Those days when PR and reputation management were considered royalty for celebrities and big brands are long gone. The internet has changed the way an audience perceives the brand, and it is more important now than ever to ensure that the brand has a good online reputation.
To cater to this growing need of managing a business’s online presence, various online reputation management has come into the picture. These agencies have the right tools and knowledge to ensure that your audience interacts with your brand in your preferred way. Before going into the tips to improve your online reputation management, let us first discuss online reputation management.
What is Online Reputation Management?
In layman’s terms, online reputation management is the process to ensure that your brand’s online image and reputation is top grade. It focuses on creating a positive public perception of your brand using different strategies and tools.
Maintaining a brand image includes television and other media formats, but it majorly focuses on digital presence. Today’s majority of the business relies on their online presence, especially post-pandemic, so it is important to ensure that the customers perceive a good image of the brand.
An ORM strategy is important in the digital world as a negative comment or review can spread like wildfire, causing a lot of damage to your brand. A well-designed and curated ORM strategy includes brand monitoring and reputation management across all digital media platforms to ensure your brand is presented properly online and that the potential customers come across only good and relevant reviews.
Why do you need Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management is important for today’s world as every customer does their due diligence before interacting with a new company. They check reviews, comments, services, etc., before they decide to make an investment. According to research, 90% of the customers report that they do thorough checks throughout the whole customer lifecycle.
A customer lifecycle includes researching brands and their products, assessing reviews, and then moving on to purchase. However, if the customer comes across negative reviews or any scandalous information about the brand, they will quickly move on to your competitor. So, to retain your existing customers and create new clientele, your online presence should be immaculate.
While online reputation management is achievable personally, it is preferable to use an ORM agency as they know the right path for your brand. However, if you are a small business and want to ensure that your online reputation builds up with your brand, you can check out the following tips and strategies.
Tips to Improve your Online Reputation Management
Online reputation management, in theory, is an easy task. Ideally, it involves satisfying your customers so that they do not post any negative reviews and staying out of any scandal. However, it is impossible to control the reviews as it is impossible to satisfy every customer. So, to ensure your brand has a good online reputation, you can follow these tips.
1. Audit your Online Reputation
The first step is to understand the existing online reputation of your brand before improving it. Assessing and auditing your brand as a customer will help you understand how your target audience interacts with the company. It will help you identify problems if any, and the areas which can be improved.
All ORM agencies or brands must first audit their online reputation to get a clear image of the present situation. After understanding the current situation, you can plan your ORM strategy specifically targeted to give you your desired results.
A great way to audit your online reputation management is by searching your brand in an incognito window (as it does not have any cookies). It will also help you understand the SERP ranking of your brand and the Metadata visible on your website’s link.
2. Review Online Brand Commentary
While reviews and comments are an important part of an ORM strategy, your brand’s reputation is affected by other factors as well. Social discussion about your brand on social media channels such as Facebook or Instagram and online discussion rooms deeply impact your business’ online presence.
Social media is an unadulterated community where anyone can post anything which will instantly reach thousands of people. Several brands have fallen victim to social media where a poorly managed campaign or discriminating content shot down the brand’s stock price significantly.
It is important to observe every discussion pertaining to your brand and note the suggestions or negative comments that are passed around. By being an active participant in these discussions, you can quickly control the narrative and clear any misunderstandings.
3. Set up Goals
After the initial auditing and monitoring of online chatter about your brand, the next step is to create goals that fit your aim. Every brand requires a personalized ORM strategy as no two brands will have the same current position and goals. So it is important to decide what you want as a result of the ORM strategy.
Usually, the most basic goal includes removing any negative comment about your brand from social media and controlling the narrative of the present situation about your brand. The goals can also include your target audience and platforms that have the most amount of inconsistencies.
Writing out these goals and figuring out a strategy based on these goals will help you achieve them much faster than simply winging it and trying different strategies. Consulting a professional Online Reputation Management Agency will improve the understanding of your present situation so that you can move on to figuring out the best route.
4. Prioritizing ORM
An online reputation management strategy has several revolving wheels and can easily become distracting at the least. It is important to decide your priority and work on your strategy to fulfill that goal first. For example, a new brand should focus on creating an online business presence, whereas an existing one should aim at improving its online presence.
There is no shortcut to it, as it needs to be done slowly and gradually by posting meaningful content, optimizing your PR strategy, and improving customer services and relations. Also, while creating the strategy, ensure that you are carefully managing your resources as it can easily get out of hand to become costly.
Creating a timeline according to your priority actions will help you make a strategy to ensure your resources and time are not wasted.
5. Develop A Response Strategy
After successfully creating an online reputation management strategy, the next step is to develop a response strategy. An important part of an ORM is to be notified when a comment is made about your brand, and the moment you receive the comment, you have to respond according to the nature of the comment.
A comment is divided into two categories, urgent and non-urgent. A non-urgent comment is generally positive and will not have an immediate negative impact on your brand. However, an urgent comment can be detrimental to your brand’s reputation and should be resolved quickly.
A response strategy generally includes detecting the comment, replying to it in real-time, and offering a solution. Another practice that brands generally follow is creating a blocklist policy as not every comment is a genuine person disheartened by your services. Usually, these are people looking to troll your brand, and replying to them will only add fuel to the fire. So instead, adding them to the blocklist will save you effort and time. Another good tactic is to prepare a list of answers to common queries, which will also save you a lot of time.
6. Create a Crisis Management Strategy
The internet is an unadulterated space, and anyone can post anything anytime on the internet that can potentially harm your brand. Even if you provide the best customer service and have an excellent online business presence, chances are someone will post negative reviews. In some cases, these bad reviews can spread like wildfire and can cause irreversible damage to your brand’s image.
To avoid this from happening, it is important to develop a crisis management strategy to tackle these issues the moment they are noticed. The first step is to address the negative issue and control the perspective before it spins out of control.
The next step is to create a few draft responses such as phrases and lines that can be modified to fit the issue in a few seconds. These responses should align with your brand’s image and should be stern to avoid any further conflicting arguments.
The last step is to find a platform where your brand has the most reach. It is important to quickly spread the word to as many people as possible to control the narrative. It is a difficult process to do alone, which is why big companies have specialized people apart from PR specialists to streamline the process.
7. Strong Brand Tone and Content
Creating a strong brand tone and content structure will help you address your audience and gain their trust while improving your brand’s recognition. Establishing a strong ORM strategy for the complete digital spectrum will ensure that your brand’s online presence remains positive throughout the internet.
Also, it is important to put out a uniform picture on all digital platforms to avoid any contradictions. For example, a customer viewing your content on social media should see the same content on your website as well. Social media is a great tool to promote your brand, and while doing so, it is important to ensure that your style is unique and can be recognized easily.
Following this tip will help foster strong brand trust, and awareness as putting out a uniform image improves reliability and trustworthiness.
8. Monitor SERPs of Brand Searches
SEO is an important part of the ORM strategy as it determines how efficiently your brand’s image is presented to the public. SERPs or Search Engine Result Page have a huge impact on how well your brand performs. But it is also important in creating a brand’s image as the better the ranking, the more the chances of people finding your business reliable.
No one likes to scroll through multiple results to find a brand they like. The more they have to look for your brand, the less they will trust you. So creating a powerful SEO strategy will ensure that your brand appears reputable and trustworthy.
9. Define Branded Keywords
Another tool out of an SEO strategy, branded keywords, can also help in boosting your brand’s image. Creating unique keywords associated with your brand’s name will create awareness and help in boosting your social media presence. Encouraging your users to tag your products and their reviews with the keywords will improve trust and prompt more people to engage.
Several brands use social media influencers for this purpose by sending them products and asking them to review. As these influencers have a huge following, their followers will automatically trust your brand, which will, in turn, improve your business’s online presence.
10. Engaging in Conversations
One of the deciding factors of any business’s success is how relatable they are. Encouraging and engaging with an online discussion about your brand using official handles will improve the relatability factor and help people build trust.
Asking your customers to review your product and sharing their feedback will indicate that you as a brand are willing to provide the best customer service and improve. This will also increase trust in the masses as no one likes a brand that, after selling a product, does not take accountability for any shortcomings.
Clearly, online reputation management is an important aspect of business development and should not be taken lightly. Following these tips will help you manage your business’s online presence to some extent. However, for big brands doing this themselves while taking care of other aspects is extremely difficult. So instead, they choose to hire professionals with prior experience in managing brands to make the whole process simpler and more efficient.
If you are a new brand, these tips can help you build an excellent image, but as your business develops, consider hiring an expert.