Reputation online is a big concern today. We live in an age where other people are constantly watching us, and businesses have become more competitive to gain customers.
It is very important that you do not let any inaccuracies about yourself affect your business in this environment. Not to forget, what people say and write about you and your company will affect your sales.
So it would be best if you kept an eye on what people are saying about you online through tools like Google Alerts, use devices that protect your business or just monitor what others who do not like you say to take necessary action. This form of marketing is called “online reputation management.”
How does Online Reputation Management Work?
Online Reputation Management or ORM refers to practices taken by different individuals and businesses to monitor the information available about them on the internet and ensure that it aligns with their brand identity. In an age where anything can go viral within minutes online, it is important that you monitor what people are saying or writing about you on the internet. Without a proper strategy to check and ensure this information does not affect your business negatively, a simple mistake can cost your company thousands of users and customers overnight.
ORM strategies typically involve practices such as building a positive web presence for individuals and businesses on different social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Another common practice is using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques on all major search engines like Google or Yahoo! to make sure that all your online content comes up on top in the searches when anyone looks up any detail about you or your business on these channels.
Another common practice is to use negative keywords in your online advertisements, which can prevent anyone looking up any detail about you from coming across paid ads for your competitors. This is a great way to ensure that no competitor of yours gets the upper hand when it comes to gaining customers.
Lastly, another very important aspect of ORM practices is ensuring that all content published about you or your business has only positive information and nothing derogatory or controversial. This includes making sure that all people associated with your brand identity are also actively publishing material on blogs and social media pages that align with your company’s values and promote positivity so that there is always an active effort towards promoting your brand PR value.
As negativity spreads faster than positivity, this strategy ensures that anything negative being said about you does not gain traction on the internet. Now, one of the things that I discovered when working as a part time online reputation manager is that this work can sometimes get overwhelming, most specifically if you are still a student or just furthering your studies while managing the business.
A simple tweak that turned out to be massive for me was getting someone who could do my assignment. You may also want to try this hack as it allows you some space to focus on other aspects that equally matter to you.
Benefits of using ORM – why it’s needed
If you do not use ORM techniques to make sure that your business is doing well online, there are chances of you losing customers and market share very quickly. Here are some reasons why you need to be aware of what’s being said on the internet about you or your business:
- Individuals who work for your brand can speak against it: Sometimes, individual employees can post against your brand on social media or give out negative reviews on product pages. Competitors can use these to create market confusion about your products and services.
- Reviews of everyone associated with you online may affect how customers think of your business: When everyone who is associated with your company gives positive reviews of you, it helps create a positive image for your business among consumers. If there are only bad reviews available about you, you will hardly find someone who wants to buy anything from your company even if they were looking forward to doing so.
- Anything that’s said about you or your business becomes public knowledge: The internet has completely changed the rules of information exchange. If anyone says anything about you online, it will be impossible from then onwards to control where that information goes and how many people have access to it. It can even affect future job prospects for employees associated with your company if any negative information is posted about them on the internet.
- Your competitors can speak against you to gain more customers for themselves: There are many cases where one company speaking poorly about another is taken as an aggressive business tactic, especially if the companies are in the same sector. If your competitors are saying bad things about you or giving out false information to create misconceptions among consumers, it can be challenging to convince them that they were wrong.
- People on the internet might target or troll different individuals associated with your company or business: This is another instance of information flow on the internet that you cannot control. It can affect people who had no part in any business decisions or had anything to do with creating the company’s value at all, but just because someone said something bad about them online, your brand would be targeted too.
How to get Started with ORM
Getting started with Online Reputation Management may not be easy, but it is something that must be done if you want your business to succeed. Here are some steps that will help you get started with ORM:
- Have a social media policy in place: You need to have clearly defined rules for employees on social media sites so that they know what is allowed and what isn’t when it comes to talking about the company online. This way, you can address any false information or accusations made by your employees quickly since the rules are already laid out.
- Do not delete negative comments on websites without contacting website administrators first: It may seem like a good idea at times to remove harmful content from the internet about yourself, but this does more harm than good. The author of that piece of content might just do more research on you and create an even bigger problem for your company. Also, this will leave the consumers who read that content with a bad taste in their mouth about your brand. There are several ways of dealing with negative comments about your business online like empathizing with the poster or opting for a few five-star ratings to dilute it. Just try to find an option that won’t paint your business in a bad image.
- You can also hire specialized ORM brokers: There are many professional companies that take up such kinds of assignments as well. These companies have professionals working full time to find out what is being said about you online and make necessary changes to highlight positive information instead.
- Try using press releases: If you want to influence what people talk about regarding your business, then try sending out press releases and encouraging news outlets to publish them. This way, you can manage how your brand is seen by the general public and help create a favorable image for your company.
The Bottom Line
Managing your reputation online is very important for any large or small company. You should create clear guidelines for your employees so that they don’t derail your brand’s image by posting information about it online without following the rules. Also, hiring professional services can help you manage what people are saying about you on the internet and putting your best foot forward to create a positive reputation for your company.