What is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management is a strategy that your business or brand uses to grow and sustain a good reputation online. It’s the same thing as reputation management in the sense of PR (public relations) plans to help change or react to social opinions of an individual, except this type is done online. Basically, reputation management is the process of managing the reputation of a particular entity.
Similar to the PR agent for a celebrity, the goal is to promote and publish as much positive public reaction as possible. Additionally, any negative press is intentionally kept down or sometimes confronted in a positive way to avoid conflict with the public. The same type of mindset is used when it comes to online reputation management (ORM).
If you really want to protect your brand online, learning about ORM in the realm of digital marketing is especially important.
What Does Online Reputation Management Do?
When it comes to online reputation management, it’s important to build a long term standing within the digital realm. For businesses, this is often done starting with online reviews such as Google, Angie’s List, Yelp, and other review sites. It can also be done via social media, which is an increasingly popular platform many turns to in attempts to grow social networks for positive ORM.
You might have noticed that some of the reviews on companies you’ve researched actively respond to negative reviews on their page. This is a type of ORM. Instead of ignoring– or worse, trying to delete– public low-star reviews or negative comments from unsatisfied customers, they will reply in a respectful manner to show they care about the unhappy customer’s experience.
This tactic honestly helps in the long run. It builds trust in the prospective clients instead of seeing a hateful review left alone with no reply or resolution. Responding to positive reviews in an honest, kind way can also let an interested audience know you’re available for the feedback.
Why Does it Matter?
Nowadays it’s said that over 80% of online shoppers conduct research before making a purchase from any given company. This isn’t only true for big brands like Apple, Home Depot, or Ikea– this also applies to smaller, local businesses. Plus, now that practically everyone uses smartphones, the initial company search begins with a mobile search result.
Companies who don’t spend time on their online reputation management actually risk losing potential customers before they even visit their website or ad! Someone knowing about the products and services your business offers is one thing, but seeing a 2-star rating on Yelp with over 250 reviews is kind of hopeless. Most people will scroll past that option and think, “why bother with that brand? They have crappy ratings.”
You Can’t Afford to NOT Have Online Rep Management
With social media such a focus on brand identity and managing your online reputation, your business really can’t afford to have poorly-run ORM. Some people might see the term online reputation management and automatically thing this means you can change your ratings or how people view your business. This isn’t necessarily true– and is exactly the reason you need to figure out how to manage it.
Types of Online Reviews that Matter for Reputation Management
There are several types of both good and bad online reviews that can affect your online reputation and resulting search terms.
When someone Googles your company, hopefully, your website or primary offers come up first. This depends on how good your Search Engine Optimization is on your website (more on SEO here!). Sometimes, if you either 1) don’t have a website yet or 2) don’t have a good SEO setup, your Yelp page or online reviews will show up on the first search engine results page.
Types of reviews that matter include:
- Customers who had a great experience and want to share their delight
- People who want to empower others to try a product or service
- Individuals sharing how they feel this business or service affects the community
- Reviews sharing facts, information, or trends
- Reviews of a negative or upsetting experience
No matter what type of review that gets posted to your online platform, it’s helpful to understand people’s specific type of review before responding. It’s easy to reply emotionally to negative feedback, but can you identify what the disappointed customer actually wanted that you failed to give in some way? That’s humility and will help maintain strong online reputation management.
Reputation management is both proactive and reactive.
The proactive side is crucial because you don’t want to have a totally nonexistent online reputation, only to find someone wrote a horrible web article about your company. Especially if this article becomes the first thing to show up on Google search result of your name. YIKES.
The reactive part is respectfully replying to bad reviews, getting feedback on what your audience considers to be negative content on your website, and responding to questions or confusion on your social media profiles’ comments section.
The more you engage on social media, the more awareness and trust your audience will have for you. And although it’s important to engage with your followers on social media, it’s just as important to engage with them well. For example, replying to criticism or confusion with an aggressive or sassy undertone can make you look like a jerk– and nobody wants to do business with a jerk.
Keys to Start Your Online Reputation Management
If you’re brand new to ORM there are a few steps to start focusing on.
Monitor your current status online. What are customers saying about you? Are there other websites or competitors in your industry talking about you? If so, what are they saying?
Are there social media influencers you partner with? What are they telling their followers about your brand? If they make suggestions or dislike something about your product or service, how can you improve it?
React to improve however you can. How can you better serve the customers who were no satisfied? What actions can you take to show your company has a positive impact? How can you improve today what someone will say about you tomorrow?
Now that you know some more details on ORM, what steps can you take to improve yours?
Don’t know where or how you can begin? Schedule a free strategy call with us today for a professional marketing review of your company’s current situation.