Everyone has a digital footprint. The only question is whether or not your’s is clean, dirty or a mix of both. Taking control of the online conversation surrounding you and your brand is exactly what online reputation management (ORM) involves.
Online reputation management aims to strike a balance, counteract misleading trends, and allow you to present yourself in the best light possible.
- What is online reputation management?
- How do you know what results come up when someone googles you or your company?
- Effective tools used for online reputation management
- What is online reputation management?
- What are the most common online reputation management tools?
- Keep an eye out for online reputation bombs
- What should you do if your company is the target of an online smear campaign?
- Tips for managing your online reputation
If someone makes a negative comment about you on the internet, it can put you at a severe disadvantage in the long run—especially if you aren’t aware of it. You may never know why you didn’t sign the deal you wanted or why that fantastic lead didn’t convert to a customer.
So it’s critical to keep track of what people are saying about you online and to correct any inaccuracies. (Here are a few pointers to get you started.
You should also keep an eye on what you post yourself for the same reasons. Even posts from decades ago can come back to haunt you, thanks to social media.
In this guide, we explain the importance of online reputation management to publishers, influencers, and brands, as well as ten tips for improving and protecting it.
What is online reputation management?
Online reputation management merges SEO, marketing, and public relations strategies to monitor and improve your online reputation.
Your online reputation is crucial whether you’re starting a new business and want to make an excellent first impression or looking for a new job.
Almost every modern purchasing decision is based on online research, so a poor or non-existent online presence can make or break a company. People are looking for you online, whether you realize it or not, even if you don’t own a business. Both publishers and advertisers can use online reputation management (ORM) tactics to:
- Keep an eye on their name and company in search results.
- Solicit online reviews, respond to them, and manage them.
- Monitor social mentions and sustain a positive social media presence by removing or containing negative or unwanted content.
Today, people are talking about you, regardless of the size of your company, including leads, customers & their friends. They’re tweeting about the blog article, leaving comments on your blog, updating their Facebook status about their recent purchase, and much more.
Online Reputation Management (ORM) is all about monitoring and managing your brand’s reputation across 4 key areas:
1. Paid media:
Watch out for competitors who are promoting their products “against” yours.
2. Earned media:
- Articles from external sources.
- Media coverage in the media.
- Forums, blogs, and vlogs.
- Trustpilot, Google My Business, Social Reviews, Glassdoor and other review sites.
3. Shared media:
Any content about your brand that is shared on social media is referred to as shared media. Personal user accounts that reflect poorly on your company should also be taken into account.
4. Private media:
Private media includes things like your website, blog, podcast, whitepaper, and webinars.
What factors affect your online reputation?
If you’re unsure what your ORM strategies should be, it’s a good idea to understand what factors influence your online reputation.
On review sites, your reviews and overall ratings. Here are some elements that affect your online reputation:
- Reviews and customer feedback ratings on review sites.
- Search results.
- Social media chatter (what people are saying about you on social media).
- Your approach to handling positive and negative feedback.
- Your online presence and activity.
Each of these variables is quite diverse. Managing even a single factor, such as reviews, necessitates a series of tasks and ongoing maintenance. As you might expect, the more control you have over each factor, the longer and more expensive ORM becomes.
You might not have to worry about reviews and online ratings as an individual; instead, you can focus solely on search results.
How do you know what results come up when someone googles you or your company?
If you’re not sure where your online reputation stands right now, there are a few simple steps you can take to find out. Let’s look at four ways to figure out what comes up when someone searches for your or your company’s name.
- Do a Google search on yourself.
First and foremost, search for yourself on Google. When people search your name (or your company’s name), the first thing they’ll see in the search results are important. Try to look at the results through the eyes of an outsider, using search terms that include your name, location, business, and other keywords that people might use to find you online.
Are the results favorable? Do they portray an image your brand wants to project? What if these results came back for a job applicant or a different company?
Pay special attention to the first 3-5 search results, as this is where most internet users look. While you might be tempted to read through several pages of search results to find the most flattering content, the average searcher rarely goes beyond the first page.
- Review your privacy settings on social media.
Then, make sure your social media channels (such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) are either private (if you want to keep a professional image) or aligned with your company’s vision.
- Examine your Google Places listing
If you own a business, check the accuracy of your Google listing and look at your online reviews. You might also want to check a few different keywords related to your business to ensure you’re not missing anything.
- Make a note in your calendar to keep checking your results.
Finally, set a reminder to check these results regularly. You should closely monitor online reputation so that you can stay ahead of any negative content and keep putting your best foot forward online.
Effective tools used for online reputation management
While most ORM tasks require decision-making and cannot be automated, some handy tools help. On the one hand, there are free resources for those new to ORM or who simply want to monitor their online reputation. However, more advanced ORM tools, services, and software are not cheap.
What are the most common online reputation management tools?
- Reputation monitoring tools
Google Alerts notifies you whenever your name or a keyword appears in a search result. Awario and Talkwalker Alerts also monitor reputation and media.
- Social media “Buzz” tools
Mention and Sprout Social are two tools that track and monitor social media mentions.
- Review solicitation tools
With services like ReviewInc and Birdeye, you can collect valuable customer feedback.
- Review management tools
Tools like Swell and Podium can help you interact with customers and manage reviews beyond review solicitation.
- SEO tools
Tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and HubSpot’s Website Grader can help you improve domain authority and SERP rankings.
Keep an eye out for online reputation bombs
Companies should be aware of two types of harmful content when it comes to online reputation management. Social media complaints represent one. They must be appropriately addressed, but they do not pose a severe threat to your company unless serious issues arise.
The other is called “online reputation bombs,” which have a long-term impact on your reputation and sales and can severely harm a company. They’re highly effective because they show up high in search engine results, unlike social media content.
What should you do if your company is the target of an online smear campaign?
Everyone has the right to speak out about your company. There are, however, adherence to some limitations. Some of the harmful content found on the internet is illegal. Why?
- They use defamatory language.
- Some sources disseminate false information.
- Harmful content can destroy your company’s reputation.
What are your thoughts on all of this? How can the company be protected from an illegal activity like this? Depending on the severity of the problem, there are several options for restoring one’s online reputation:
- Review removal: Did a user make a false claim about your business? Is that review intended to smear your name rather than provide feedback? Is there any foul language in it? The removal of the negative review will be possible thanks to legal liaison and quick response.
- Online Investigations: In the event of a severe attack on a brand’s image, there’s a need to hire skilled online analysts to investigate untraceable threats and attackers using email tracing, data cross-indexing, and other data collection techniques. Cyber investigations are the definitive path to getting to the bottom of the most challenging reputation management cases.
- Ranking on page one or two of Google for the industry and brand name is one of the most effective ways to keep the bad press at bay. The company’s first step is to develop a search marketing strategy that will boost the ranking of positive content that you or third parties own. The game of search engines is far too important to be overlooked.
Tips for managing your online reputation
It’s a bit redundant to call it “online reputation.” Your reputation on the internet is your reputation. Nothing protects your brand from criticism in the digital age. It’s good for freedom of speech but bad for the business if it has been defamed and attacked.
In the coming years, the world of brand reputation will change, but following these simple guidelines will help preserve the brand.
- Be radically transparent: Following a request from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, McDonald’s publicly forced egg suppliers to raise hens’ living standards. Being open about it demonstrates caring about customers and a willingness to make adjustments when something goes wrong.
- React quickly and politely: In the case of a Twitter customer complaint, for example, a quick and simple “Thanks for bringing this to our attention.” or “We’re working on it and will get back to you as soon as possible” is better than nothing.
- Pay attention to your Google results: First impressions matter, and many judge books based on their covers. If your brand is associated with the words “scam” and “rip off,” you should be concerned. Your best defense against the bad press, bad reviews, and false reports is a strong SEO strategy.
- Learn from your opponents: Criticism can be an opportunity to learn more about the target audience and craft a more compelling message in the future. The controversial “baby-wearing moms” commercial by Motrin drew a lot of backlashes. It came from people in Motrin’s target audience who were offended by their promotional content, not competitors or illegitimate attackers. If your brand is receiving legitimate online feedback, it may be time to rethink the current marketing strategy or responses.
- Monitor what people are saying about your brand: Besides all of the other reasons to keep an eye on your online reputation, social media monitoring can also help make more sales. Many people ask questions on Twitter and Facebook these days as they consider whether or not to buy from you. Your brand will appear more trustworthy if demonstrated being responsive.
- Assault your illegitimate assailants: Sometimes, there’s no other option but to combat illegal behavior. People who spread false information on the internet are another example. It’s possible that if not sued, they’ll do it again.
- Seek professional assistance if necessary: When online reputation management efforts aren’t enough to protect or restore your brand’s image, seeking professional assistance is an option. Working with reputation management or an online marketing firm may be the only option.
- Launch link building campaigns to improve rankings of positive press coverage:
So, once you have positive content and press, you can help promote them by link building. If you get a great article about your company, you can send backlinks to improve its rank in the SERPs.
This is a great strategy for brands that have received many adverse media due to a crisis or mishap. If negative reviews, articles, or blogs suddenly appear for your brand’s searches, start building links to your more positive external web pages about your website.
Listening to what customers say and finding ways to connect with them are the first steps in managing an online reputation. While responding to online criticism and developing an SEO strategy are essential, they may not be enough to protect brands from smear campaigns. In such cases, it may be necessary to seek professional assistance.