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 the management of your online reputation (ORM)?
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.
Paid for media
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.
Media was shared
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.
Paid media includes all channels, platforms, and digital marketing tools where you have to pay to show off your brand. Paid media includes ads on social media, Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, sponsored messages on LinkedIn, display ads, native ads, and sponsored content.
Paid media gives you some chances to reinforce the story you want to tell. But it’s not as valuable as earned or owned media because people trust organic search results more than ads.
Why it's important to take care of your reputation
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.
The good name of your 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.
Impact on 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.
What Customers Say
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.
Online reputation management examples
Managing your online reputation isn’t just for brands in trouble. In fact, preventing problems is a very important part of keeping a good name. Today, bad news and opinions can spread quickly and hurt a brand’s reputation in real-time.
Here are just a few ways MTB Strategy helped customers improve their online reputations:
An executive at a multi-billion-dollar company
An executive at a multibillion-dollar company whose business took a hit after a major news website posted an unfavorable story. Even though the story was wrong, it was picked up by other news outlets. The executive’s social media accounts eventually shared the story, which hurt the business’s bottom line. MTB Strategy changed the way the executive’s search landscape worked so that it told a more accurate and complete story of the person’s accomplishments.
A major financial services company
There was a big financial services company whose sales were hurt by a few bad reviews. Unluckily, a small number of bad reviews had a big effect. During the sales process, potential customers often brought up the reviews, which made it harder for the company to close deals. MTB Strategy got the company back in charge of the first page of Google.
A top manager at a well-known company
An executive at a well-known company kept hearing about an old news story. When people Googled the name of the executive, they found an old story about a business deal that had happened in the past. MTB Strategy moved the out-of-date and useless article further down in Google’s search results, where only a small number of people would find it.
As you can see from the examples above, problems with your online reputation can have big effects on your business. Also, problems that start with a key person at the company can hurt the reputation of the brand.
How managing an online reputation for a business is different
Most companies that help people manage their online reputations tend to focus on local business listings or personal branding for people.
But scale changes the rules when it comes to big businesses. Millions of customers are affected by mistakes. So, business owners lose control of what their brand says online and off.
Say, for example, that your website goes down for three hours. If the website belongs to a small business, customers might not even notice. But for an enterprise e-commerce business, that same three-hour window could cost them millions of dollars in sales. Even worse, it would probably be on the news in the evening.
And if you have a platform for businesses like Slack or Facebook? Prepare for three hours of memes on social networks that look like Armageddon.
Now think about what would happen if a customer was hurt by a mistake or a company executive did something really bad. What happens if your website is hacked and bad people get access to your customer’s information?
Small businesses can move on quickly, but enterprise businesses will have to deal with a storm that could last for weeks, months, or even years.
How the management of an executive’s online reputation is different
In the public’s mind, many brands are inextricably linked to their founders or CEOs. This is especially true if the company has a strong history. You can’t talk about Tesla or SpaceX, for example, without mentioning Elon Musk. Besides that, he has made himself into a brand by promoting his own history and getting nicknames like “The real-life Iron Man.”
Not every CEO wants to be famous, but it comes with the territory when they run a well-known brand. CEOs are getting a lot of attention because of social media. And mistakes are a big deal to customers.
When CEOs do things that are controversial, it can lead to bad news cycles and social media boycotts. A single Tweet can cause the price of a stock to drop and drive investors away.
Because of this, CEO reputation management creates a legacy for an executive that goes beyond their role as leader of the company.
7 Online reputation management techniques for brands
Let’s take a look at the most important things you can do to improve the reputation of your brand online.
- Do an audit of 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.
- Listen for mentions of your brand
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.
- Respond to 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.
- Spend money 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:
- 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.
- Ask 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, customer 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.
- 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
Nine tools for managing your online reputation
Managing and keeping track of your online reputation takes a lot of work and time. There are a lot of tools that can help you keep track of your online reputation so you can see how people see your brand.
Here are 9 of our favorite tools for managing your online reputation:
BrandMentions lets you listen in on all social networks and a wide range of blogs, news sites, and review sites. Then, it gives you an overview of how people are talking about your brand and who is doing so. You can also see who is talking about your competitors, which can help you figure out how they are managing their reputations.
Buzzsumo is a platform that lets you look for content on the web that is about certain terms or brands. You can see how popular a piece of content is and who has shared it and where. This is a great way to find out what people are saying about your brand online and to keep track of your share of voice.
With Mention, brands can keep an eye on what people are saying about them on social media and online. You can learn a lot about who is talking about your brand and what they are saying by using the platform. You can respond directly to specific conversations on social media, and you can also make content for social media based on the trends you see in your audience.
Google Alerts is a free tool that lets you keep track of when your name, brand, products, keywords, and competitors are mentioned online. Once it finds a reference to the words you put in, it will send you an email with the link.
Socialmention is an online tool that lets you type in a word or phrase and then choose from a number of ways to look for it. It can search blogs, microblogs, images, and more, and the results from the last day will be shown. You can find conversations about your brand that you might have missed without fine-grained filtering.
Reputology is a platform for keeping an eye on reviews that can help a business keep track of them. It can keep track of reviews about your brand on many different review sites and let you respond to them. It also lets you poll customers automatically at key points in the customer journey, so you can find problems and fix them before they become big.
Birdeye offers tools for large businesses to manage their online reputations and give their customers great experiences. One of its best features is that you can automatically ask customers for reviews and then reply to them on more than 150 review sites. This makes it much easier to get good reviews from customers and to deal with any bad ones that come up.
GatherUp is a set of tools that helps you manage online reviews and improve the customer experience. It has tools for asking for reviews, tools for responding to reviews, and tools for social media that make it easy to share good reviews. It also has a review widget built in that can be put on any website. So, you can get feedback from Voice of the Customer and keep an eye on your online reputation.
Meltwater is a brand reputation monitoring platform that has everything you need in one place. It lets you keep an eye on a lot of different things, like social media, online news, print media, podcasts, review sites, and more. It also has a tool for managing social media that lets you post content and interact with your followers. It also has a social influencer management platform that lets you find relevant influencers and run campaigns for reputation management.
When to hire a company to handle your online reputation
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.