Online Reputation Management
Online reputation management or ORM is a set of techniques used to control the conversation happening or the online content being distributed about a brand. These strategies are implemented to control the visibility of the various information about your brand on the search engine results page. So you might think, isn’t that what SEO is all about. Not really. While SEO works at increasing the visibility of your website and pages for relevant keywords, ORM aims at highlighting and improving visibility of positive information regarding the brand and reducing visibility of negative content thus controlling what someone sees when they search you online.
A large portion of a business’s potential customers looks it up online before taking an action and they consider the most easily available and visible information as the most credible ones, whether they are true or not! So what is visible on the top matters! And the thing about the internet, unlike TV or radio, or other offline methods for that matter, is that once something’s on the internet it is there forever, so preventive management is highly important against negative content. So keep a tabs on what people are talking about you online and take corrective measures with ORM.
So what do we do in reputation management, let’s take a look
The first thing to do is create a digital presence touch points. You can do this via owned (your website, pages, blogs), earned (customer advocates, PR) or paid media (traditional ads) !
One needs to constantly research about the brand, from both the organisational point of view and the customer point of you to identify positive and negative content about one’s brand. There are many ways to go about it, the best being some free online tools like Google Alerts, Yahoo Alerts, Twitter hashtag search, social mention etc. These let you know new developments as far as topics you have pre-set are concerned, they also help you identify who your biggest advocates and opposers are and what the general online sentiment towards your brands is.
As important as knowing yourself is knowing your competitor. Keep updating yourself with what is happening with your competitors and how they are handling it. This is a great way to learn from best practices and mistakes of your competitors, you can also leverage this information for your benefit.
A great way to get lots of positive content about your website aside from good P.R activities are review building. A majority of local customers say they look for online reviews before they make a purchase. So even if your product or sales is offline, ORM and review building could support you.
Social media profile creation and optimization
The best way to develop positive sentiments aside from review building is social media. It has become one of the primary sources of information for the current digital generation. People trust a word from their friends and circle, much more than any advertising you will ever do, so what they say matters and the best way to have a control over what is being said about you is to be a part of that conversation by creating and maintaining interesting social media handles across platforms and implementing a pre-determined strategy to achieve specific goals and a desired image.
Another great way to promote positive sentiments is by creating positive content yourself or encouraging others to create such content on your behalf. Relevant content in different platforms, once optimised well can show up high in the search engine results page, thus pushing down any negative posts, decreasing their visibility and hence negative impact.
With the above techniques and a keen eye for everything happening to you and those around you, you are bound to do fine. Remember, for a brand, you are what they say you are!