Nowadays, Online Reputation Management has become an essential part of any business. The internet, and more specifically what people say and find about you online, is now perhaps the biggest influence on your business or brand , and its subsequent success. This applies to businesses of any size — small or big — and in all sectors around the world.
When people look for your brand on search engines, everything they see in the search results influences their perception of you. As such, their perception makes up your online reputation.
For reference, if someone searches for something and all the online chatter 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. What people think of your brand affects everything about it. People won’t engage with your company if they don’t trust or believe in your brand’s message.
This is where managing your online reputation comes into play.
Online Reputation Management, often shortened as ORM, has slowly turned into an indispensable tool for any business or brand, and it refers to managing a brand’s reputation on the internet. In other words, it aims to shape public perception of your brand by influencing online information and increasing the visibility of positive opinions.
But why is it important? Because most consumers search online for what people say about a brand before making any purchasing decisions regarding a certain brand.
90% of people don’t go further than the first page of search engines, and more often than not, what they find on the first page of search results — be it online reviews, blog posts, customer experiences, third-party mentions etc. — is enough for them to form an opinion or impression about your brand. As such, managing content that appears on SERPs (search engine result pages) is essential.
On the other hand, highly visible positive search results on the first page, influence perception, reputation, consumer behaviour as well as business performance and eventual success.
Ranking high on search engines is also possible by linking a brand’s website to other reputable websites, improving the tagging and search engine optimization of company-published materials; publishing original, positive websites and social media profiles; getting mentions of the business or individual on third-party sites that rank highly on search engines.
A positive image of a brand will create credibility, meaning that positive comments, reviews, and high visibility online makes you credible in the eyes of the online community. Building a credible brand goes hand in hand with building trust: people trust a company with a good and positive reputation. If you have these two things down, you will also have a loyal customer pool, which will lead to your business generating more profit. People trust companies with higher star-ratings, reviews and positive content and will most definitely translate into repetitive purchases from your brand.
It’s never too late to take control and start managing your reputation. Taking control of your online presence is the best course action for your business in this digital era, and it will enable you to present the best possible image of your business/brand to the online community.