Few things are more important than how people feel about your brand online. It makes customers, employees, and investors more likely to trust you. So, you can grow your business faster and get a better return on investment. Online reputation management is the best way to keep up the reputation of your brand.
Too many brands don’t invest in their digital reputation until they have a problem with their public relations. And that’s mostly because the industry hasn’t done a good job of explaining what reputation management is and when to spend money on it.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management, or ORM, is the process of taking care of online information about a person, company, or brand. ORM’s main goal is to create a search landscape that is accurate, stable, and easy to manage, and that shows the full story of an organization or CEO.
The process involves publishing and optimizing online content to control the first page of Google for branded searches. A typical ORM plan might include tactics like managing reviews, marketing on social media, public relations, search engine optimization, and customer service.
But search engine optimization is a more general term for digital reputation management (SEO).
Why? Because whether you’re working on brand health, full-on damage control, or repairing your reputation, your top priority should be to control what people see when they search for your brand.
In fact, 98% of people who use Google to look for something won’t look past the first page of the results. So, the content that shows up on page one has a huge impact on how people think. If you want to own your story, you need to be in charge of what people see on page one when they search for your brand.
Online reputation management, on the other hand, is done through a number of digital channels. To make a good impression of your brand, you need to take care of all of them. You can divide the channels into the following groups.
Owned media is any online content that you control, like the website for your brand, blogs, or pages on other websites.
Here is one area where SEO is very important. If you can get more controllable web pages on the first page of Google, Yahoo, Bing, or other search engines, you’ll have more control over your online reputation.
Earned media, on the other hand, is all of the free attention and coverage your brand gets from third-party platforms. For instance:
- About the news
- Blog posts and articles on other sites
- Forums (Quora, Reddit, etc) (Quora, Reddit, etc.)
- Listings from other sources (Capterra, Glassdoor, Trustpilot, etc.)
- Review sites you don’t control (Google, Yelp, etc.)
Earned media is a big part of managing your online reputation because positive mentions of your brand build trust with both your audience and with Google. Also, as Google’s algorithm sees more and more positive off-page signals, your brand will be seen as more authoritative and trustworthy, which will lead to higher rankings.
Shared media is any kind of content marketing that your brand and others use together. One example of shared media is the social media accounts you have. Even though you own your social media profiles and posts, anyone can respond with a positive or negative comment.
It’s important to pay attention to how people interact with your brand online, especially on shared media channels. If you have a lot of bad reviews on Facebook or Twitter, it can hurt the way people think of your brand.
Make a concerted effort to keep an eye on any real-time mentions of your brand and ask online reputation management services for help if you need to deal with negative feedback.
Why Reputation is Important
We’ve already talked about this, but it’s important to stress how much negative reviews affect how people feel about a brand.
These numbers are shocking and tell a very simple story. Most customers look for reviews, believe what they read, and base their decisions on what they find.
A Respected Brand is Worth Billions of Dollars
Due to the speed and reach of social media, a bad experience can spread like wildfire in just a few hours, destroying the reputation of your business. In 2017, a United Airlines flight crew had to drag a passenger off the plane. The event was caught on camera. The video quickly got more than 100 million views on social media sites.
What happened? The market value of United Airlines dropped by more than $1 billion. This and other similar examples show just how bad negative press can be for your brand.
Online Reputation Impacts Sales
Your online reputation also affects sales in a direct way. Before they buy something, 53% of people do research on a search engine.
If potential buyers see a lot of bad press or reviews about your brand, it could change how they feel about your business and make them decide to buy from one of your competitors instead.
On the other hand, if they see a lot of good reviews and press about your brand, they’re more likely to trust it and buy something from you.
Customer Care Gives Better Feedback
Taking care of your online reputation also lets you get helpful feedback from customers. So, you can improve your products and services, as well as the way your customers feel about your business.
Yes, you should do surveys and polls with your customers to improve your business. But don’t ignore feedback that you didn’t ask for because it could help you find new and better ways to serve your target audience.
Seven OMR Techniques for Brands
Let’s take a look at the most important things you can do to improve the reputation of your brand online.
1. Audit Your Brand
A brand audit is a very important first step in managing your online reputation. Make a list of everything you have online and evaluate it. This includes your website, blog, social media profiles, and business profiles on other sites.
Check out the results of your Google search as well. When people search for your brand name and related keywords, what do they find? Are there any results that are off-brand or bad? Are there too many news stories and not enough assets that can be used to build a brand? Remember that positive articles are great until something bad happens. Then, overnight, those stories will turn into bad news.
2. Look Out for Brand Mentions
Actively keeping an eye on how your brand is mentioned on the web is a good way to manage it online. Set up alerts for your brand name and keywords that are related to it, and then respond quickly to any mention, good or bad. This includes any mentions of your brand on social media as well as in blog posts, forums, videos, etc.
The faster you can find negative comments and stop them, the better. Most people are willing to let a company off the hook for honest mistakes if they try to make things right.
3. Settle Bad Comments
You might want to ignore bad reviews online and hope they go away, but that would be a mistake. Negative reviews are a chance for your brand to face problems head-on, show that it cares about customers, and connect with potential customers in a more genuine way.
You should respond to all reviews, whether they are good or bad. Even if a customer’s feedback is bad, thank them for it. And always come up with real answers to problems.
If a customer had a bad experience, they don’t want a 20% off coupon for their next purchase. If you do that, you won’t buy anything else. Go above and beyond to show customers that you stand behind your brand and that they can trust you to make things right.
4. Invest on SEO
SEO is an important part of managing your online reputation, but the strategy is different.
Most of the time, we use SEO to rank many different pages on one website for a variety of search queries. But in terms of online reputation management (ORM), we use SEO to rank a lot of different websites for a few brand-focused queries. So, you’ll be able to push down bad search results and replace them with good content that you control.
Your SEO strategy for a brand should focus on optimizing as many web pages as you can for keywords related to the brand.
- Make sure your website has useful content for both review pages and leadership pages.
- Build backlinks to the important pages you want to appear on the first page of Google.
- Through digital PR, events, sponsorships, and influencer marketing, you can get good things said about your brand.
- Be active on important social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram
- Claim and improve third-party profiles that are relevant to your business, like Google My Business, Yelp, Trustpilot, and business profiles where you control the content.
When using SEO for managing your reputation, keep in mind that Google almost always gives more weight to authoritative and trustworthy sources. In light of this, you should work to improve the authority and trustworthiness of your own website as well as your presence on other authoritative sites.
MTB Strategy does SEO and reputation management better than any other company, which is why we get reviews like these:
5. Use PR to Your Advantage
By getting good press for your brand, good public relations can help you improve your online reputation. This press can look a lot of different ways, such as:
- Posts as guests on good websites
- Executives of a company are interviewed
- News stories
- Promotional events
- Events for charity
- Co-marketing with well-known people or companies in your field
- Appearances on podcasts
You answer any and all questions on live streams. Public statements about any big mistakes your business has made. In terms of managing your online reputation, the goal of your public relations work is to show off your key values and build trust and expertise.
6. Encourage Customers to Write Reviews
One of the best ways to manage your online reputation is to ask customers to leave reviews on Google, Yelp, Trustpilot, Capterra, and other sites. Because good reviews can take up valuable space in Google’s search results and change how customers to act.
You can do a few things to get customers to write reviews, such as:
- Send emails to your customers asking them directly to review your business.
- Make it easy for them by telling them exactly where and how to leave a review.
- Offer them discounts or other special deals if they write a review.
- Respond to both positive and negative reviews so that customers feel like their opinions really matter.
When it comes to managing your online reputation, ustomer reviews are one of the most valuable things you can have. Use this to your advantage by asking customers to leave reviews on reputable review sites that are relevant to your business.
See how MTB Strategy helped one of our clients go from having three bad reviews on Trustpilot to having over 12,000 five-stars “Excellent” reviews.
7. Promote Positive Content
Lastly, share content that shows your brand in a good light, such as:
- Putting reviews and testimonials in a prominent place on your website
- Sharing good reviews on social media from time to time, along with a thank you to the reviewer
- Putting up endorsements of your brand from well-known third parties
- Working with influential people to spread the word about content you’ve made Sharing content where you’re mentioned in a good way
- Getting the word out about any work done with other people or brands
When to Hire a Reputation Management Team
When picking online reputation management services, there are a lot of things to think about. Here are some important things to think about before making a final choice.
- Do you have a history of working well with big companies like us?
- Can you tell me about your systems for privacy, security, and managing data?
- Can you show a history of long-lasting results, not just short-term ones?
- Do you have customers you can talk about?
- When did you start your business?
Fortune 1000 brands have a lot at stake. A bad reputation hurts hiring, keeping employees, making sales, and getting investors to trust you. So it’s very important to work with a company that knows how Google really works.
If you do well, we do well. Ask us how we can help make your brand’s online presence much stronger.