Only a few years ago, online reputation management and public relations were only concerned with big corporations and the rich and famous. There was little feedback from angry customers or upset fans plastered on the internet.
In today’s world filled with cancel culture and easy access to social media channels and other internet platforms, reputation management is becoming necessary for celebrities and regular people.
We are living in a time where there is an active audience waiting to share their opinions online about various services, products, and brands. Most people have some sort of access to the internet, and they will use it.
Often, when a customer has a negative experience with a company or product, they will share it online. It’s a harsh environment where people are likelier to share negative experiences than positive ones.
However, through online reputation management, you can combat negativity and boost positive results and messages to ensure your brand is getting the attention it deserves.
Online reputation management can be a difficult task to undertake alone; however, when problems do arise, experts are waiting to help solve your problems and join your team to find the best solution.
Here at BRANDefenders, we have reputation experts ready and eager to help you and your brand defend itself from the negativity and bitterness of the internet.
This article outlines the essentials of online reputation management that your team can get started with to avoid problems and take a proactive approach. However, if things get out of control or you simply don’t have the time to manage your reputation, leave it to the experts at BRANdefenders to help!
What is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?
Overall, managing your brand’s online reputation is about monitoring what is said across the internet and ensuring that the messaging is cohesive with your brand and paints your business positively.
No one wants negative things said about them or their brand, but sometimes, negative reviews or articles gain traction and taint the perception of your company online.
Multiple channels and processes fall into online reputation management, and it can be an overwhelming process to learn and understand. We’ll break it down into a few different channels; paid media, earned media, shared media, and owned media.
This is a standard model used in the world of business and communications known as the PESO model. We’ll break down what each of these channels entails below.
This type of media is self-explanatory but includes any media or messaging you pay for. Some forms of paid-for media include advertising on Google or social media, influencer promotion, sponsored posts, and more.
This part of online reputation management is relatively straightforward as you control the messaging; however, it is still important to check your competitor’s advertising as they may be running ads against your brand.
Most advertising platforms have strict rules, so you don’t have to worry about negative messaging from competitors, but it is something to look out for.
Earned media is the coverage your brand receives from the public and external platforms free of charge. This may include external articles, press releases, forums, blogs and vlogs, and sometimes specific niche third-party listings (think Trustpilot or Glassdoor).
Other review platforms like Google My Business would fall under the earned media category as customers publish reviews without you controlling what is being said.
Besides your company website, your social media is one of the first places potential customers will visit.
Depending on your business niche, some social media may not be very beneficial; however, all social media channels rank well on search results, and it can be a different way for your audience to engage with your business.
Unaddressed comments, negative remarks, and low engagement with your brand through social media can significantly damage your reputation online and leave your brand with a negative perception.
Work with your creative team to create engaging and shareable content across your social media channels; this will help your brand have a better online presence and allow your customers to trust your business.
Owned media is different from paid media because owned media is anything that is under your company’s complete control. Think of blog posts on your website or anything related to your website and blog.
Your online reputation process does get more manageable when you are in control, but that doesn’t mean you can just cruise on autopilot. You still need to have positive messages across multiple channels.
Google is a popularity contest; it will rank whatever is most popular, not necessarily what is most truthful. So creating all-encompassing messages across multiple channels will increase your chances of ranking on Google and ensure that the right message gets put out there about your brand.
Why Online Reputation Management Is Essential For Your Brand
We have mentioned why online reputation management is essential for your company, so let’s talk more about how an effective ORM strategy can benefit your business.
1. ORM Effects The Buyer’s Decision
More than 80% of acquiring customers do online research before purchasing a product, especially when it is an expensive product, the more extensive the buyer’s research.
Besides checking online reviews from previous customers, buyer’s in today’s environment are looking for companies with an initiative or a solid corporate social responsibility.
If there is anything said on the internet that’s perceived as unfavorable about your brand, whether it’s true or not, it can cost you money. Paying attention to these things and others will help you manage your online reputation and acquire and retain customers, influencing their purchasing decision for the better.
2. ORM Is The Online Version Of Word-of-Mouth Advertising
Most people trust online reviews as much as they trust a recommendation from a friend. Gone are the days when word of mouth was the best advertising method.
Now, the internet is the way to market, and reviews can be as big of a benefit or detriment to your brand as word-of-mouth advertising. Be sure to check up on reviews and ensure they are truthful and helpful to your brand.
In the age of social media, one negative comment, video, or review may be a bombshell for your business. However, it is not the end all be all. ORM experts at BRANDefenders can help you clean up negative perception and prevent it from happening later.
3. There Is No Delete Button For Negative Comments
When negative comments and reviews come, there isn’t a way to hit delete or get the customer to retract what they said. However, when responded to appropriately and taken as feedback, addressing the customer’s concern can turn them into loyal fans of your business.
Not to mention that others will see how you respond to customers’ concerns, which may turn that negative comment into a positive reputation.
How to Manage Your Brand’s Online Reputation
There are many different ways to manage your online reputation, including built-in alerts from Google, creating and developing relevant content, monitoring reviews, and so much more.
If the process seems overwhelming or daunting, the experts here at BRANDefenders can help you develop a strategy to combat whatever negativity you face online and ensure that preventative measures are intact to help boost your reputation.
However, there are a few things that you can do before hiring the experts to get a jumpstart on the process.
- Perform an audit of your brand online, and your brand’s messaging
- Develop an online reputation management strategy and effective marketing tactics
- Create a firm tone of voice and message for your brand
- Have a crisis management plan in place for when disaster does strike
- Monitor brand mentions effectively
- Use SEO effectively to dominate the search results for given keywords
- Encourage and source positive reviews online
- Manage negative reviews online and respond appropriately
- Choose influencers and promoters wisely
These are a few tactics to start developing a solid reputation online, but it takes diligent and consistent effort to maintain a positive online presence and ensure that negativity surrounding your brand is rooted out.