Every business wants to make a good impression online, but having a fantastic website or standout social media presence simply isn’t enough.
In today’s modern world, everybody has thoughts and opinions on almost everything, and customers are clever when it comes to knowing whether a brand is genuine, or when they are hiding behind a mask.
I know all too well that if your business is slammed by a negative review or unwanted media attention, it can feel like all is falling apart.
However, changing the perception of your brand is possible, especially if you handle problems before they occur or have safeguards around your business to limit the damage. On the other hand that does not mean to say managing your reputation is a one-off job, but investing time in it sooner rather than later can prevent a lot of future headaches.
What Is Online Reputation Management
The main goal of online reputation management (also known as ORM), is to create a positive perception of your company digitally.
Every activity a brand partakes in online should be closely monitored and managed to influence the opinions of existing and potential customers, making the business appear trusted overall.
What Is The Connection Between Online Reputation Management and SEO?
We’re all aware of the pattern of customers turning to search engines for research before deciding which products or services to invest in.
With this in mind, you must ensure that when your brand is googled, the most positive results are what rank first. This is an essential step in having a great ORM strategy.
Those top searches will heavily influence how users think about and interact with your brand.
You must take ownership in controlling those results and the instant message relayed to your audience.
Online reputation management is a multi-channel approach to prevent, and, in some cases resolve any issues that could damage your reputation.
What Factors Contribute to ORM?
Businesses will choose to use a different mixture of marketing tools to maintain their online reputation, but the most common factors include the following:
Owned Media – employee and customer case studies, user-generated content, online reviews, webinars and brand-created content.
Paid Media – Sponsored social ads, lead generation ads, affiliate marketing, and sponsored content.
Earned Media – influencer marketing, PR and media relations.
Shared Media – organic social media posts, co-branding campaigns and services and partnerships within the community.
Why Is Online Reputation Management So Important?
Reputation management should be a part of any business strategy from the start when wanting to build a healthy brand image online, but many brands don’t act upon it till they find themselves in hot water.
Changing The Narrative
Recovering your online reputation once the damage has been done is a great challenge and can cause a lot of stress.
If a customer has a bad experience with your business and plans to never return again, sometimes they’ll walk away quietly, but if they opt to leave a negative review on Facebook, Google, or on another platform, you could see a quick loss in sales.
If you’re not actively monitoring your brand mentions or online reviews, you could easily miss out on controlling any further negativity before things get out of hand.
If dealt with swiftly you can prevent potential customers from turning away, or you may be able to even retain unhappy existing customers as well.
Understanding Your Customers
If you’re not hot on the chatter around your brand online, you could potentially be spending wasted money on new marketing campaigns that aren’t effective because you didn’t deal with negativity sooner.
The message you are sending could be in complete contrast to the issues and conversation raised by unhappy customers, and could also be seen as insulting, rather than having a positive impact.
What Is The Difference In Online Reputation Management & PR?
Whilst the terms “public relations” and “reputation management” is often used in the same context, what they actually involve is very different.
Both are equally as effective when used as part of your brand’s overarching strategy, but it’s important that you understand the differences before deciding to invest in both or either option.
Whilst ORM mainly focuses on the needs of the brand and maintaining a positive online presence, PR plays a mutually beneficial role in connecting your brand and other organisations in the media particularly.
Yes, PR efforts aim to improve the reputation of a brand and how the brand is perceived in the public eye. But, really, the goal of this is to provide information on a separate entity, like a new product or service available.
Similar to other forms of marketing, PR is a direct marketing channel that brands can use to showcase their offering, both in digital and traditional forms of media.
Although both tools can work independently, combining them together is greatly beneficial. ORM will help to cover the behind-the-scenes, whilst PR can help with the public-facing marketing.
When you have a solid ORM strategy in place, and you face negativity, PR can be used to share important updates or comments via media to help address and ease the problem.
Combining Social Media Marketing And Online Reputation Management
Online reviews are something a brand will never have control over, and no place displays that more than social media.
Dominating the SERPs with positive reviews and stories linking to your brand is a crucial part of ORM, of course.
But, you must effectively manage and respond to comments elsewhere online too.
Keeping on top of social conversations about your brand is key to how customers perceive and engage with you.
You can monitor comments through specialist software, and also monitor branded hashtags, mentions or any direct tagging of your brand across multiple social media platforms.
With consistent monitoring in place, you’ll be able to respond swiftly to the comments coming in and converse with individuals to resolve any issues as quickly as possible.
Whether you’re aware or not, a conversation around your brand is happening all of the time, everywhere.
Effectively using online reputation management will allow you to keep on top of this and leave you assured whatever is being discussed reflects the company image you wish to maintain and build.
It can make or break how you attract new customers to the business and retain your existing ones.
Allow me to help you take control today.
Thanks for reading,
Myk Baxter, eCommerce Consultant