A decade ago, things like online reputation management seemed like a matter of concern for big companies. And it seemed like smaller brands have little to worry about as they could choose whether to implement or not their customer’s feedback without that decision to affect (in any way) their brand.
Nowadays, things are different, and online reputation management plays a crucial role in any business, regardless of its size. In a world where the first thing a dissatisfied customer does is vent about their bad experience with the brand on the internet, online reputation management (ORM) is critically important.
What is ORM?
Online reputation management or ORM is a concept aiming at creating a positive perception of your brand. Some people consider ORM as just social media monitoring, but this cannot be further from the truth.
Yes, ORM involves social media management but also consists of addressing any content or customer feedback that can affect the brand and use strategies to prevent and solve problems that can affect the company’s reputation.
Regardless of its size, each company needs an online reputation management plan to improve its business practices that result in happy customers and increase the bottom line. Indeed, ORM is vital to a company’s prosperity.
All eyes are on you – take a look at the numbers:
If you are still a little hesitant about the power of ORM, let’s take a look at the numbers:
1) Your customers are online: According to data , 97% of consumers search online for local businesses, 12% do it daily.
2) ORM impacts buying decision: The lack of ORM management can actually cost you your customer database. As 97% of customers do some online research before making a purchase, your online presence is the factor that significantly impacts your customer’s decision.
3) It’s like word of mouth but in an online version. 91% of your customers treat online reviews as personal recommendations from a friend. Yes, you read that right – whopping 91%! It would be great if all of your reviews are impeccable, but what would happen if you have some negative ones?
In an age where news spread like wildfire, negative reviews can really damage a brand. According to data: “companies risk losing 22% of business when potential customers find 1 negative article on the first page of their search results and 70% of potential customers with 4 or more negatives.
4) You cannot delete the negative reviews. Internet keeps most of the information about your brand. So you cannot actually delete negative reviews and whatever people are saying about your brand is likely to stay online.
However, you have the option to alter a negative review about your business, and that is where ORM plays crucial importance to your business – by properly handling a customer’s complaint, you have the power to turn unhappy customers into raving fans.
Harvard Business Review published a study proving that if a customer complaint gets handled in 5 minutes or less, the customer will spend more on future purchases from your brand.
See how vital ORM is to your business?
How ORM works?
ORM is about monitoring and managing your brand’s presence across the web and ensuring that your company is represented in a great way and that your customers are left with a good impression of your brand’s activity.
With that being said, multiple channels fall into ORM. As it might seem overwhelming at first, let’s think of them in terms of the PESO model. PESO model is a media strategy that stands for paid, earned, social, and owned media. The PESO model is a great way to organize your thoughts and include all aspects of marketing.
Now that we have established the importance of ORM, here are five effective steps that will help you effectively manage your ORM.
5 fool-proof tips to effectively manage your online reputation:
- Start with an audit of your online reputation
Before taking any action towards improving your online reputation, your first should make an extensive audit so that you know where you are standing and what steps should you take to get where you are heading.
The idea of an online reputation audit is to uncover how people see your brand, what challenges your company is facing and how you can potentially resolve them. To do that, you have to make a brand monitoring.
You can perform a quick brand monitoring by following these steps:
- Open up an incognito window (follow this guide if you are unsure how to open an incognito window). Then enter your brand name into Google and hit search.
- Pay close attention to the websites that appear on the first pages. Lookup for Google My Business features that appear on the page and evaluate your presence. Lookup for any comments, ratings, comments, photos that your customers have posted for your brand, etc.
- Separate all of the websites into two categories – websites that you control and websites with little to no control. For instance, your social media accounts are highly manageable. For a third-party website, you can reach out to the site owner and clarify with them any misleading information.
If you find any negative reviews, try to reach out to the person who has left the comment and fix the issue. Always reach out to the people who negatively perceive your company and try to turn them from dissatisfying customers to raving fans.
If manual brand monitoring seems too exhausting, you may want to try out some tools (for instance, SEMRush’s Brand Monitoring) that will help you check your online presence without having to invest the time to do it manually.
Brand mentioning is a powerful first step for improving your online reputation as it sets the foundation and gives you an answer to some important questions like:
- Are your customers able to find you online?
- What kind of sentiments your customers have for your brand?
- What kind of websites appear for your brand name.?
- Prepare a strategy
When you finish your audit, you know where your brand is and where it is currently heading. So, it’s time to set up an online reputation management strategy. But before that, you should set up your priorities.
Online Reputation Strategy Management Prioritization
As you cannot jump on every single mention that your brand has (especially if you are a big brand and have tons of mentions), setting up your priorities is of paramount importance so that you can avoid overwhelming. Once your audit is finished, setting up your priorities becomes easier. Here are some factors that might impact and make your decision easier:
- Set up your ORM goals – define what makes sense to your brand; is it a response time or something else?
- Define your boundaries – get a realistic overview of how many resources you can currently allocate to your ORM strategy. Keep in mind that this is an ongoing process.
- Prioritize tasks – find out which tasks are crucial, urgent, important, and unimportant. Once the tasks are defined, and priorities are set, you can set up a task. Don’t start with the easiest but with the most challenging task.
- Establish Guidelines
When dealing with online strategy reputation, it’s important to set up some general guidelines, policy definitions, and tone of voice.
The scope of these policy docs will vary from company to company, but the general idea remains the same:
- Differentiate urgent from non-urgent responses. You should define which reviews are of the utmost urgency for your business. If most of the negative reviews you get are from Quorra, you can pay special attention to your customers there.
- Prioritize cases important to your brand.
- It’s always a good idea to create a doc that includes an FAQ for your company. This way, all colleagues can use that document as a general guide for responding to reviews and comments. Pay special attention to the tone of voice. It’s really important to establish a tone of voice for responding to positive and negative comments.
- Monitor Brand Mentions
Monitoring brand mentions can give you real-time data for your company’s presence and an outstanding opportunity to respond quickly.
There is a lot of brand mentioning tools that can assist you in monitoring mentions of your brand and products. This way, you will let people know that you really care about what they are saying about your brand and will give you a unique opportunity to resolve any issues your customers might have quickly.
- Manage Negative and Encourage Positive Reviews
There is no doubt that negative comments can significantly diminish your brand and negatively impact your bottom line.
Here is what the numbers are saying:
- 70% of consumers will avoid buying a product if they don’t like the company behind it.
- 1 in 3 businesses (31%) says negative content has damaged their business.
- 1 in 3 businesses worries about the impact of negative content on their business and its value in the future.
So how to handle negative reviews properly?
The first step towards managing these reviews is to assess the most problematic ones and look if you notice some trends. For instance, you can have lots of negative reviews related to the delivery of your product or some feature your product has.
If you notice some trend, try to fix the problem and let the customer know that the issue is resolved (if you cannot resolve it immediately, let them know that you are working towards making some improvements).
As you can see, online reputation management is of key importance to your business. Now that you know how to assess and plan your online presence, it’s time to put your plan into action.
Remember, ORM is an ongoing process, and you should constantly monitor and assess what works for your brand and what doesn’t. It takes some effort, but the rewards are most definitely worthy. And if you have any questions, we are here for you – just contact us here.