Today the way any business works is very different from that in the past. Earlier, most of the business attained clients using the “mouth-of-the-word” type of marketing. However, now there are multiple forums and reviews about every brand on the internet readily available to the consumers.
The importance of good reviews cannot be stressed enough as one lousy review showing high in the search result can crush the brand’s reputation. According to a report, about 60% of consumers will not engage with a brand if they find negative reviews on the internet. The customers have become more aware and go through different reviews before testing a new brand or a product. So online reputation management has become more critical than ever.
While online reputation management might seem like an easy job as it involves creating a good online business presence, it’s easier said than done. It is best to leave it to the professional as they have a profound understanding of how the industry works and will use the best practices to ensure optimum results. Before we get into why online reputation management is essential, let’s first discuss what it means.
What is Online Reputation Management?
In simple terms, online reputation management means managing your online business presence and developing it gradually to curate good reviews about your business. An essential part of the process is to do the right things constantly and form great public relations with the community.
An excellent online reputation management strategy involves a mix of marketing, public relations strategies, and search engine optimization to protect and promote a brand or a product online. The public image of any brand determines the popularity of the brand and coherently the sales.
It also involves addressing any negative or false comments as you actively monitor the mentions and reviews of your brands on the website and social media channels. It is essential to address every concern of your community to create trust and reliability in the band.
How does Online Reputation Management differ from PR?
While a PR campaign and an online reputation management campaign have the same goal of portraying a good image of the brand on the internet, their strategies differ. While a PR management company works externally through campaigns and statements, online reputation management is more reactive to the situation.
PR firms ensure that the company’s marketing strategies, statements, releases, etc., are up to the mark and will not cause any scrutiny among the consumers. However, an ORM agency ensures that if there is a backlash, how to manage that and keeps a check on the result of the PR campaigns.
How does Online Reputation Management differ from Crisis Communications?
An Online Reputation Management agency generally comes into action when a brand cannot perform to the best of its abilities because of the poor reviews on the internet. The agency quickly takes control of the narrative and starts building a better reputation for the brand.
The work of an ORM agency is not limited to getting rid of a negative story, fabricated comments, malicious activities, etc., as they have to ensure there are positive reviews about the company as well. ORM is more reactive in nature as it nurtures the online business presence.
One reshare of a negative comment on the internet can spark a wildfire that can break the company. It is vital to control the narrative before it’s too late and develop a strategy to alleviate the situation.
How does Online Reputation Management differ from SEO?
In theory, online reputation management seems a lot like SEO as there are several similarities, such as creating good content, ensuring optimized search engine results, etc. However, there are few key differences that establish the requirement for a good ORM agency.
SEO ensures that when a consumer searches for services or products that you offer, your brand’s name appears on the top. However, ORM decides how your brand’s name will appear on the top. It ensures that when a person searches for your company, they can only see positive reviews and comments about the brand.
While SEO handles a particular website or eCommerce store, ORM controls the entire online business presence.
Why does your Business need Online Reputation Management?
Clearly, online reputation management is vital for your brand regardless of whether you are an established enterprise or a budding entrepreneur. Here are a few reasons why ORM is important for your business.
- In the digital age, the success of every business depends upon the reach of the brand. The more users a company can reach, the more are the chances of sales conversions. To do that, companies have to improve their online presence constantly. Thanks to social media, the potential of reaching more users is practically limitless. However, with this added advantage comes increased responsibility of managing the large community. Brands have to constantly monitor what is being said about their company all the time, which can be a daunting task for a beginner.
- The flip side of the internet is that everything posted on the internet is forever. Even if you manage to get the original posts, comments, blogs deleted, their impact cannot be undone easily. ORM can ensure that such harmful content about your brand is quickly detected and managed to ensure there are not any long-lasting effects.
- Cases about counterfeit pages opening on social media imitating a brand have increased tremendously over the years. People try to dupe the loyal customer base by selling counterfeit products and services, which harms your reputation and business. ORM ensures that none of this happens by handling the situation quickly.
- The most important part of an ORM strategy is to monitor reviews. Brands have to ensure that the majority of the reviews on the internet about their brand are genuine and positive. According to a few reports, about 75-90% of consumers first check the reviews before engaging with a new brand.
Benefits of Online Reputation Management
Now that we have a better understanding of online reputation management and the importance of building an online business presence, let’s talk about the benefits of online reputation management.
The most important part of an ORM strategy is that it helps in boosting sales. The primary revenue of brands comes from sales, and these sales are heavily affected by the reviews of your company. 90% of users check online reviews before engaging with a new company or trying out a service.
Due to counterfeit and sub-par services and products, it is vital for consumers to do their due diligence before investing. Businesses that have good reviews on the internet perform better than those with negative reviews. Consumers trust other’s experiences, so it is essential to ensure that all the information about the brand is thoroughly checked.
Building Brand Image
Brand image is significant for every business as it speaks for the reliability and trustworthiness of a company. The internet is a permanent void where information cannot be deleted once it is posted. If someone puts a bad review about a company, it can spread like wildfire and ruin the company’s image that they have spent years building.
ORM can ensure that if someone posts a bad review, it is quickly controlled, and the narrative is changed to promote a positive side of the company. An ORM agency regularly monitors the chatter on the internet about a brand and molds it to portray the image that the brands want to show.
While it is essential to have an active social presence on the internet, it is more important that it is positive. Social media and the internet is a great tool to market a brand and its products. Today the majority of the population has a social media account and likes to interact with new businesses on these platforms. Increasing visibility on these channels can help you generate more sales.
By ensuring that the right image of the brand is portrayed, an Online Reputation Management agency makes sure that a brand’s visibility is improved. It is crucial to keep a thorough check on your brand’s social image and visibility as it can decide the success or failure of your company.
Build Trust and Credibility
It is easy to form an opinion that can be both good or bad for businesses in today’s world. Social media and the internet have made acquiring information a simple process. Using a few keywords, a person can find out all the publicly available information about the brand. To ensure that the customer’s opinion is a positive one, the information should be positive as well.
A positive opinion helps in improving the trust and credibility of the business. If a customer is happy with the knowledge of the brand, they are more likely to interact with your brand and promote your business to their friends and family. An ORM company will ensure that all the information present on the internet about your brand is positive.
Generating Business Insights
By understanding how people react to your business strategies and marketing techniques, you can get an in-depth analysis of your brand and what you need to do better. These insights are crucial for every business as they are the basis all future strategies are built upon.
While SEO analyzes the results of the marketing strategies, an ORM helps in understanding your business’s online presence. The value of these insights cannot be emphasized enough as known by the majority of brands which is why they hire experts to handle this for them.
Improve Customer Experience
An ORM agency can give you detailed information about how your audience is reacting to your brand. These agencies research in-depth about the effect of every PR and marketing strategy and come up with a report about the reviews of all your customers on various channels.
By studying this report, brands can improve their customer services and experience and offer them the experience they would like. Keeping a customer satisfied is the best way to ensure that your business’s online presence is perfect.
Online Reputation Management Strategies
Now that we know the importance and benefits of online reputation management, the next step is to figure out the best strategies. Agencies often use these strategies as they are sure to generate results.
- Answer Promptly with Empathy
Negative reviews are inevitable as it is impossible to satisfy every user. However, it is essential to take control quickly and address the issue. One of the best ways to do that is to reply to a negative comment or review as soon as it is posted.
According to a survey, 89% of the users expect a reply from the brand within a day or two. Promptly replying to the comment will help the user feel appreciated and stop them from posting negative reviews on other channels. In some cases, you can even get the comment retracted by satisfying the customer’s demands.
- Address Negativity
It can be tempting not to address negative reviews to try to cover the comment and suppress the issue. However, it will end up infuriating the customer even more, which can prompt them to post more negative reviews on other channels as well.
About 82% of the customers read reviews of a brand, but around 97% will also read its response. So it is important to address negative reviews as soon as possible and politely offer a solution to their problems.
- Owning up to your Mistakes
If a brand faces scrutiny over a scandal, it helps to apologize and own up to the mistake. By showing remorse, you build rapport with your consumers and show them that you are willing to do better in the future. This will ensure that your consumers stay loyal to your brand in the future.
Online reputation management is as important as marketing, PR or SEO strategy as it improves sales and brand’s value. These are a few of the simple strategies that can work in your business’s favor. However, what goes into ORM far exceeds these strategies and is best left to the experts.
Conclusion is, in today’s rapidly growing digital era, to have a strong online presence is must and to maintain your reputation on internet is of grave significance.