Creating a positive online image in today’s fierce business world is more than essential. This is because it plays a major factor in people’s purchase decisions. However, many brands underestimate the power of online reputation management until they are barraged with damaging content from all over. Everything from here on then starts to create what PR experts call, online reputation crises. It is a situation that no brand wants to be in. so, it is better to take control of your brand’s online reputation from the beginning.
However, it is a tough nut to crack, but do not worry, we are here to make things simple and easy for you. Here in this article, we will explain certain steps your brand can take to stay ahead of the game.
1. What is the meaning of Online Reputation?
The best way of understanding online reputation is through doing a Google search as you will find so many things that cannot go unexpected. There will be possible chances of being a wall between you and your customers where you cannot deal with business nicely. Websites are functional with one-way information flowing from the customers with communications going from the top down.
But the scenario has changed since the last decades with customers very eager for the brands and the products that they choose. This enables making use of online platforms. Many brands are encouraging customers to participate in all brands. From going through online communities, customer engagement has reached a completely new level. Even though it has so many benefits, there is a flip side to it as well.
Customers are more used to sharing experiences online. Whether sharing it through a Facebook post or even in a tweet, people can be seen sharing their experiences about products. This is the very fact that people will always remain online. Even if you don’t want people to remain online, they will stay no matter what. Being positive and prepared is the key to using online methods in a great way.
2. Threats to Online Reputation
For having a good online reputation, you need to know what leads to the negativity of your brand. Some of the ways are:
- Getting negative reviews
Reviews have become the part and parcel of life and if you are getting negative reviews then you won’t be interested in running your business positively. Whether it’s about writing a restaurant review or about a product on Amazon or Flipkart, people buy products mostly after reading reviews.
95% of the customers are reading reviews and buy depending on the reviews that they get. There are many dedicated sites only working for customer engagement and negative reviews can directly affect the reputation of the business.
- Having consumer complaints on social media
These are not harmful but if not handled properly then it can create a bad impression in society. Many customers take the resort of posting something on social media channels if they don’t get a good customer service or if they were delivered a bad product. Through social media sites, many people come to know of it and people start losing trust in you.
- Unfavorable media stories
When it comes to selling brands, the main thing is about bad publicity that can destroy the image of the brands. If you are selling products, you must sell only genuine and reliable ones. As the media sites are available 24×7, if you are selling bad things, media coverage can destroy your entire reputation which is not good for your business at all. For this, the best example can be Maggi which because of media coverage had to go through so much.
3. What is Online Reputation Management?
It is the process of influencing customers when they are planning to buy a product/service from you and putting good things about the brand on the internet. The brands are portrayed in such a way that they are constructive and customer eccentric in the same direction and way. Another way is combating all the negative results by dealing with them in interesting ways. You can convert the negatives into positives by working on the issues people faced with your brand and improve as er the needs of the customers.
4. Advantages of Online Reputation Management
Reputation management through digital marketing is so helpful for both new and old businesses alike. It gives a competitive edge to all the businesses working under the same niches. It also helps in increasing the revenues of businesses. Some of the benefits are:
- Helping in building brand image
Online reputation is the best way of stopping what people are telling you about your business on the Internet. Negative comments are so bad for business and it can take the business down. However, when the business is focusing only on the positive points, then it helps the brand in excelling. Negative reviews can’t be removed, but they can be reduced with more positive reviews by working on all aspects of the problems faced by customers. By doing this the company can be seen only concentrating on the positive parts of the brand and business.
- Helping in customer engagement
Whenever people are facing some problems with products/services or they are not getting what they want, then people tend to discuss this on online portals and forums. You can lose your prospective customers if you are not helping them in getting what they want. Online reputation management helps in assisting all the happy customers in focusing on the good of the company and tells positively about the business in forums.
Unhappy customers will also come to know of this and they will try to address their problems and solve them at the earliest. It is all about showing all the prospective customers about the fact that sometimes transactions might not work out the way you want it to. So, customers should not stop unless they get what they have been looking for.
- Optimizing of business
It also benefits other aspects of the business-like improvements in the weaker sections of the business and taking it in the right direction. Try enhancing the business to be able to deal with customer satisfaction. One of the pillars of brand reputation management is optimizing for the right keywords and anchor texts. Then write high-quality and relevant content and publish guest posts on high authority websites. The aim of SEO optimization is to provide more recognition to the brand by getting its name on the top of SERPs.
- Improving sales
In this competitive era, if the brand has a negative impact, it can lead to the downfall of the brand mattering both small and big businesses alike. The popularity of social media puts brands in a better picture and helps them to connect aggressively with all the customers. It helps in developing a strong brand reputation not only in the digital space but also in the hearts of consumers.
5. Importance of Online Reputation Management
The importance of online reputation can be seen in every business because every business wants to stay ahead and be profitable. ORM is important even when choosing your food and any online services because when you get negative comments, who will buy your products? Even when someone is looking for a dating app, they will check out the reviews so that they don’t fall into the trap. Every entrepreneur tries to give a proactive approach while monitoring public reputation.
They can achieve this using social media platforms and businessmen should check it at regular intervals to see whether they have got any negative comments. They can change their business strategies accordingly.
6. Marketing channels used in Online Reputation
Online reputation is also called online reputation marketing and there are several techniques that you can use for progressing with the same. Some of the key marketing channels are:
- Earned media
Earned media is mentioning the positive brands that you don’t need to pay for. They are earned because of superior quality and after using the products based on experience. Of course, you will always find positive influencers who can tell nicely about your products and they give nice reviews also on the forums. Customers are likely to buy from brands endorsed by someone famous or an authority figure in the industry. Influencer marketing helps build brand awareness and easily builds trust among your existing and potential customers.
- Paid media
Now, how can paid media go wrong? They are paid for saying positively about the business and they do their work amazingly well. It is like a quick fix on social media channels and even on forums and online platforms. Paid advertising is PPC advertising using Google Ad Words. It leads to distracting the attention of the customers on the bad part and they focus only on the good parts of the business. This is not such a nice option for the long term but in the case of short-term business, you can always resort to paid media.
- Owned properties
Owner properties are things like your blog and website where you put your content and people view it. Since there are so many platforms out there, you can put out the brand message on your blog as well. People when seeing your brand will come to know about all the products that your business deals with and this way, you will be able to earn profits. However, it is important to note that the owned properties are limited, so differentiate yours from others. You cannot afford to media advertising channels because they are costly so, owned properties are the best way of keeping your brand in the market.
- Social media
Social media is a great way of doing online reputation management as many people interact with one another here. Start a social media channel of your business and interact with people who are interested in your products and services. Ask them for advice to improve your products in any way. Customers can also enquire about their products easily through social media.
7. Principles of Online Reputation Management
Some of the tips for online effective reputation are:
- Promoting transparency
Transparency is the main thing in business and many small-sized businesses are not open to their customers. Transparency can sometimes lead to confusion and inconsistency. Transparent companies have a way of shaping the world. They talk to their employees openly and if any suggestions are given, they even take it positively.
- Monitoring of brand mentions
For controlling online reputation, first, try handling what is being said about you. Use the right tools for monitoring your products and know what people think about you online. If people are saying bad about your brand, then you can try crafting all the responses accordingly. Try addressing all the negative comments and highlight only the positive ones to the channels. This way, you can create a cool set of brand mentions just the way you like it.
- Effective use of ORM tools
There are many online reputation tools for making it simpler. It is your choice of selecting only the best ones. Some like GoFish help in finding the negative reviews that you will not find anywhere else and change them into positive ones. SEO Spyglass helps in monitoring of the backlinks affecting your reputation when it comes to SEO.
- Building credibility
Trust is the main thing for building credibility, and it requires hard work to gain and explore the market. There are so many tools available for helping in building credibility. You can make guest posts for personalizing videos and there is much you can do with your trusted brand.
Online reputation is something every brand imagines of living with. But it is not found so easily. The bigger your business gets; the more people talk about it. You cannot control the online voices, as they only can help you move ahead with the narrative. You must manage your online reputation pro-actively and only then you can go ahead with building your reputation.