Online Reputation Management (ORM) refers to the process of sanitising negative online mentions, monitoring a brand’s online image, and creating an overall positive online reputation.
The definition isn’t absolute, and confusions persist regarding online reputation management.
Some believe that online reputation management is all about social media monitoring, while for some others it has something to do with public relations, and yet many can’t contemplate how it can impact business and sales.
Good online reputation is not exclusive to reacting in a proper manner to what people say about you, your brand, products, and services. It is also about understanding whether to react at all or not and if yes, then when.
A better approach to online reputation management is monitoring the brand’s public reputation regularly and not just in the light of a specific event.
The Necessity of Online Reputation Management
To spread your business globally, you need online reputation management.
Online reputation management is the need of the hour as it is required to stay ahead in competition from other companies. Thus, it has become an inevitable part of all marketing strategies.
In the Internet business ecosystem, one single scathing negative comment is all it will need to destroy brand image and reputation. This, in turn, becomes quite problematic to restore.
The search engines keep track of all the good and bad things about the brand. Moreover, online buyers prefer to search for product and service reviews before making a decision.
While a negative review cannot be deleted outright, how the brand responds to such a review deserves consideration and influences the decision of a potential customer.
Hence, online reputation management is what any brand needs to succeed.
We, at Lekhak, offer international online reputation management services as part of our public relations efforts for enhancing brand visibility and value. Reach out to us with a brief about your next project.
Online Criticism — How to Deal with it?
There are two types of negative content that a brand should be aware of, and those are:
#1 Complaints on Social Networking Sites
They need to be addressed smartly and carefully. They are comparatively easier to manage and doesn’t become a real problem if proactively handled.
#2 Online Reputation Bombs
They pose a real problem as they affect sales and reputation in the long run and severely damage the business.
They have this unsaid power because they are prominent in search engine results, unlike social media content.
Here is a list of its constituents:
When the brand name is Googled, it will be beneficial for the brand website to appear at the top and not any review website / listing / or random aggregators.
But, if the brand website doesn’t appear on the top 5 search results and other resources appear which contain negative information about the brand, it becomes essential for the online reputation management team to devise a search marketing strategy to increase the ranking of positive content.
Does a review contain false information about the brand? Is the review more about defaming the brand rather than providing constructive feedback? Is it full of vulgar or inappropriate language?
With the help of legal authorities and proactive reaction from the reputation management team, the negative comment can be taken down.
If the brand image is in a complicated state, it is better to consult and hire a skilled and professional online investigator.
Cyber investigations are the ultimate way to get to the bottom of complex online reputation management issues.
9 Commandments of Online Reputation Management
The world of brand reputation is continuously changing.
Follow these nine commandments as a cornerstone to developing an overall positive brand image.
#1 Be well respected
We all agree that trust is an asset and also that it is a perishable asset. It is tough to gain and easy to lose.
The brand should make an honest effort to gain people’s respect through its work.
#2 Be radically transparent
Don’t hide behind the curtain; respect yourself and your work and let the light shine through you.
The best example of this is McDonald’s egg suppliers, who PETA forced to raise the quality of hen’s life.
#3 Monitor what is being said
You not only have to keep a tab on your online reputation, but also you need to monitor the brand’s social media as many people contemplating whether to buy from you or not could be asking questions on Facebook or Twitter.
#4 React quickly, yet politely
Let’s just say that a customer has complained regarding something via Twitter. In that case, the best response provided could be – “we are aware of the problem. We are working on it and will get back to you soon.”
It is better than a late reply or never replying at all.
#5 Address criticism
People believe in brands better when they acknowledge their mistakes and are ready to fix them in time.
For example, in 2009, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey’s op-ed on Obama Healthcare Reform stroked a controversy amongst the Whole Foods customers.
Two days later, the company came out with a response statement stating that there were loads of opinions regarding the same, even among the Whole Foods employees. They also invited people to share their opinion on the same.
#6 Understand constructive criticism
Not all criticism is destructive.
A well-intentioned criticism is a chance for the brand to hear what its customers are trying to say and use it as an opportunity.
For example, Motrin’s controversial “babywearing moms” commercial was under a lot of criticism and scrutiny. This originated not from competitors or illegitimate attackers but from Motrin’s target audience, who felt offended.
#7 Defend against harassment
It is important to address and improve with constructive criticism; it is also essential to take appropriate action against ill-willed feedback or harassment.
Not everyone will be interested to see your brand succeed. When things reach the level of harassment, the legal option is the best. However, you have to be doubly sure that your brand is not in the wrong. Otherwise, a legal suit will massively backfire.
#8 Learn from past mistakes
Reputation management is all about learning and growing.
The best example of the same is Sony who learned its lesson back in 2005. The company placed copy protection on its CDs that, in turn, created computer vulnerabilities that the malware could very well exploit.
Instead of acknowledging their mistake, Sony sidelined criticism and lost millions in class-action lawsuits.
#9 Ask for help, as and when necessary
Suppose you think that the online reputation management efforts are not enough to protect or restore your brand image. In that case, it is better to take the help of a professional online reputation management service provider.
A cleverly crafted online reputation management plan always helps a brand to manage its public image.
Don’t wait for a reputation disaster to occur before taking reputation management seriously. It should be a core aspect of a brand’s business growth.