A Complete Guide to Online Reputation Management (Part 1)

Date Published
November 17, 2022

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A Complete Guide to Online Reputation Management (Part 1)

A decade or so ago, reputation management and crisis management were the exclusive domain of public relations professionals and communication strategists. Nowadays, in order to be recognized as a digital marketing specialist or expert, you must have at least a fundamental understanding of online reputation management.

In addition to moderation, monitoring, and listening, the phrase "community management" was established expressly for social media. These are rather simple technical aspects; the true magic of community managers is in their ability to manage reputation and anticipate and avert possible brand crises.

I have been lucky to have been exposed over the years to multiple brand crises in diverse industries such as banking, politics, public sector, healthcare, food and beverage, and real estate. It does get unpleasant, but trust me, it fosters creativity, strategic thinking, and character regardless of how you tackle it: client-side marketing, agency creative, agency planner, community manager, client servicing, social media manager.

In a two-part blog article, I will offer my expertise and knowledge on all aspects of crisis management, albeit I will only discuss the technical skills that may be acquired or implemented instantly. In this piece, I shall define online reputation management and demonstrate its significance. In part two, I will outline numerous measures for managing your digital reputation and ensuring that it remains as pleasant as possible.

So, what is Online Reputation Management?

Online Reputation Management is a multifaceted concept that aims to improve the public's image of a brand, organization, or individual. Reputation management entails monitoring reputation, addressing any content or consumer comments that could harm the brand, and employing techniques to prevent and resolve problems that could harm the reputation of an entity. Online Reputation Management is, in a nutshell, the monitoring and management of your brand's reputation across the web, ensuring that your business is accurately portrayed and that potential customers have a favorable picture of who you are and what you do. However, Online Reputation Management encompasses various channels, and since it may appear daunting to embrace all these channels, let us consider them in terms of the PESO model.

Paid Media Paid media refers to all online ads. You may want to set aside a budget for "brand building" pay for premium content to feature your brand (website, services, etc.). Paid media includes platforms such as Google Ads, social media ads, sponsored posts, and influencer marketing. This component of ORM is rather simple; you have complete control over your placements.

Earned Media Earned media encompasses the free coverage your brand obtains from external platforms. This includes external publications, press coverage, blogs, vlogs, and forum user posts. This category might include industry-specific third-party listings such as Glassdoor. "Google My Business" would also qualify as earned media, as people post reviews for your company without your control. Earned publicity should be a priority for all businesses; these sources assist in generating a good outlook and instill confidence online.

Owned Media Owned media applies primarily to your website and blog, which are under your exclusive control. Therefore, you are on the right track if you attempt to improve the ranking of pages that are crucial to the reputation and perception of your company. Do not forget to build a comprehensive ORM approach, despite the fact that managing your online reputation becomes simpler when you are dealing with online spaces that you own. Google's Danny Sullivan has stated, "We’re not a truth engine. We can give you information, but we can’t tell you the truth of a thing. ."  In essence, he means that Google will display the page with the greatest rating for your branded search. Thus, popularity is more important than the fundamental truth. Therefore, you should concentrate on all channels where your business is mentioned and attempt to control your reputations across all of them.

Shared media In addition to your website, your firm's social media accounts are the online equivalent of a business card.  Unresolved complaints, negative remarks on Twitter, and a low star rating on Facebook can severely damage your company's reputation and deter future customers. You should treat social media equally as you would have treated a bad article review in a newspaper in the yesteryears. It is essential that you monitor brand mentions that appear on other accounts and respond to those that depict your company poorly. This area also includes sponsorship arrangements; you may wish to learn about the Adidas/Kayne West recent fallout.

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Why is Online Reputation Management so important?

I have outlined the significance of online reputation management for your brand. However, let us examine how an effective ORM strategy might specifically assist your organization.

Influence on Purchasing Decisions The absence of an online review management system can cost you customers. As 81% of consumers conduct online research prior to making a purchase, your online presence is the deciding element in their ultimate selection. And your online reputation is a quality check for your organization, as 88% of consumers read reviews to evaluate if your company is trustworthy.

It is the online equivalent of word-of-mouth 85% of consumers regard online reviews as personal recommendations and place equal faith in them as a friend's advice. It is excellent if your reviews are flawless, but what if there was a hiccup in the road and someone left a legitimately poor review? A viral video depicting a passenger being forcibly removed from an overbooked airplane caused United Airlines to lose over $1 billion in market value. The video received over one million daily mentions and over 100 million views. The United Airlines CEO was accused of failing to handle the situation and a lack of public relations crisis management. Greenpeace's public accusation of Nestlé's detrimental environmental policies was another infamous reputation management failure for the company. Nestlé failed to respond to the escalating social media issue and exacerbated the situation by requesting YouTube to remove the Greenpeace video. As a result, the company was obliged to temporarily lock down its public page, as the changed Kit Kat logo began to spread around the Internet.

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There is no "delete" button for negative reviews The Internet stores practically everything. Whatever people are saying about your business online is going to remain online, but you do have the opportunity to alter negative sentiment. A correct approach can turn a dissatisfied customer into a devoted supporter. According to a Lee Resource survey, 70% of customers who lodged a complaint and received a satisfactory answer will do business with the company again. In addition, Harvard Business Review published a study indicating that customers whose complaints are resolved within five minutes are more likely to make future purchases from your company.

You Can Acquire Valuable Feedback Monitoring is fundamental to managing your internet reputation. You can begin to collect vital information regarding customer satisfaction and product or service feedback. Before conducting polls, surveys, or traveling the world in search of customer feedback, you can just listen to what customers have to say about your business.

In summary, we have defined the four types of mediums we should constantly take note of and monitor, the PESO model: paid, earned, shared, and owned mediums. I also shared four crucial reasons to why online reputation management is important: it highly influences your customers’ purchase decisions, it is the online equivalent of word-of-mouth, there is “delete” button for negative reviews (it takes a lot of hard work, strategic decisions, and the involvement of several team members across the organization), and it can be an essential source or acquiring valuable feedback.

To conclude, one should not avoid online reputation management, it must be taken seriously and reviewed daily best practice is three times a day. In a couple of days I will share the follow up to this article and breakdown the methodologies and frameworks of how best to manage reputation online.

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