What is Online Reputation Management?
Online Reputation Management (ORM) is the process of managing, controlling, and improving your reputation over online platforms. It is a tool that helps you promote your brand and protect your business reputation. It does not matter whether your business is large or small—has one location or multiple ones—your customers keep talking about you online. These conversations can affect your business. You cannot overlook or underestimate these conversations. In just a micro-moment, information can create or destroy reputations today.
The online reputation of your company reflects your brand and the health of your business, in general, and also indicates your growth potential. This is the reason why ORM is so vital. A survey says 90% of the consumers first look at online reviews and customer feedback before making any buying decision. Online Reputation Management allows you to develop brand image and attract customers. ORM also helps you to answer pre-sales queries in real-time.
Before formulating your ORM Strategy, answer the following points
- When is your reputation at stake?
- How to design your ORM response?
- Negativity harms reputation
- Effective strategies for ORM
When is Your Reputation at Stake?
Even a minor issue, if not addressed properly, can make your brand vulnerable. Your brand image can be tarnished by just a few bad reviews or negative remarks over social media platforms. These can be anything from unhealthy business practices, customer issues, scandals, wrong brand propositions, or concerns related to employees.
Your own social media campaigns/posts can backfire on your brand reputation for several reasons. Here is an example of a crisis situation. In January 2017, top transport service provider Uber faced hate over social media for such reasons as sexual harassment cases and hostile work environments; in just a few days, it lost hundreds of users following the hashtag trend, ‘DeleteUber’.
The sooner an issue like this is addressed, the less likely it is to make your company/brand vulnerable! Although it is difficult to predict such sudden events, the best we can do is to have a ready ORM strategy with a crisis management plan in place for such incidents.
How to Design Your ORM Response?
Here are a few easy ways to keep your business reputation in great shape:
BE A TRANSPARENT COMPANY
Most of the time, hidden weaknesses become the primary reason behind bad reviews. You may not be delivering products as fast as customers expect, or the return policy does not allow refunds and it is hidden somewhere in the fineprint. A business with these anomalies remains worried that customers will not buy their products or services, so they try to mask their weaknesses. But, in the long run, disappointed customers never return. Moreover, they write bad reviews, which, in turn, also bring in fewer customers.
Transparency works much better! If you make your weaknesses clear in the first place, explain them and try to rise above them, you are likely to get some great reviews. Customers are more forgiving and loyal and give positive reviews for more transparent businesses.
SET UP AN ONLINE REVIEW PROFILE
It is quite impossible to please all your customers all the time. But if you are prepared, bad reviews should not hurt our business. The best thing you can do is stay ahead of negative reviews by developing your online reputation before any bad review can come in.
You can tell your unique business story with pictures and text, fill out the contact information and invite some of your customers to review the business. Having a proper online profile on review sites can be a valuable tool to help generate new business.
GET A FREE PROFILE ON REVIEW SITE
Your business profile on review sites should be free. Do not get into services that charge you to remove reviews or complaints, or claim to ‘manage your reputation’. Also, do not go to sites that charge you according to the number of reviews you get and force you to collect a certain number of reviews to earn higher star ratings.
MOST CERTAINLY, RESPOND TO REVIEWS
In the long run, businesses that respond to each review receive better reviews. It is better to thank every reviewer however they rate the business, because it tells existing, as well as potential, customers that you care and it does not seem you do only damage control while responding to negative reviews. It is also important to manage customer e-mails correctly.
Negativity Harms Your Reputation
If you respond to negative reviews correctly, it may not only help you to prevent damage to your online reputation, but also improve it. A proper and timely response can help you avoid negative media reports.
Many a time, you can even change the customer’s mind by engaging a reviewer and finding a human connect. Often, a polite response to a bad review makes the reviewer give the business a second chance. You can send a private message to the customer if you think you can resolve the complaint. After making the customer happy, you can politely ask the customer to reconsider the review. Your reply will be read by potential customers, who will see your commitment in providing the best possible experience to all.
Effective Strategies for Online Reputation Management
Some ways to manage online reputation:
- Monitor your online reputation
- Listen and engage
- Reply to reviews
- Get employee insights
Some other ways to improve your Online Reputation Management:
1. FOCUS ON SEO
Investing in SEO is important. Optimizing SEO factors not only help search engines crawl your website better, but also know where to rank you.
2. DELIVER ON YOUR PROMISES
Make promises you can keep. At times, if you fail to deliver 100%, try to manage the negative fallout with discount offers, refunds or some other offer.
3. POST POSITIVE CONTENT
Search engines look out for the latest and updated content. If you post new content on a regular basis, search engines will take all these into account while listing things on you. The search engines will rank the new positive contents higher up than the older negative ones.