All brands know that their reputation is a key component of success. However, not many brands actually take the time to figure out how to effectively build and manage a reputation. This is especially true when it comes to the uncontrollable nature of the internet.
The good news is that online reputation management is designed to do just that. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management or ORM is the practice of managing the information that’s present about a brand online. Online reputation management sounds similar to public relations or PR, but there are some key differences between these two concepts.
For starters, online reputation management is usually reactive, whereas public relations tend to be proactive. Additionally, public relations is usually outsourced to a dedicated agency whereas online reputation management is usually conducted in-house.
Why Is Online Reputation Management Important?
Now that you have a better idea of what online reputation management is, let’s dive into why it’s important by discussing online reviews, customer feedback, and viral incidents.
Positive Reviews Boost Your Online Presence
It’s no secret that customer reviews on your Google My Business page are important for e-commerce businesses and show up prominently in Google search results. At the same time, it’s easy to underestimate just how important they are to your online reputation management strategy. Negative comments and negative content can be detrimental for your brand image.
Reviews are essential for a good reputation. For example, consumers give online reviews and other online content the same weight as word-of-mouth. Furthermore, consumers are more likely to choose local businesses with five-star ratings and are less likely to choose businesses with negative reviews and negative feedback.
So how does this relate to online reputation management? Dealing with online reviews is a key component of online reputation management that will be discussed in greater detail later on.
While it’s easy to automatically discount bad reviews in your small business’s search engine results and scramble to rehab your online image, they can act as a valuable source of customer feedback.
You can then use the information you learn from this feedback to make meaningful changes in your customer experience and online reputation management campaign so that you can prevent more negative reviews from being left based on these same issues in the future.
For example, let’s say that you see several similar comments in an online conversation about a defective feature on one of your products. You can then take steps to address the defective feature in the product and ensure that future orders are working properly.
We’ve all seen viral incidents on business owners’ social media profiles that can cause a brand’s reputation to take a huge hit and leave them looking for a reputation management company.
For example, in 2017, a video concerning a customer’s negative experience with United Airlines went viral on social networks with more than 100 million views. As a result of this viral video, United Airlines lost over $1 billion in market value and had to work with online reputation management service providers to recover.
It’s impossible to predict what will go viral in real-time and what won’t. However, it’s not impossible to assume that a negative viral issue involving your brand will negatively impact your brand’s reputation and end up on the first page of search results — resulting in lost potential customers and revenue that’s not easy to recover.
Who Needs Online Reputation Management?
Sure, online reputation management is important, but is it really important for everyone? As it turns out, all businesses could benefit from practicing online reputation management. However, online reputation management is particularly important for e-commerce companies that operate completely online.
When you think about it, it makes sense that online reputation management would be key for companies that operate entirely online. This is because e-commerce customers are basing their purchasing decisions solely on what they see online. So if they see a negative review or something else that gives them pause, that could quickly turn them off and cause them to take their business elsewhere.
What Are the Different Aspects of Online Reputation Management?
No matter what type of business you have or what industry you operate in, there are four different aspects of online reputation management you need to know about: owned media, earned media, shared media, and paid media. Here’s what you need to know about each of these key aspects.
Owned media includes media sources that you own or control. Some examples of owned media include your brand’s website, your brand’s online blog, and pages on third-party websites like Amazon. It’s important to take advantage of the level of messaging control offered by owned media so that you can put your best face forward in your digital marketing efforts.
For example, if you can promote your brand’s website that’s designed to be as positive as possible on search engines like Google using search engine optimization efforts, then you can better promote a positive online reputation since that’s what people initially see when they search for related keywords and products.
In addition, you can also post positive content on other media channels, including Linkedin and your social media marketing pages, to boost your ORM strategy.
Earned media includes coverage earned from third-party platforms. Some examples of earned media include press coverage, articles and blog posts on other websites, review sites like Google and Yelp, and forums like Reddit and Quora.
While using owned media in search engine optimization is important, you also need to take advantage of earned media. This is because search engine algorithms scan the entire web looking for mentions and links. The more positive information that’s out there about your brand and your products, the better your online reputation will be.
Shared media includes media sources that are shared between your brand and other individuals. Some examples of shared media include social media accounts on popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Depending on the specific platform, you’re still able to control some aspects of your brand’s reputation. At the same time, you don’t want to be a brand that’s known for blocking people or deleting negative reviews. Instead, focus on the things you can control and work to create a brand and products that people want to rave about on social media.
Paid media includes media sources that you pay for. Some examples of paid media include digital advertising on platforms like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, and more. There are countless forms of paid media you can use to promote your business, including but not limited to display ads, native ads, search ads, and video ads.
Paid media is another great way to boost your online reputation since you have complete control over the content in your advertisement. In your advertisements, you need to present value, include a clear call to action, present social proof, and feature engaging visuals to drive viewers to complete your call to action, whether it be to sign up for your email newsletters, follow you on social media, or purchase a specific product.
Tips for Online Reputation Management
Based on everything we’ve learned so far about online reputation management, let’s wrap up with some tips to help ensure that your online reputation remains as positive as possible.
Tip 1: Start With an Audit of Your Online Reputation
It’s always a good idea to begin your online reputation management efforts with an audit of your online reputation. Performing an initial audit will provide you with an idea of what your current online reputation is and will act as a baseline for your future online reputation management efforts.
There are several tools available online to help you perform this initial audit. For example, there are tools that will “grade your brand” based on information found online. There are also complaint tools that will help you compile all complaints across several different websites.
Tip 2: Determine What You Want Your Online Reputation To Be
Based on the results of your initial online reputation audit, you need to determine what you want your online reputation to be. Essentially, you should ask yourself what you want to be known for.
Do you want to be known for your knowledge and experience as an industry expert? Do you want to be known for your customer service? Do you want to be known for the quality and innovation of your products? There are no wrong answers here, but try to pick a specific area where you want to excel.
Tip 3: Provide a Foundation for a Positive Online Reputation With Owned Media
Next, you should provide a foundation for a positive online reputation using owned media. When developing your owned media sources, it’s important to keep in mind your desired online reputation.
For example, if you decide that you want to be known for your product quality and innovation, then you should specifically promote this area on your brand website and blog by showing how your product holds up and why it’s better than your competitors’.
Tip 4: Supplement Your Online Reputation With Shared Media
From there, you should supplement your online reputation with shared media. These days, it’s especially important for e-commerce brands to maintain a strong and engaging presence on popular social media platforms.
On these platforms, make sure you’re posting relevant and entertaining content that appeals to your customer base. Also, make sure that you’re engaging with your followers in terms of comments, likes, shares, etc.
For example, if someone comments about a bad experience on one of your social media posts, it’s important to promptly respond to the commenter and address the issue they’re having since people will be able to publicly view this comment and your response.
Tip 5: Promote Your Online Reputation With Paid Media
Additionally, you should promote your online reputation with paid media. Typically, it’s not enough to simply have a branded social media account. You should be actively advertising on these platforms to reach your desired audience with appealing content.
Think about where your target customers spend their time and what they’d respond to in an advertisement. Then work with advertising experts at agencies like MuteSix to design and develop tailored campaigns based on your target audience and goals.
Tip 6: Don’t Forget About SEO
With all this focus on social media, it’s easy to forget about search engines. However, search engines are still incredibly important for e-commerce companies looking to promote their online reputations.
For the best possible SEO results, figure out your target keywords, update your website and product listings, and try to get your name and links out there on reputable third-party websites. All of these methods will help you boost your search engine ranking.
Tip 7: Ask Customers for Reviews
If you’re a new brand that’s just getting started, then you should focus on building your online reputation from scratch because having no reviews is just as much of a red flag as having negative reviews. The best way to do this is to be proactive and ask your customers for a review — providing incentives if necessary.
Tip 8: Respond Appropriately to Negative Reviews
The only thing worse than having no reviews is having an abundance of negative reviews. At the same time, it’s important to note that having a negative review here or there isn’t the end of the world. Instead, what’s important is how you respond to these negative reviews. Make sure to respond to any and all negative reviews quickly while addressing the concerns stated in the review.
Tip 9: Provide Adequate Training to Employees
Another way to be proactive about your online reputation management is to provide adequate training to your employees. By doing this, you can help prevent negative reviews due to poor customer service. You can also give your employees the tools they need to properly build your online reputation through different media aspects and respond appropriately to negative reviews.
Tip 10: Consistently Monitor Your Online Reputation
Your online reputation isn’t something that you can just address once and forget about. Instead, it’s something that needs constant monitoring to ensure that you’re coming across in a positive way.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to spend all day every day scouring the internet and social media platforms for mentions of your brand. Instead, set up alerts for mentions of your company and set aside time to review them frequently.
Final Thoughts on Online Reputation Management
As you can see, online reputation management involves everything from engaging social media advertising campaigns to excellent customer service. MuteSix can help with creating engaging and effective social media advertising campaigns thanks to our expertise in various platforms including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Google, and more.