What Is A Successful Online Reputation Management Strategy?

Never before have so many customers read the online reviews of a product before buying it as they do today. The evaluations on the Internet are increasingly serving as an aid in the decision-making process, because it is difficult to filter out the best from the mass of offers.

But it is also difficult to convince customers without a meaningful online reputation to buy. While many large companies have already integrated online reputation management, smaller companies often do not see the need to actively address this issue. This is a big mistake for companies that want to remain competitive and also want to increase their sales.

What is ORM?

Online reputation is the term used to describe the reputation of a company or product on the Internet. This refers in particular to the perception of the company in the social media and on rating portals. Online reputation management (ORM) deals with this very reputation. Here, evaluations and statements related to the company and its products are researched, analyzed and used. Positive comments about the company, its services and products should be shared publicly, for example. It also makes sense to thank people for this positive feedback and thus enter into a direct exchange with potential customers. This shows interest and creates trust.

However, dealing with negative statements is even more important. These should be reacted to with understanding and a suggestion should be made to solve the problem, for example, by a telephone call. In this way you signal concessions and also take the conversation out of the public discussion.

Do not shy away from asking your customers for ratings. A problem that particularly applies to small and medium-sized companies is not negative reviews, but few or no reviews at all. This can tempt customers to jump to hasty conclusions. They may quickly get the impression that the company without any rating is still new on the market, has no expertise or sells enough products. Often a further click is then enough — and the customer prefers the competition.

Monitoring the online reputation

An important basis for controlling online reputation is the establishment of so-called alerts. For example, Google Alert can be used to set up an alert for the name of a company. If this term is searched for and used, you will be informed by e-mail. The comment can be viewed and checked and the appropriate response can be implemented. You have thus fulfilled the basics of online reputation management.

However, alarm systems are not sufficient to professionally operate online reputation management in companies. This is where online monitoring tools can help. They analyse statements from a variety of platforms and not only provide information about mentions of your company. They can also provide information about your competitors, the market or even your customers in general.

You can choose between free tools as well as paid versions in combination with professional consultants. Agencies usually work with tools that have significantly more functions, provide you with recommendations on how to deal with the comments that come up, and support the company in all questions of online reputation management.

Development of a convincing online reputation

In developing a strong and positive online reputation, it is essential to actively manage the company profile on different directories. These include search engines, rating portals, the yellow pages and social media such as LinkedIn. By managing these entries yourself, you can present yourself the way you want to be seen by your customers. In addition, you increase your reach.

As already mentioned, many aspects of online reputation are relevant. Not only the content of the ratings, but also their number, plays a major role. If similar products from different manufacturers are on the market, aspects such as quality, reliability and respectability are evaluated and analyzed on the basis of online comments — a company without successful online reputation management will quickly lose out. Therefore, motivate your satisfied customers to give reviews. Of course you cannot and should not tell your customers what they write. And if a negative evaluation is published, react helpful and courteous. This feedback signals to the customer that — should he or she not be satisfied with your product or service — there are contact persons in your company who will be happy to help if problems arise.

See the digital world as an opportunity to increase your sales and use this additional communication channel to win new customers, build a long-term relationship with them and even win back former customers!

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