Many businesses totally ignore the concept of online reputation management as they are not aware that it can be their only key for success online. Not many are aware of the fact that ORM or online reputation management plays a major role in the success of any business as it shows a major impact on the purchase decisions of consumers.
As per a study, more than 85% of online customers trust reviews more than personal recommendations. And, more than 45% of these customers look for a product or a service that has a four-star rating or more.
So, it is important to know that managing the reputation of your firm is the very first step you take towards establishing a trustworthy and successful brand.
What is online reputation? Let’s understand about it in detail.
Online Reputation Management – What is it, and Why is it Important?
Online reputation management is a process that helps monitor and improves how business gets viewed online. It helps to analyze what a customer or a partner will find about your business, brand, or your products when they search online.
Several customers find a product or a service by looking for it on Google. What he/she finds on Google decides if they will proceed to your website or give you a call. So, it is important you ask yourself these questions – what will they find when they search for your brand online and will they like it?
To put in simple words, the online presence of your brand can work for you or against you. This is what makes online reputation management important.
Does Online Reputation Management Impact Digital Marketing?
Anyone can judge your firm by the information they find on Google. As mentioned earlier, more than 85% of customers check reviews online even before they visit the website of a business. By searching for your brand online, they can come up with reviews, and what your company offers – and this can be either good or bad.
The success of a company depends on its online presence and having no presence or having a negative presence online can show a negative impact on the same. If you are developing a new partnership or planning for a media release of a new product, it is your online reputation that counts.
If you have opted for digital marketing of your brand, you might see great results. But, all those efforts go in vain if you do not monitor the reputation online. Just one bad review on Google can negatively impact your digital marketing campaign as well.
The Threats to Online Reputation
Before you start to work on online reputation management, it is important to understand what the threats are. These are often known as “online reputation bombs” as well.
Customers these days do not shy away from sharing their experiences – be it good or bad. From sharing a review of a restaurant or about a product recently purchased from Amazon, you can see them sharing their opinions on various platforms.
These reviews can show a major influence as customers rely on them before purchasing a product. There are a number of sites that are only dedicated to reviews, and hence a negative review about your brand can have a major impact on the reputation of your brand.
Brands or companies that sell products or services only based on trust need to keep a tab on bad publicity. With the growing number of media sites and with the news cycle of 24 hours, unfavorable coverage in media can certainly dent the reputation. We can take an example of the recent Nestlé’s crisis about safety issues and how the sales of the most loved product Maggi dropped in no time.
Not many know that hate sites exist. These are the websites that are filled with quite extreme options about a product or a service. Some of the customers or users of such sites also use abusive language. If a hate site called a product or a service “Scam,” it can certainly get the customers run to its competitors.
Complaints on Social Media Platforms
Brands or online businesses do not take customer complaints seriously, especially when they are online or on social media platforms. Though these are less harmful when compared to the others, it can turn into an avalanche in no time. Customers often take to the social media page of the brand to share their bad experience, which needs to be handled smartly.
How do You Check Your Online Reputation?
Well, now that you are aware of the threats, you should be wondering about the online reputation of your firm/brand. But how can you check that? Mentioned below are a few tips to help you with the same.
Start with a Search
You can make a start with a Google search. Just Google your brand, or the people or with the product name and check the first five listings.
- If you are not on the first five listings, you certainly need to work on search ranking.
- Do you see positive links? Well, you really cannot make everyone happy, but make sure the first listings are all positive.
- Check for any negative reviews you might want to address first.
The very next step you need to do is to check you’re My Business Listing on Google. Create one if it does not exist and check for accurate information if it is already listed online. Update as needed.
Social Media Platforms
You certainly need to put in a little effort here. If you are not an expert, you can hire the services of a reliable online reputation management company to do it for you.
- Start by checking the social channels of your brand.
- Keep a tab on your followers and see the last post you made.
- Check for any unread messages and your response time.
- Are the posts you are making related to your brand?
- Search the hashtags, brand name, and the location to know what people are talking about your company or a product. Check if the comments or positive or negative!
These can be a real threat if not handled well.
- Start by checking the Google reviews. Check for the rating you have and also see if you have a response to any reviews before. Create a strategy.
- Next, check the reviews on your Facebook page and see if the team is responding to the same or not.
- Do check the other review sites or sites like Glassdoor.
Once you are done checking the online reputation of your brand, you certainly would conclude that it needs a little work. So, what do you do next? Let’s see.
Start by Claiming
Update your data using relevant content by claiming your brand or business on every online platform you can. You can start by claiming your brand on Yahoo or Bing, and you can create a Facebook Business Page. Create a LinkedIn business page if you do not any.
Set Up Monitors to Track Your Reputation
Well, we are not talking about any undercover operation here!! One of the best ways to stop a negative opinion is to prevent it from starting. You can start by setting up Google alerts for the name of your company, executives, and for various products or services you deal with. By using online monitors, you are alerted as soon as a problem arises, giving you time to work on it.
Empower the Team
Create a strong presence on social media for your company’s employees and top management. A business is always defined by the people who work.
Work on Search Ranking
If you did not see your company in the first search results, it is time you take help for SEO. Search Engine Optimization improves organic ranking, and it helps to use it to your advantage. Having no online presence is as bad as a negative presence, and it can also increase the risk of brand attack.
If you have been neglecting reviews from quite some time, you certainly need the help of an expert. You can partner with an agency who can effectively manage reviews across various online platforms, benefiting your business.
Remember that reviews in today’s digital world can make or break a brand. Online reputation management increases the trustworthiness of the brand, bringing in more customers.
Now that you are aware of what online reputation management is, track it, and improve it to stay ahead of your competitors. ORM is not a onetime task, and it does need regular upkeep along with monitoring to see where you are standing. So, keep a tab to see how your company is being represented online to achieve success.