Few things are more necessary than your brand’s online reputation. It builds trust with clients, staff, and investors. As a result, you’ll be able to grow your online business more successfully and deliver better ROI. One of the best ways to maintain your brand’s image is through online reputation management.
Building a strong online reputation can take years. Just a few negative reviews can threaten your good name in a heartbeat. What do you do if you have a poor reputation score or simply want to strengthen your existing brand reputation?
In case you’re already managing a lot, your best guess is to outsource it to a reputation management agency or an online reputation manager.
There’s quite a bit to know. Dealing with negative reviews on Google, TrustPilot, and Glassdoor is quite a lot of work. Every platform has completely different rules and procedures. Responding to a public relations crisis requires one more skillset.
Sadly, too many brands wait till they’re in the midst of a public relations crisis before they think about investing in their digital reputation. And that’s primarily the industry’s fault; as a result, we’ve done a poor job of explaining exactly what reputation management is, and when it’s wanted.
What is online reputation management (ORM)?
Online reputation management, or ORM, is the process of managing online details about an individual, company, or brand. The primary purpose of brand management services is to establish an accurate, sustainable, and controllable search landscape that represents the complete arc of a company or CEO.
The process includes publishing and optimizing online content to manage the first page of Google for branded search queries. A typical business reputation management technique may include review management, social media advertising and marketing, public relations, SEO, and customer support tactics. It can include SERM (search engine reputation management) strategy, which comprises reputation monitoring, review management, and SEO. ORM also comprises monitoring the information on data broker sites, and common ones include Whitepages for individuals.
However, online reputation management broadly falls under the category of SEO (search engine optimization).
Why? As a result, whether you’re focused on brand health, full-on damage control, or reputation restoration, your prime priority ought to be to control what individuals see after they search for your brand.
The truth is that 98% of searchers won’t look past the first page of Google results for any question. Due to this fact, the content that shows up on page one overwhelmingly controls public perception. If you wish to own your narrative, you have to control the content that appears on page one when stakeholders search for your brand.
That being said, there are quite a few digital channels involved in online reputation management. Making a positive impression of your brand requires actively managing all of them. The channels may be broken down into the next categories.
Owned media encompasses any online media that you simply control, similar to your brand’s website, blogs, or pages on third-party websites.
That is one area where search engine optimization plays an important role. When you can position more controllable web pages on the first page of Google, Yahoo, Bing, or any other SERPs, then you’ll have more control over your online reputation.
Earned media encompasses all free publicity and coverage your brand receives from third-party platforms, for example:
- Press coverage
- Articles and blog posts on different websites
- Forums (Quora, Reddit, and many others.)
- Third-party listings (Capterra, Glassdoor, Trustpilot, and many others.)
- Review websites you don’t control (Google and many others.)
Earned media is essential for online reputation management because positive brand mentions reinforce trust with both your viewers as well as Google. Additionally, because the Google algorithm sees a rising number of positive off-page signals, they are going to attribute more authority and trustworthiness to your brand, which translates into higher rankings.
Shared media refers to any kind of content marketing that’s shared between your brand and others. For example, when your various social media accounts are shared media online. Though you own your profiles, and you create individual social media posts, anybody can reply with positive or negative feedback.
It’s vital to pay attention to how individuals engage with your brand online, especially through shared media channels. When you have quite a few bad reviews on Facebook or negative feedback on Twitter, it may harm your brand’s image.
Make a concerted effort to monitor any mentions of your brand in real-time and seek advice from online reputation management providers to deal with negative feedback.
Paid media contains all channels, platforms, and digital advertising and marketing vehicles where you have to pay to feature your brand. Social media advertisements, Google Advertisements, Microsoft Advertisements, LinkedIn sponsored messaging, display advertisements, native advertisements, and sponsored content are all examples of paid media.
Paid media provides some opportunities to strengthen your preferred narrative. However, it’s not as useful as earned or owned media because customers trust organic search results more than ads.
Why Reputation Management is Necessary
- 85% of customers give online reviews the same weight as word-of-mouth
- 91% of customers are more likely to decide on companies with five-star ratings
- 82% of customers are less likely to decide on companies with negative reviews
We’ve already touched on this, but it’s essential to focus on how much influence negative reviews have on brand sentiment.
These are staggering statistics, and so they inform a quite simple story. Most clients search out reviews, trust them, and make choices based mostly on what they discover.
Brand’s Reputation is Worth Billions of Dollars
Because of the speed and reach of social media, a negative experience can go viral in just a few hours, ruining your online business’s reputation. In 2017, a United Airlines flight crew dragged a passenger off an airplane and somebody recorded the incident. The video rapidly went viral on social media with more than 100 million views.
The outcome? United Airlines lost over one billion dollars in market worth. This example and others like it, highlight simply how harmful negative press could be to your brand.
Impact on Sales
Your online reputation additionally has a direct impact on sales. 88% of buyers do online research before they make a purchase order. If potential buyers see a string of negative reviews or press about your brand, it might sour their view of your company and make them buy from one of your opponents.
Alternatively, if they see a lot of positive reviews and press, they’re more prone to trust your brand and make a purchase.
Managing your online reputation additionally lets you collect useful customer feedback. Because of this, you’ll be able to improve your services and products, as well as buyer experience.
Sure, you need to perform customer surveys and polls to improve your company. However, don’t ignore unsolicited feedback that might uncover new and better methods to serve your audience.
Online reputation management examples
Online reputation management isn’t just for brands dealing with crises. In reality, prevention is an important part of managing a reputation. At present, negative information and opinions can go viral instantly, causing real-time harm to a brand’s reputation.
Listed below are only a few examples of how the company has helped clients improve their online reputations:
- An executive at a multi-billion-dollar firm whose business took a hit after a serious news website published an unfavorable story. The story was inaccurate, but other media publications still picked it up. The story finally spread to the manager’s social media accounts, affecting the business’s bottom line. A company that works with solving this kind of thing rebalanced the executive’s search landscape to inform a truer and more holistic story of the person’s accomplishments.
- A major financial services company whose sales have been affected by a handful of negative reviews. Sadly, a couple of negative reviews had a huge impact. Prospective clients usually brought the reviews up during the sales process, influencing the company’s potential to close deals. A company that can deal with this restored control over the first page of Google for the company.
- An executive at a high-profile agency was affected by an outdated news story. When people Googled the manager’s name, they discovered an old story about a previous business deal. You can hire a company to reposition the outdated and irrelevant article deeper in Google’s search results where few stakeholders would discover it.
As you may see from the above examples, online reputation issues have critical business impacts. Furthermore, issues that stem from a central figure at the company also can harm the brand’s reputation.
How Online Reputation Management is Different for Enterprises
Most online reputation management companies are likely to give attention to local business listings or personal branding for people.
However, with enterprise companies, scale changes the game. Mistakes affect millions of customers. Because of this, business owners lose management of brand messaging online and offline.
For example, think about your website experiencing a three-hour outage. If it’s a small business website, customers might not even notice. However, that same three-hour window may cost an enterprise e-commerce business millions of dollars in sales. Even worse, it will more than likely make the evening news.
And in case you’re on an enterprise-level platform like Slack or Facebook? Prepare for 3 hours of Armageddon-style memes on social networks.
Now, think about the impact of a mistake that really hurts the customer or an egregious act by a company executive. What if your website will get hacked and bad actors gain entry to your customer data?
Small companies can move on rapidly, but enterprise businesses will face a storm that might last weeks, months, and even years.
How Online Reputation Management is Different for Executives
Many brands have grown to be intrinsically tied to their founder or CEO in the public eye. It’s very true if there’s a strong company origin story. For instance, you can’t describe Tesla or SpaceX without mentioning Elon Musk. Alongside that, he’s developed himself as a brand, selling his personal backstory and inspiring nicknames like “The real-life Iron Man.”
Not every CEO desires to be famous, but it’s a byproduct of running a well-known brand. Because of social media, CEOs are in the spotlight. And customers take missteps very personally.
Controversial private behavior by CEOs can spark harmful news cycles and social media boycotts. A single Tweet can ship stock prices plummeting and drive away investors.
That’s why the CEO’s reputation management establishes an executive’s legacy beyond their management role in the company.
What to Look to Find the Best Online Reputation Management
Sadly, there isn’t a singular “greatest” reputation manager that matches every business like a glove. If there was, then this guide wouldn’t be needed.
Different ORMs cater to totally different services. This may imply that some are better than others at crisis management, online monitoring, online review management, Search engine optimization focused on branded content strategy, and even supplying attorneys to advocate on your behalf.
First, are you building a brand new online reputation from scratch? Possibly you’re trying to improve a negative reputation? Or are you being proactive and investing in maintaining a good one?
You need to decide where you are in your reputation management journey. Then you may think about a couple of factors that may refine your search much more.
Business Size and Type
Your company size typically correlates with the size of your reputation. Clearly, the larger and more varied your sales channels, the more work you’ll have managing how you look online.
Your online business’s size also can dictate the amount you’ll need to invest in ORM services. Some questions to think about are: What’s your estimated current business reach? What kinds of distribution channels do you promote through or publish content on? Are you a service-based business, a company, or an e-commerce store?
When choosing the very best ORM for you, these are some key questions to think about before moving ahead. If your online business isn’t a complex enterprise, you won’t need an expensive ORM that focuses on litigation, video removal, or a team of professional attorneys.
Your advertising and marketing strategy additionally determines the kind of online reputation management you want.
Do you primarily sell via a content creation technique? Do you sell on multiple e-commerce platforms? Is your online business sufficiently big that it sells via on-air advertising? Do you already have a powerful social media presence that drives sales?
Outlining how you primarily reach your customers will assist you in narrowing down your search. When you don’t, it might have an effect on how well your ORM can deliver results.
Long-Term Crisis Management Strategies
Take into consideration the future of your online business and its reputation. Sure, sooner or later you may have to put out a reputation fire that caught you without warning ASAP. Or maybe you’re only getting started and need your name on the market in the short-term in a positive light to drive more sales.
But do you have a long-term plan for managing reputation crises that can inevitably come up sooner or later?
This can determine which ORM can deliver on either your short-term or long-term objectives. Each is built in a different way to cater to your online business objectives.
We believe that up until now, you realized how much your online presence and reputation are important and that you need to take care of this in order to benefit and get the most for your business. In that case, you will need to hire online reputation management services if your reputation is hurt and you need to improve it.
For that reason, we compiled 6 great strategies that you can look into if you want to start building your reputation up and improve it in the eyes of the public. This can come in handy for both brands, beginners in the business, and also experienced companies that need something fresh to start managing online reviews and turn your negative mentions into a positive online reputation.
#1 Analyze Your Brand Online
You need to start somewhere, and searching your brand name online is the best possible start you can do to find what exactly people are saying about you. Enter every social media profile you have, website, and blogs/articles about you, and analyze the connotation of the text about the brand. A good reputation management company will take note of both the good words and bad reviews and will start building a great basis from where to start improving things.
Do not be afraid to search and “google” yourself to see what other websites are talking about when your brand name comes up. This will give you great insights into how much harm was done and how much work is in front of you. If you have good reviews – then great! But if you have bad reviews you will need to see what they are talking about and what precise matter is the issue.
A great analysis will give you enough data to build a strategy on how to improve your online reputation and remove bad content about you. By removing the points from the to-do list, you will step by step be closer to a better and better business reputation and turn the negative into positive reviews.
#2 Use Your Brand Name to Answer Bad Reviews
Let’s suppose that your name was dragged around in the dirt and you found many various websites where your name was mentioned in a bad review. What will show a higher level of responsibility and professionalism is if you have answered those reviews and changed people’s minds about you.
In case you see that you are being attacked for the wrong reason, you can surely defend yourself and your brand. We would suggest that you address the problem in a calm tone and answer in the most polite way possible. Introduce yourself as the brand manager or representative and calmly answer in a manner of proving them wrong and changing their opinion about you.
This will show a side of you that cares and good customer care are a big plus when it comes to digital marketing strategy. Thanking the customer for their answer no matter if it is bad or good, will set a new calmer pace of the conversation and you will be on the right path to change this bad review into a great experience for both the customer in question and everybody else that is reading this review about you.
The worst thing you can do in this case is to leave the bad review unattended. That will only show that the client is right and many others might believe their review – meaning that you will lose business, which is most definitely hurtful for your company’s online reputation. And this leads us to the next strategy:
#3 Check Your Brand Mentions And Social Media Tags
One thing that a good online reputation management company will do is track your brand mentions around the web. This can be done by several paid tools, but also you will be able to find some free ones that might help you track this statistic.
When you are being mentioned on social media and tagged, you will receive a notification and then you will be able to see the context of the tag and react accordingly. In case you are not being tagged and get no notification, by searching your brand on search engines – you will be able to get some results where your name pops up on the famous social platforms.
On the occasions when you are being mentioned on a website blog or article with a hyperlink to your website, you will also receive a notification on your email or through the tools that you’ve set to track your backlinks. The same goes if you are not linked – just search your name on Google or Yahoo and you will get website results with your name in them.
On both occasions, you will be able to track the mentions and intervene. If you get a bad review, you will be able to quickly enter the conversation and prove them wrong. Same with the website mentions – if they are bad, you will be able to address the issue in the comment section and try to provide a good answer that will change the webmaster’s mind and even change the whole article about you.
All in all, tracking mentions is a good way to see how you are doing in terms of an online presence. The best reputation management companies will work on your positive reputation by doing a good job with social media marketing and review sites. Social media management is a core tactic for every online reputation management firm and handling website and social mentions are truly the best way of addressing a bad rep.
Since we mentioned backlinks, social media signals, and creating great content about yourself, talking about this next strategy will certainly come naturally.
#4 Apply SEO Practices for Your Brand
This is a strategy that every reputation management service uses, but most of the time it is really hard to explain to a customer that has no advanced understanding of what SEO means and what can do for their brand.
In case of fixing the online reputation for a brand that has a bunch of bad review articles on the first page of search engine results, SEO can do a lot! By correct optimization of your own content and articles from your brand, you can push down negative search results from the first page to the second one and then into the oblivion of search engines.
Here is where you need to hire a good writer or employ some of your in-house professionals to write articles about you and guide the customer the right way around your website. Besides pushing down bad results, you will be able to rank on Google’s first page and actually get more visitors to your website and drive more traffic and potential customers. Below we will list some of the tactics when it comes to SEO strategy for your brand website:
- Create useful content material on your website for opinions in addition to leadership pages.
- Construct backlinks to key pages you wish to rank on Google’s first page.
- Earn constructive brand mentions via digital PR, events, sponsorships, and influencer advertising.
- Be active on key social media platforms.
- Claim and optimize related third-party profiles, similar to Google My Business, Trustpilot, and brand profiles where you control the content material.
With regards to SEO for popularity management, do not forget that Google virtually all the time prioritizes authoritative, reliable sources. In light of this, give attention to growing the authority and trustworthiness of your personal website, in addition to optimizing your presence on authoritative third-party websites.
#5 Use Satisfied Clients for Good Reviews
This is another strategy that you can use to improve and get a more positive reputation and reviews online when it comes to your brand. If you run a successful business, you will already have good insights into who your clients are and probably have many of their emails signed up in the newsletter.
Use these details and inform the customer that they can leave a good review for your brand if they were satisfied with the service/product you provided to them. There are many third-party review sites where they can do this, such as Google reviews, Trustpilot, Capterra, and your website as well.
Send bulk emails to encourage customers to leave some reviews for you and give them step-by-step instructions on what they will need to do. If you think that they might not be willing to do this for you, encourage them and offer discounts and coupons that they can use to get a cheaper service or product from you. By doing that, you are increasing the chance of getting a better name no matter if you are a big or small business.
Getting great reviews from your customers is crucial in fighting the negative content about your business online. Google appreciates reviews and will maybe rank them higher and push the bad ones lower – and also will take real estate on the first page with good insights on your brand.
Another good side of this whole process is that many people appreciate another client’s experience and most likely they will be guided by good reviews they will find online. If good reviews occupy the bad ones, then you are on a good way to improving your brand reputation online, which is good for both big and small businesses.
#6 Outreach to Promote Positive Content
The perfect examples of self-promotion are whenever you make a bridge between what your brand does and what your client cares about. This is a perfect combination where you are both promoting the good content on your brand and addressing the client’s needs.
Listed below are some things that you are able to do in regards to the successful accomplishment of this technique:
- Often sharing positive opinions on social media, together with thanks to the reviewer
- Promoting any joint efforts finished with people or brands
- Co-marketing with well-respected people or brands in your trade
- Guest posts on high-authority websites
- Live streams where you reply to any and all questions
- Putting testimonials and reviews prominently on your website
- Working with influencers to advertise content you might have created
- Sharing content where you might be favorably mentioned
The aim of your public relations efforts when it comes to online reputation administration is to focus on your key values and set up trust and experience. And that will help you deliver your 2 cents on what your brand can do for the target audience and why you are the best choice for this group of people.
If you stick to those strategies that we covered above, you will remove bad words on your brand and create good content and material about it. In any case, you are in a win-win position if you decided to follow any of those strategies since they are the go-to tasks that even the best reputation management company uses.
How to Choose the Best Online Reputation Management Services?
Reputation management companies present a wide range of services for brands and people, including search engine optimization, content material growth, social media creation, and monitoring, assessment acquisition and administration, and third-party website monitoring. Nevertheless, your brand is unique, and your reputation management technique needs to be too.
When selecting a web-based reputation management service for your enterprise or individual status, you’ll want to think about things like your funds, the options you need, and the standard of customer support. First, consider your present reputation compared to your ideally suited reputation.
Are you repairing a destructive online reputation, sustaining your present one, or creating a very new one? Which platforms would you like to assist in managing? For instance, possibly your website needs a revamp, your social media needs enhancement, or your organization needs extra reviews.
Additionally, you will need to look for a company that may work inside your anticipated timeframe and gives the extent of customer support you want. Is this a two-month project, or will you need ongoing assessment maintenance? The extent (and frequency) of the help you need should factor into your choice.
When you list every little thing you need an online reputation management company to perform for you, search out reliable companies focusing on these areas.
Who Can Benefit from Reputation Management Services?
Everybody can benefit from ORM services. Whether or not your online status is good, bad, or nonexistent, chances are high that you could profit from hiring a reputation management service for what you are promoting or yourself. The distinction lies in what methods would benefit your organization or personal status the most.
For instance, corporations and professionals that have already got positive online reputations can profit from maintenance methods like review administration and website monitoring. Those with poor online reputations could require extra advanced methods to reduce bad search outcomes and spotlight positive achievements. They’ll profit from review and social media administration methods, particularly since reputation services might help corporations respond to buyer complaints.
Constructing a brand-new status could be tough; companies and professionals that do not have a longtime online reputation can profit tremendously from hiring a reputation management service. These corporations might help you determine your brand and declare authority by strategies similar to creating content material, constructing your social media profiles, boosting your search engine optimization, and buying and managing buyer reviews.
Until you might have an experienced in-house staff working on your social media presence and search engine optimization, creating your content material, gathering and managing buyer reviews, and monitoring your website and general online status, it is best to at least think about using a reputation management service.
If You’re an Entrepreneur You Need a Strong Online Reputation Management Strategy
Whether or not you are a new or old brand that seeks some extra attention online, reaching for an online reputation management service is a good first step you can take toward improving your image. The strategies that we covered in this article will help you begin the process of improvement.
Many online reputation services will follow the same steps to get you the service you asked for. In case you want to try repairing your image by yourself and improve your negative online reputation on your brand, this is a bulletproof process to follow.
Many services offer free reputation analysis in terms of your online reputation repair process, so you might get good insights into where you need to pay more attention. Business owners launch their local businesses and immediately hire a full-service agency to handle this point as a crucial step of positive brand building.
To summarize – you want to take care of your business and use reputation repair services since your good image will bring you more business, and with that – more income!