Comprehensive Guide To Online Reputation Management
In our digital world, your online reputation is everything – particularly if you plan on selling goods or services online. All it takes is a few disgruntled reviews from unsatisfied customers to cripple your chances of being trusted by people who find your business in online searches.
Online reputation management (ORM) is the process of managing and improving your reputation as it appears online. Over the years, online reputation management has evolved to help businesses and professionals take control of their online reputation by creating content that promotes their offerings in a positive way.
Essentially, ORM helps to protect your brand identity. This is done by creating and managing the information that is available about your business online. Things such as SEO, review management, and social media strategy can all play a role in developing a positive brand identity.
Want to learn how to improve what people think about your business?
Interested in capitalizing on social media and other sites in order to boost your online reputation?
In this guide, you’ll learn how to properly manage your brand’s reputation online – to create a positive, lasting impression on your audience.
How Online Reputation Management Impacts Your Business
What do you see?
Chances are, it may be a mixed bag of positive and negative results. You can’t directly control what people say about your business online – but, there are tactics you can use to push negative feedback further down search pages while moving more positive content upwards.
Here are some important statistics that will help you understand the power of ORM:
- 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying (GE Capital Retail Bank)
- 65% of customers report that a positive brand experience is more influential than great advertising (PwC)
- 88% of online customers are less likely to buy from brands that don’t respond to social media complaints (Neil Patel)
- 51% of millennials are likely to make a purchase through a social media network (Big Commerce)
- 64% of customers trust Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) above everything else (Edelman)
- 94% of customers say that a negative online review has convinced them to avoid a business (Online Reviews Survey)
- 81% of consumers receive notice and advice about an upcoming purchase from other customers through social media > 74% of them say this information influences their purchasing decision (IBM)
As you can see, there is a lot riding on your online reputation and your ability to manage it. With customers trusting search engines and social media reputation more than ever, your business needs to be prepared to mitigate negative feedback and amplify positive feedback to grow your brand effectively.
If you want to read an article about how to delete your Yelp account and things you can do to manage the bad reviews, visit this page here.
These statistics present evidence that is overwhelming – your brand needs a defined system for online rep management.
The question should no longer be if you should invest in ORM, but how you should go about doing it to get the best results over time.
4 Essential Channels for Online Reputation Management
If you’re going to do ORM correctly, and make it a consistent effort, you need to make sure that your brand is utilizing the best channels to do so effectively. It’s also essential to understand how these channels work together to convince your target audience to buy.
1. Paid Advertising and Media
There are hundreds of forms of paid media available on the internet today. From the more popular ones like pay per click campaigns on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc… all the way through to newspaper ads and magazine columns.
Each of these campaigns spurs interaction with your prospective audience and should be taken seriously from an ORM standpoint. Every word, phrase, promise, and value proposition that you put out there has your brand’s name on it. Looking at your paid advertising through the lens of ORM can help your brand focus more on its voice, delivery, and targeting in order to get more positive results and feedback from your audience.
2. Social Media: The Buzz
There are hundreds of social media sites, each with their own specific audience and format. As a general rule of thumb, your social media presence essentially acts as the first line of interaction between you and your customers.
Social media is where ORM lives and dies. Taking the time to craft positive messages that inform your audience and provide value is essential to your brand’s success. Equally important is your ability to deal with negative or positive responses in a timely and responsible manner. When it comes to social media for ORM, you want to maintain the attitude of “my entire audience may see this” at all times – even if it is a small 1-on-1 interaction.
3. Brand Media (Owned Media)
Brand media or owned media is the content that your brand owns and produces. This includes things like blog posts, podcasts, white papers, case studies, websites, etc… that your brand owns, manages, and operates.
Overall, this is the most important type of media because just about all online rep management depends on it. This is where you will get a lot of your social media content for posting, where people will come to learn more about your brand, and where you will publish informative content that generates organic search traffic by ranking on Google.
4. Third-Party Review Sites
While this is a type of media you have no control over, we included it because it is undoubtedly one of the most important ways people hear about and interact with your business through online searches.
Sure, you can’t keep people from leaving bad reviews – or even alter what they say for that matter. But, you can control how your brand handles this feedback – which is extremely important when it comes to managing your online reputation.
The Best Way to Implement Online Reputation Management for Your Brand
Now that you understand a bit about ORM and what it includes, it’s time to get started laying the blueprints for your brand’s online reputation. In this section, we will guide you through the 7 steps you need to build an effective system for understanding, improving, and managing your business’ online reputation.
1. Establish Goals for Your Online Reputation
The first thing you need to do is align your ORM strategy with the goals of your brand. To do this, ask and answer key questions like:
- What are you looking to portray in the minds of your audience?
- What role are you looking to play in your industry?
- What are the fundamental values of your business?
- What do you want your brand to be known for?
Once you have a more concrete understanding of what it is you’re trying to position your brand as in the long term, you can then begin with the next step:
2. Getting to Know Your Online Reputation
Now that you’ve established the goals for your ideal online reputation, it’s time to find out where your reputation actually stands in the eyes of your audience. To do this, you’ll want to first ask questions like:
- What do people think about my brand?
- What are people saying about my brand?
- What positive and negative reviews are out there on the internet?
- Does your online reputation match up with what you are aiming to portray?
- Does your online reputation match up with the values of your brand?
From here, you’ll want to get a detailed understanding of your online reputation, documenting and understanding everything from Google Reviews, Facebook Comments, Yelp Reviews, and the thousands of other micro-interactions that make up your online reputation.
This is a pretty arduous task that can seem far too massive to approach alone – especially if your brand has already been in business for years and has a long history of interactions. Luckily though, the internet is full of helpful tools to make online reputation management easy.
3. Building an Online Reputation Management Strategy
Once you’ve filtered through the results to get an accurate, high-level understanding of your existing online reputation – it’s time to begin strategizing on how to get your online rep from where it is to where you want it to be.
This really all starts with the media channels we mentioned above:
- Creating a paid advertising strategy that embodies your brand – This could include simple things like developing PPC campaigns for search terms that align with your brand mission. Or, it could include more complex strategies such as outranking competitors who are trying to rank for your branded search terms to steal your online business.
- Developing a social media strategy for building positive brand recognition – You’ll want to make sure that anyone who is managing your brand’s social media has a set of clear, defined processes to follow before putting anything out there with your name on it. This includes a process for finding things to post, what they put in the captions, and
- Building a content marketing strategy for your owned media – This is the number one way to move your content and your website up the search results in Google. You will want to develop an in-depth strategy around the questions people are asking in your industry, then build comprehensive resources that provide value. Over time, adhering to a regular publishing schedule can help you generate thousands of monthly visitors to your site that are highly targeted leads.
- Developing a strategy for managing third party complaints and reviews – User reviews are some of the most influential bits of feedback you can have, so you’ll want to use them to improve the image of your brand, your offering, and your interaction with your audience. It’s essential to not only respond to bad reviews, but also get people to post positive reviews more frequently to push bad ones down and bring your average up.
Overall, implementing these key strategies for each form of brand media will help you to manage your online reputation. It’s important to make sure that you commit to a continual structure, taking notes and improving the process the entire time. This will help your brand to better understand your audience and leverage your positive reputation to make more sales over time.
Why Do I Need Online Reputation Management?
Above all else, there are three main reasons why ORM is essential to your business in the modern world:
Your Online Reputation is Forever
You can’t get rid of it even if you tried. Sure, once in a while you can prove that a review is strictly malicious and does not have any grounds in reality – but the process for doing this and getting a negative review removed is long and arduous and rarely ever works.
So, this limits your options for improving your online reputation to developing an effective reputation management process that focuses on getting more positive reviews to drown out the negative ones.
Internet Search is the #1 Way People Find Your Business
That’s right. Like it or not, this is the truth of the world we live in. If you’re not appearing for branded searches, or if only negative customer experiences appear towards the top of SERPs, chances are your business is hurting because of it.
More importantly, people searching for solutions in your industry are looking to act NOW. With over 70% of internet searches resulting in action within the first 24 hours, you have a very short window to impress your audience before they find an alternative.
You Can Learn A Lot From Your Customers
Believe it or not, some of the best ideas come from your audience. Billion-dollar companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon were built off of the feedback of users. The more obsessed you are with collecting and understanding data provided by your customers, the more likely you are to succeed in your industry.
At the end of the day, in business, the customer is always right. So, leverage the free feedback your customers give you to improve your business, offering, values, and brand reputation.
How Can I Learn More About Online Reputation Management?
Looking for a trusted online reputation management company to partner with? At Bizmap LLC, we specialize in helping our clients manage and improve their online reputation to generate more business.
Improve your online reputation, generate more leads, and help more customers get the value they’re looking for today! Contact us to learn more about how we can help you improve and manage your online reputation.