Understanding and Managing Your Online Reputation
Online Reputation Management (ORM) refers, in short, to the crafting of the best possible online image for your brand, which involves the use of various tools and techniques to ensure that positive news and reviews are the first things consumers see when they search for your business online.
Meanwhile — for businesses that have negative information about them online — ORM is used to push undesirable stories and reviews off the first few pages of search results.
On the other hand — for businesses with a positive online image — online reputation management techniques are employed to monitor the online community in order to ensure that the reputation stays positive, and that when you come across anything negative, you can respond immediately.
Who needs Online Reputation Management?
Basically, anyone who owns a business — be it small or large. Whether your online reputation is good, bad, or non-existent, chances are, your business can benefit greatly from managing its reputation on the internet. As social media platforms are gaining more and more importance, every entrepreneur should have a proactive approach to monitoring their online public reputation.
Why do you need it?
Simply because your customers share their experiences on various social media platforms — be it blog posts, product reviews, a mention on social channels etc. — and your potential customers use those reviews to decide whether they want to use your services or purchase your products. 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and most of the consumers say that online reviews heavily influence their purchasing decisions.
Businesses with negative reputations can efficiently employ ORM tools and techniques to help repair their image, which involves creating new, positive content that pushes negative articles farther down in search results.
Meanwhile, companies that already have a positive online reputation can benefit from maintenance strategies like review management and monitoring.
What are some online reputation management strategies?
A major part of ORM involves suppressing negative search results, whilst highlighting positive ones. Some tactics used by companies include the following:
- Search engine optimization: improving the tagging and search engine optimization of company-published materials — make sure your content has the right keywords, metadata and headlines to give it the best chance of being seen when people search for your business;
- Content creation: user-generated content, such as blog posts, wiki sites, press releases and business profiles;
- Social media management: setting up profiles on all social media platforms relevant to your business; when it comes to social media accounts, it’s important to dedicate the resources to stay active on them by engaging in conversations and publishing fresh content on a regular basis;
- Third-party website monitoring: monitoring other sites to see if people are talking about your business. Potential customers as well as other companies look at review sites as well as any other websites or blogs where your business is being discussed. This ensures that you always know when people are talking about your business online and what people are saying;
- Customer engagement: whilst sharing content or commenting on other people’s posts, be consistent and maintain a professional and positive profile; respond in a timely manner to all comments/reviews — positive or negative.
What do you gain from ORM?
Simple: credibility, trust, profit and an overall positive social standing.
Positive links, comments and high visibility online as well as being transparent about your business makes you credible in the eyes of the online community, and people trust a company, brand or person with a good reputation. This will eventually translate into increased sales and an overall better business performance — companies with higher star-ratings, reviews and positive content and PR get more business.