Your Essential Guide to Online Reputation Management

Keeping a good reputation is key to growing and keeping your brand’s image on the internet. Take online reviews as an example. About 76% of people look at them when they’re checking out businesses.

This means a bad review or comment can really hurt your reputation and, as a result, your business’s success. That’s why it’s important to always keep an eye on your online reputation.

But what is online reputation management (ORM)? And how do you know if you’re doing it right?

In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about ORM, why it matters for your business, and share some tips on how you can maintain a great image for your brand.

What Is Online Reputation Management?

If you know about public relations (PR), then you’ll understand online reputation management (ORM) easily.

Just as PR experts help shape a company’s image in the media, ORM involves keeping an eye on and improving how people see your brand on the internet.

ORM isn’t just about managing your image; it also includes dealing with any negative comments or reviews and taking steps to boost your online presence.

Online reputation management means building up good reviews, testimonials, and content on the internet to maintain a positive reputation through digital channels like Google. 

ORM is crucial because it can impact a company’s profits, and nowadays, every online brand focuses on it. This is why it’s becoming a key part of marketing strategies for businesses.

When it comes to managing your brand’s reputation, you essentially do four things:

  • Monitor: Watch what people are saying about your brand online.
  • Respond: Not responding is a big mistake in ORM. It’s important to reply to negative feedback quickly and professionally.
  • Improve: Actively work to enhance your online presence using methods like content marketing and managing social media.
  • Promote: Use good reviews and content to lift your brand’s image online.

Think of online reputation management as a never-ending effort to create, keep up, and enhance your brand’s image online.

When someone looks up your company, you want them to find a well-maintained, positive, and accurate view of your brand. That’s what ORM helps you achieve.

Six Reasons Why We Need Online Reputation Management

Why is managing your brand reputation essential? Every business, no matter the size, should prioritize ORM (Online Reputation Management).

Online reputation management influences a company’s sales, marketing, and overall digital marketing profile,” showing its critical role in a business’s success.

Here are six reasons why managing your brand’s reputation is worthwhile:

  • Increased Trust and Credibility 

    • In the digital age, a strong online reputation is crucial as it directly influences how much trust potential customers place in your business. Positive reviews and a good online presence can significantly enhance their perception of your credibility.
    • Establishing trust is especially important after negative incidents. For instance, after the United Airlines incident in 2017 where a passenger was forcibly removed, the airline’s reputation suffered greatly. If they had a robust ORM system, they could have mitigated the damage by quickly addressing the issue and demonstrating their commitment to customer satisfaction.
    • A credible online presence reassures customers that they are dealing with a reputable company. Responding to both positive and negative feedback promptly and appropriately is key to maintaining this trust and credibility.
  • Enhanced Visibility in Search Rankings

    • ORM significantly affects how your business ranks in search engine results. Search engines favor websites with positive reviews and high user engagement, which means actively managing your online reputation can lead to better visibility.
    • By employing strategies such as encouraging customers to leave positive reviews and optimizing content with relevant keywords, businesses can improve their search engine optimization (SEO).
    • Higher search rankings not only increase the likelihood of being noticed but also strengthen the public’s perception of your brand as trustworthy and popular. 
    • Effective ORM ensures that the first impression potential customers get from a search engine is a positive one, drawing more traffic to your site and increasing the chances of conversion.
  • Greater Customer Engagement

    • A well-managed online reputation encourages higher customer engagement. When customers see a brand consistently receiving and positively responding to feedback, they are more likely to interact with that brand. 
    • Engagement goes beyond reviews and comments; it also includes sharing experiences on social media and through word of mouth. A positive online reputation means that these shared experiences are likely to be favorable, which can attract new customers.
    • Actively engaging with customers online shows that a brand values their opinions and is committed to customer satisfaction. This not only strengthens relationships with existing customers but also attracts new ones who observe this positive interaction. 
  • Effective Crisis Management

    • Online reputation management is vital for effective crisis management. By monitoring what is being said about your brand online, you can quickly identify and address any emerging issues before they escalate.
    • A well-prepared ORM strategy includes having a response plan for negative situations. This might involve addressing a customer’s complaint publicly and resolving their issue promptly, which can turn a potentially damaging situation into an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to customer service.
    • Effective crisis management helps maintain control over the narrative surrounding your brand. Without it, negative news can spread quickly and damage your reputation, potentially leading to a loss of customer trust and revenue. 
  • Insights Into Customer Preferences and Feedback

    • Managing your online reputation provides crucial insights into customer preferences and feedback. This ongoing collection of data is invaluable for understanding what your customers appreciate and what areas need improvement.
    • These insights can guide your business strategies, from product development to marketing campaigns. By knowing what your customers want, you can tailor your offerings to better meet their needs, which can lead to increased satisfaction and loyalty.
    • Regularly analyzing feedback also helps businesses stay ahead of trends and adapt to changing consumer behaviors. This proactive approach ensures that your products and services remain relevant and competitive in the market. 
  • Positive Impact on Sales and Revenue

    • A positive online reputation has a direct impact on sales and revenue. Customers are more likely to purchase from a brand they trust, and a strong online presence built through positive reviews and customer testimonials can lead to increased sales.
    • ORM turns happy customers into brand ambassadors. Their positive reviews and testimonials serve as powerful endorsements, influencing others to try your products or services. This word-of-mouth marketing is highly effective and cost-efficient.
    • Furthermore, by continuously improving your offerings based on customer feedback gathered through ORM, you can enhance product quality and customer satisfaction. This leads to repeat business and reduces customer churn, both of which are crucial for long-term revenue growth. 

4 Most Common Types of Online Brand Reputation Management

  • Reputation Repair

When your brand’s image suffers because of negative reviews, bad press, or customer complaints, you need to fix it. This usually means creating new, positive content to overshadow the bad. The goal is to regain your audience’s trust and show that you’re working on making things better.

  • Franchise Reputation Management

If you have multiple locations, managing the reputation of each can be tricky. Negative feedback at one location can affect the whole franchise. To handle this, you should:

  • Make sure all locations have correct and consistent information online.
  • Respond quickly to customer reviews.
  • Keep an eye on reviews from all locations to spot trends and solve issues.
  • The aim is to keep a uniformly positive image for your entire franchise while quickly dealing with any problems at individual locations.
  • Social Media Reputation Management

Managing your reputation on social media is crucial because it’s where many customers first encounter your brand. This goes beyond just posting content; it involves:

  • Interacting with followers and addressing their concerns.
  • Monitoring your brand’s mentions to quickly handle any negativity or wrong information.
  • Having a well-managed social media presence helps maintain your company’s overall image and appeal.
  • Automated Reputation Management

Keeping track of all the different places your brand is talked about can be overwhelming. That’s where automated tools come in. They can help you:

  • Monitor and initiate review-gathering campaigns automatically.
  • Customize how you’re notified about new reviews.
  • View analytics on your online profiles.
  • These tools take on much of the hard work, making it easier to manage your online reputation effectively.

5 Online Reputation Management Tips To Consider

1. Focus on Customer Experience and Swift Issue Resolution

    • Ensuring a positive customer experience is fundamental in managing your online reputation. Every interaction with your brand should be a reflection of your commitment to customer satisfaction.
  • To excel in this area:
    • Train Your Team: Equip your customer service team with the tools and training necessary to handle inquiries and issues efficiently.
    • Respond Quickly: Speed is crucial. Aim to respond to customer complaints and queries as quickly as possible to mitigate negative impressions.
    • Follow-up: After resolving an issue, follow up to ensure the customer is satisfied with the solution and feels valued by your brand.
  • This proactive approach not only solves individual customer problems but also prevents these issues from escalating into negative reviews and bad online press. A swift and effective response can often turn a disgruntled customer into a loyal supporter.

2. Create Brand Ambassadors from Your Customers

  • Turning your customers into brand ambassadors is a powerful way to enhance your reputation online. Satisfied customers who speak on your behalf can influence others more effectively than traditional marketing efforts.
  • Strategies to create brand ambassadors include:
    • Encourage Reviews: Prompt your customers to leave positive reviews after a purchase or a positive interaction.
    • Reward Loyalty: Implement a loyalty program that rewards customers for repeat business and referrals.
    • Engage Regularly: Keep in touch with your customers through regular newsletters, special offers, and personalized communication.
  • By actively engaging with and rewarding your customers, you encourage them to share their positive experiences with others, thereby naturally boosting your online reputation.

3. Leverage Reactive Marketing Strategies

    • Reactive marketing involves responding to current events, trends, or customer feedback in a way that aligns with your brand values. This strategy can demonstrate your brand’s personality and relevance.
  • Effective reactive marketing techniques include:
    • Monitor Trends: Stay updated with the latest news and trends that relate to your industry so you can react appropriately.
    • Be Timely: Timing is crucial in reactive marketing. Quickly leveraging a trend can position your brand as a thought leader.
    • Stay True to Your Brand: Ensure all reactive marketing efforts align with your brand’s message and values to maintain authenticity.
  • When done right, reactive marketing can significantly enhance your brand’s visibility and reputation by showing that your company is attentive and engaged with its audience.

4. Build a Community Around Your Brand

    • Creating a community around your brand can lead to a stronger, more loyal customer base. A sense of community can increase trust and loyalty, as customers feel they are part of something larger than just a transaction.
  • Tips to build a community include:
    • Use Social Media: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are excellent for building communities. Regularly post engaging content and participate in conversations.
    • Host Events: Whether online or offline, events bring people together and foster a sense of community.
    • Provide Value: Offer valuable information, assistance, and entertainment to keep your community engaged and growing.
  • This community will not only support your brand through purchases but will also defend and promote your brand to others, amplifying your positive reputation.

5. Consistency Always Wins

    • Consistency in your messaging, values, and customer interaction plays a pivotal role in maintaining a strong online reputation.
  • Key aspects of consistency include:
    • Brand Voice: Maintain a consistent tone and style across all platforms.
    • Quality Control: Ensure your products and services consistently meet a high standard.
    • Regular Updates: Keep your digital presence fresh with regular updates and responsive communication.
  • Staying consistent helps to build and maintain trust with your audience, making your brand appear more reliable and trustworthy. In the realm of online reputation management, consistency is not just about avoiding negative reviews; it’s about reinforcing a positive and predictable brand experience that customers can rely on time and again.

Conclusion

ORM is more than just a defensive tactic; it’s a proactive approach to enhancing your brand’s digital footprint. In essence, ORM is a multifaceted strategy integral to modern marketing efforts. It helps establish trust, increase credibility, and, ultimately, drive business success. By implementing effective ORM practices, you ensure your brand not only survives but thrives in the competitive online arena, turning potential crises into opportunities for growth and enhancing overall customer satisfaction.