Today, the reality is that poor Online Reputation Management (ORM) can directly hit the company’s sales. Whether the company is large or small, negative search results can have an impact on a company’s bottomline.
Last year, take the case of Air India. A viral video in dealing with passengers, got Air India to take a bashing on social media. Quick reaction, assurance, and clear message are attributes every brand should develop during crisis. Today, we can pull out many examples of customer dissatisfaction or anger denting brand perception on social media. Online reputation management clearly has a big impact on a company’s reputation and in the long run, its revenue.
What are some online reputation issues a brand might experience?
Leaders in the business world are often caught off-guard by online reputation issues, which may suddenly spring up out of the blue. Brand managers may spend years developing a strong brand, but things can change with a blink of the eye; they may suddenly face derogatory remarks popping up online; and sometimes it may be outrageous accusations and even defamatory, slanderous or libelous remarks. Even worse, the negative reviews appear often on websites that rank high in search engines, so anyone doing a search on the company name will in all probability, see them! Irrespective of whether these comments are true or not, these negative search results can place the company’s online reputation on the brink!
Today, companies should consider expanding their crisis communication plan to handle reputation issues. In today’s online-infested world, any crisis will immediately double up to be an online reputation crisis. A negative story about a corporate, product or celebrity, even if it does not became breaking news, blogs, tweets and other social media tools – can do great damage. The first step is to do everything you can to prevent a problem from becoming a reputational crisis, which includes planning how to best use every online platform your brand is on; it also entails constant monitoring of online brand mentions and sentiment, any conversations, strong threat detection and protection.
Simply put, online reputation management (ORM) is the process of influencing and controlling a brand’s digital reputation. It’s making sure that positive, relevant content surrounding your brand is at the top of search results, while negative, irrelevant or brand competition content is hidden further down. In fact, ORM is critical in improving and restoring your brand’s character, credibility and the consumers’ trust in your company.
What are the key reputation management tactics?
- Monitor the conversations about your brand
Keep a lookout, search yourself. It’s easy to do a Google search for your brand name and keep track of any new content that emerges. The most important aspect of managing ORM effectively, is listening and responding to the buzz. Don’t ignore consumer issues like – complaints about delivery issues, refund concerns and product problems, instead, acknowledge them and do all you can to rectify the issue. If you are not set up to handle customer service or your presence on social media is poor, then this reflects badly on your brand, impacting sales and consumer loyalty.
- Use social media
Be aware of your brand’s social media profiles and use them. And update them regularly. This prevents others from hijacking your brand name, and gives you a bigger presence online. The major social profiles that do well in Google results include: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, SlideShare and Pinterest. Be sure to link all of your social profiles together. Add new content at least once a month – which can be as simple as attaching an article and writing a short comment about why it interests you.
- Blogging is good
Blogging is another way to get your brand out there on the web. Develop your blog with professional, positive information about the company, products, industry trends, or you could support issues and other topics. Publishing positive information about your brand and blogging also attracts more traffic than static websites, so it helps your reputation and your lead generation.
- Think Outside-the-Box
Opportunities to get noticed on the web really are plenty. For example, encourage customers to show how they’re using your product through YouTube videos. Videos tend to rank very well on Google and other search engines. So, think out-of-the-box.
- Have a smart PR Strategy
Don’t simply rely on ‘company news’ for your press releases. Generate the news: look for unique ways to highlight your product – like how it is being used, or publicize the tie-ups you have or even sponsor events that may get press coverage.
If you think is it worth developing an in-house department to tackle Online Reputation Management issues, then go ahead. It is possible to organise some ORM tasks within a company too, like: public relations campaigns, social media updates, content development and development of company-related websites like blogs and support forums.
But, on the other hand, with an experienced reputation management firm, you get the advantage of their track knowledge from working with many companies and diverse situations.