A survey conducted by Statista showed that nearly 70% of consumers read one to six client reviews before making a purchase online. Given the stock that customers put on other users’ feedback of a product, and by extension, the brand, it’s clear that online reviews can impact a company’s bottom line. Online reputation management (ORM), therefore, takes on much significance to build brand credibility and gain customer trust. Digital marketers need to embrace effective steps to develop impactful ORM strategies to overcome unfavorable comments or negative reviews. So, what exactly can brands do to build and maintain a healthy online reputation? Read on to find out!
What is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?
As the term suggests, ORM is the process of monitoring, managing, and improving a brand’s reputation on the Internet. This includes monitoring and controlling the spread of negative information as well as promoting positive information about the brand. Overall, the primary goal of ORM is to ensure that the public’s perception of a brand should be positive, accurate, and in line with the brand’s vision and culture.
Why is ORM Important for Brands?
The key focus of online reputation management, or ORM, is to create a positive perception of a brand or business. All collateral—articles, social posts, comments, reviews, press releases, links, and blogs—are closely monitored to ensure there is a positive public perception. ORM is important as it provides brands with the following benefits:
Monitoring the Brand Presence Online
With the rise of social media and online reviews, it’s more important than ever for brands to be aware of what’s being said about them in the digital space. Online reputation management allows brands to monitor their digital presence and brand mentions in online reviews, blog posts, and news articles. They should also respond to any negative reviews or comments.
Protecting the Brand Image
Misleading information can destroy a brand image in the blink of an eye, which often takes years to build. By adopting ORM, brands can address negative feedback on social media platforms directly. Brands can also review sites to mitigate potential damage to their reputation.
Building Trust and Credibility
Positive reviews and comments can help build trust and credibility among potential consumers. By maintaining a healthy online reputation, digital marketers ensure that social media and search engines are largely dominated by brand-empowering content. This helps portray a positive image that can help build consumer trust.
Improving Customer Service
Online reputation management can help brands identify and address key customer concerns as well as improve service or product quality for a better customer experience and higher retention rates.
Identifying New Opportunities
By monitoring online conversations, brands can understand customer expectations and requirements more accurately and introduce new products and services into the marketplace.
Maintaining Competitive Edge
With so many brands competing for attention online, it’s important for businesses to maintain a healthy online reputation to stand out. Brands can gain an edge over the competition with a smartly managed and well-designed ORM strategy. It should focus on online review management, social media marketing, SEO, and good-quality customer service, brands can gain that edge over the competition.
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How Can Brands Manage Their Online Reputation?
Managing a brand’s online reputation can be challenging in this era of constant Internet outreach. This is because consumers can easily share product or service experiences using online review sites (Google My Business, Yelp) and social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook). Therefore, digital marketers need to implement several tactics to maintain a healthy online reputation. Here are some ways to achieve this:
Monitor and Respond to Customer Feedback
This can be done by monitoring social media channels, review sites, and forums to see what customers are saying about a brand. By responding to both positive and negative feedback, brands can demonstrate to customers that they care about their opinions and are willing to address any issues they might have.
Utilize Customer Service Platforms
Having a dedicated customer service platform, such as a helpdesk, can provide customers with the resources they need to address their concerns quickly and efficiently. This helps to prevent negative reviews from being posted online.
Create Positive Content
By creating and sharing valuable, engaging content, such as blog posts, infographics, or videos, you can provide customers with the right information about your products, and shape the conversation around your brand online.
Engage with Influencers
Collaborating with influencers can help boost a brand’s online reputation. Since influencers have a wide audience outreach, this strategy can provide brands access to the influencers’ followers to create and maintain positive brand associations.
Being transparent about a brand’s values, mission, and operations can help a brand build customer trust and improve its online reputation. This can be done through transparent communication on a brand’s website, social media, review sites, and online forums.
Create a Crisis Communication Plan
It’s essential to have a communication plan in place in case of a crisis, such as a negative news story or, in more extreme cases, a social media scandal. An emergency plan can help you respond to any negative reviews quickly and effectively to minimize the damage to your brand’s reputation.
Take Advantage of SEO
With the right SEO activities, brands can accentuate the positive about their business. An effective SEO strategy can optimize a brand’s website or social media content with the target keywords for a successful ORM campaign.
Use Reputation Management Tools
There are several online reputation management tools such as Google Alerts, SEMrush, and Reputology that can help digital marketers monitor a brand’s online reputation, respond to customer feedback, and track progress over time. By implementing these tools in the workflow, businesses can build strong relationships with consumers.
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Why do Some Brands Struggle to Maintain a Healthy Reputation Online?
According to a global survey conducted by AdAge, 71% of marketing executives are concerned about managing their brand’s reputation in today’s digital advertising landscape. To help address their looming concerns, let’s first understand the key reasons why their brands may be struggling to maintain a positive reputation online:
Lack of Understanding of Social Media and Online Platforms
Many marketing executives are unable to adopt impactful ORM strategies for their brands. This is because they do not possess end-to-end knowledge of how social media and online platforms work.
Many brands do not have sufficient resources to devote to monitoring and managing their online reputation. It can lead to the spread of negative reviews and comments going unchecked.
Not Staying Updated with Industry Trends and Customer Preferences
Brands and marketing professionals who do not stay up-to-date with industry trends and customer preferences may come across as outdated. This can negatively impact brand engagement and affect brand reputation.
Five Steps to Follow to Ensure a Good Online Reputation
Every social media comment, review, and blog post redefines and changes a brand’s online reputation. So if you want to stay ahead of the competition, you need to proactively manage the feedback you receive online. This also empowers you to make improvements when necessary. Here are five effective steps to do so:
- Monitor Your Online Presence: Keep track of what is being said about your brand on the internet so that you can address any negative information quickly and effectively.
- Respond to Negative Feedback: Address any negative reviews you receive in a timely and professional manner. Start by apologizing and sympathizing with your customers, and try to find an effective solution to their problems.
- Create Engaging Content: Share informative and engaging content such as blog posts and videos to showcase your brand’s strengths and values. You can also encourage online discussions and post interesting stories on social media to increase your online influence.
- Encourage Positive Reviews: Don’t be afraid to ask for a review. Encourage your customers to leave positive reviews on review sites and forums and showcase positive experiences on social media.
- Invest in Reputation Management Services: Seek expert help from reputation management professionals if your brand is struggling to maintain a healthy online reputation. They can also help fix the problem with a specialized approach.
Learn with Emeritus to Achieve New Heights of Success
Managing its online reputation is crucial for any brand to succeed in today’s digital age. With the right skills and knowledge, digital marketing executives can ensure that brands attract and retain consumers. Enroll in Emeritus’ online digital marketing courses to implement high-impact marketing strategies in your organization!