What is ORM (Online Reputation Management,)
and How to Manage It?
We have compiled these articles to assist you in your efforts to manage your online reputation. This is a difficult task, and the point of this compilation is to get as many ideas to you as possible! We have placed all of the reference article links at end of the compilation.
Your business works hard to keep your customers happy. You connect with customers one-on-one and tirelessly develop new products and features to meet customers’ needs.
But even with the best customer service, a business is bound to see its reputation take a hit now and then.
A customer posts an angry review for the whole internet to see. Or a less-than-flattering media story spreads far beyond what you expected.
That’s where online reputation management comes in.
By actively managing your reputation, you can minimize negative customer feedback and keep your online presence as positive as possible.
To help you get started, we’re walking through the what, why, and online reputation management—including strategies you can use for your business.
Let’s dive in!
Online reputation management (ORM) is when, to address any negative or false comments, you actively monitor mentions of your brand on websites and social media.
ORM mainly works by responding to negative customer comments online and reacting to stories in the media (both social and traditional) that paint your company in a bad light.
For example, you might release a public statement addressing the story’s content or publish a social media post in response.
Both public relations (PR) and online reputation management have the same goal: portraying the company in the best possible light. The main difference between the two is how they achieve that goal.
PR firms work externally, such as through advertising and coordinated media promotional efforts. It’s mostly a proactive effort to strengthen brands instead of minimizing attacks on companies (though PR firms sometimes handle damage control).
Online reputation management, on the other hand, is most often reactive. It involves looking for and responding to potentially damaging content from other people or companies.
Most of the work that goes into ORM is handled internally by brands rather than by an external firm.
The hits a brand takes online can be numerous, but they’re often small attacks—a negative comment here, a low star rating there.
None of these blows is worth a full-scale PR campaign, but they add up quickly.
You need online reputation management to take care of each of these little fires before they amount to serious damage.
ORM is also important for maintaining transparency—a vital ingredient of brand loyalty in 2020.
While there is still a place for orchestrated PR campaigns, consumers today are also looking for organic interactions with companies. They want to hear directly from businesses in personalized conversations, such as a direct message or an Instagram comment.
With online reputation management, your business combats negative claims by addressing them directly and openly.
Online Reputation Management and How It Impacts Your Business
Your online reputation determines how others perceive your business when they search for or stumble upon it online. Consequently, online reputation management (ORM) proactively influences what information people will find.
For instance, various techniques and strategies can help you push damaging and harmful content further down the Google search engine results pages (SERPs) by ranking your own or third-party more desirable material above it. Why is this important? Because the top five listings in Google’s search results receive about two-thirds of all clicks.
ORM is not only about managing content in search engines, though. It’s also about managing negative business reviews and encouraging happy clients to contribute more positive feedback.
Did you know that according to BrightLocal, “85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations”? What’s more, “49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business.”
Considering these statistics, the importance of your online personal and professional reputation can’t be understated. Here are the four distinct digital marketing channels involved in ORM, channels also referred to as the PESO Model.
Paid media includes all marketing efforts that require payment to feature your business on external websites and networks. This includes PPC advertising with Google AdWords, display ads on Facebook, and sponsored posts on industry/influencer blogs. Paid media extends your reach and drives traffic to your web properties by building new relationships with partners and customers.
Earned media describes the coverage of your business on external web entities for which you didn’t pay. It requires you to stand out from your competition with great content, products, or services that users consider worth sharing, mentioning, reposting, and reviewing.
Pages and profiles on social media are “an extension of your brand and create additional avenues for people to interact.” When it comes to social properties, it’s important to dedicate the resources to stay active by engaging in conversations and publishing fresh content regularly. As a general rule: not having a profile on a certain network is better than having an inactive one.
Why Reputation Management Is Important for Your Online Business
We have explained why online reputation management for your brand is critically important. However, let’s get into how exactly an efficient ORM strategy can benefit your business.
The lack of management of your online reputation can actually cost you your customer base. As 81% of buyers do some online research before making a purchase, the way you appear online is the make-it-or-break-it factor in their final decision. And your online reputation really a business quality check with 88% of consumers reading reviews to determine if your business is reliable enough.
85% of consumers treat online reviews as personal recommendations and trust them as a tip from a friend. It is great if your reviews are impeccable, but what happens if there was some bump on the road and someone posted a well-grounded negative comment?
In the age of social media, when news spread like wildfire, it can be an absolute bombshell.
- United Airlines lost over $1 billion in market value after a video of a passenger being violently forced away from an overbooked flight went viral. The video earned over a million mentions a day and over 100 million views. United Airlines was accused of failing to deal with the situation and the lack of PR crisis management.
- Nestlé also faced a notorious failure in reputation management when Greenpeace publicly accused them of harmful environmental practices. While Nestlé failed to react to the rising social media crisis, it even worsened it by asking YouTube to remove the Greenpeace video. In the aftermath, the company was forced to temporarily shut down its public page as people started posting the altered version of their Kit Kat logo all over the web.
A decade ago, things like PR and reputation management seemed like matters of concern for big businesses and celebrity personas. And it seemed like smaller brands had little to care about; their brand perception was a one-way alley with customers having little room for feedback.
After all, they could choose to ignore the business’s products and services, but their perception had little impact. But we are now living in an active audience era, one where people express their opinions about brands and services on several platforms online all the time.
With 71% of consumers starting their customer journey with a Google search, no business can afford to show up on the SERPs, appearing untrustworthy and disreputable.
To avoid any potential issues, here is an extensive guide on Online Reputation Management for businesses of any size and industry to help digital marketing professionals discover effective ways to manage their brand’s online reputation.
Here are the three main points we will cover:
- What Is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?
- Why Reputation Management Is Important for Your Online Business
- How to Manage Your Brand’s Online Reputation
How Online Reputation Management Works
In a nutshell, ORM is all about monitoring and managing your brand’s reputation across the web, ensuring that your business is properly represented and that potential customers are left with a great impression of who you are and what you do.
That said, multiple channels fall within Online Reputation Management, and since it may seem overwhelming at first to embrace all these channels, let’s think about them in terms of the PESO model. Here is a pretty extensive post on this topic.
Paid media implies all online content that requires payment to feature your brand (website, services, etc.). It involves channels like Google Ads, social media ads, sponsored posts, or promotions by influencers.
This aspect of ORM is fairly straightforward — you have full control over your own placements. You have to carefully check, though, if any of your competitors are advertising “against” your brand.
However, most paid media platforms have strict guidelines against such practices, and a single complaint can resolve this negative sentiment implication.
Earned media embraces the coverage that your brand receives from external platforms free of charge. They include:
- External articles,
- Press coverage
- Blogs and Vlogs
- Some industry-specific third-party listings (Glassdoor, Capterra, Trustpilot would all fall into this category).
Google My Business would also count as earned media as customers leave reviews for your business without you controlling it. Earned media should focus on all businesses; these sources help create a positive outlook and create trust with online visitors.
On top of your website, your business’s accounts across various social networks are your business card’s online version.
Unaddressed complaints, negative comments on Twitter, and low star ratings on Facebook can seriously harm your company’s reputation and turn potential customers off. You should pay attention to what is happening on your Twitter wall the same way you would treat the walls of your brick-and-mortar establishment.
You must track what brand mentions are popping up within other accounts and address the mentions that negatively portray your business.
Owned media largely relates to your website and blog — the properties that are under your full control. So, if you improve the ranking of the pages that are of utmost importance to your brand’s reputation and perception, you are on the right track.
Although your online reputation management job gets easier when you deal with online spaces you control, don’t forget that you have to establish an all-encompassing ORM process. As Google’s Danny Sullivan has put it when talking about Google, “We’re not a truth engine. We can give you information, but we can’t tell you the truth of a thing.”
Basically, he implies that Google will showcase whatever is the highest-ranking page for your branded search. So, popularity matters and not the inherent truth. Thus, it would help if you focused on all the channels your brand gets mentioned and manage your reputations across all of them.
You only have one reputation. Monitor it and keep on top of it so that you do not have a disaster. If you get stuck and should you need help, please reach out to hughesagency.ca today.
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