Online Reputation Management (ORM) means taking control of your online representation. Its tools and strategies ensure that people find the right materials when they search for you on the Internet. When implemented well, online reputation management creates positive representation online, counteracts misleading content, and allows you to look your best.
Why should you care about your online reputation?
When a customer is interested in a product or service, it is almost a matter of course that they search the Internet for testimonials from other customers. Of course, they do not spend days or even weeks systematically evaluating all the sources they can find. Instead, they enter suitable search terms in Google or another search engine and briefly look at the first hits displayed. Your job is to make sure that the customer does not get a bad impression of your company or your products. This can easily happen! Because 99 satisfied customers usually see no reason to express their satisfaction on the web — but the one dissatisfied customer, however, does!
If someone writes something negative about you online, it can seriously damage you in the long run. This is especially true if you don’t know it. As such, it’s important to keep track of what people are saying about you online, and then take steps to correct inaccuracies.
What should you know about online reputation management?
Observe and react! Your first task is to detect negative content on the web. This is not a one-time task, but requires constant monitoring.
Popularity trumps facts. No algorithm can tell if information accurately reflects you or not, so popularity becomes the most important measuring stick. That’s why embarrassing party photos, frivolous lawsuits that were dismissed years ago, and other types of irrelevant, but intriguing “clickbait content,” often dominate online reputations.
Don’t get involved with critics. If someone writes something unpleasant about you, don’t write back, don’t post a comment, and don’t reference the offending item in online media or the like. All this does is draw more attention to the problem you don’t want to see. There is also the risk that truly malicious people will take your response disapprovingly and turn the words against you. Why are you giving them extra ammunition? It’s better to combat their taunts with radio silence.
Create positive content, or set the record straight. A friendly correction of the accusations made is often the better choice. You can only promote the content that actually factually exist. This means that you need a solid base of positive and true content to improve your online reputation. You can take this into your own hands to some extent — for example, by starting a company blog, or a YouTube channel.
Use social media and the internet smartly
Not on Twitter? Sign up. Are you active on LinkedIn? Make sure your resume is up to date. Social media sites often rank well in search results and you control the content they display, so it can make a big difference to your online reputation.
Protect your privacy. Keep track of personal information about you posted online. Disable services that sell your personal information and remove your data from people search sites. This makes it less likely that sensitive personal data can be used to abuse your online reputation.
A really effective way to push negative sites down is to find strong domains with authority that allow user-created content. Create listings in strong and good business directories, even if the listings cost something. Find out which business directories are often found on Google. Interesting press releases that contain your keywords in the headline can be posted on suitable press portals that will help boost your image.
Do not wait until the negative case has occurred, but position yourself, your company and products positively on the web. Make sure that satisfied customers express themselves positively, establish yourself and your company as an expert in your industry. Maintain your social media profiles and take care of good publications about your company. This will give you more options to react in the worst case.