criticism. Make sure you show that you care about their opinions and actively listening to their concerns and it’s not just another bot replying to a sensitive comment.
Respond quickly, as negative reviews or comments, particularly when left unchecked, can spread virally on social media. For instance, a particularly scandalous comment on your social media page may be seen by thousands of people within the first couple hours. Therefore, responding quickly is the best way to minimize the damage caused by these comments, as it helps to ensure that your point of view is also seen by anyone reading the original review. If the situation worsens, take it offline as quickly as possible and deal with the issue one-on-one.
Reputation Management and SEO
SEO is another tool devised to help brands manage negative damaging content by influencing your ranking on a search engine. To accomplish this, you can maximize your social media presence. By that, I mean, social media profiles such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram typically rank well for branded search queries. If you want to push a negative search result off Google’s first page search results, ensure your company has social media profiles setup at as many social media channels as possible, and encourage Google to rank them highly in search results by linking to them from your website, filling them out thoroughly with your company information, and posting regularly with good quality content. Publishing high quality content will give you better chances at ranking high on search queries, whilst also suppressing the negative damaging content. Paid content such as sponsored ads on social networks or guesting on a influencing blog can also be helpful in outranking negative articles.
Ultimately, ORM involves a lot of commitment and expertise. However investing time and effort into it could potentially enhance your sales, revenue performance as well as building a positive brand image for the public, which in the long run is most profitable.