Online reputation management is the use of internet-based tools and techniques to monitor, manage, and respond to online brand-related conversations from both a company’s perspective and from the perspective of the people who have had experiences with that company. Online reputation management is usually associated with websites and blogs, although it can be extended to other media such as video and download sites.
Online reputation management (ORM) is a new concept in marketing that represents a paradigm shift from the traditional methods of ERM, also known as offline reputation management. The growing influence of online communication on consumer behavior demands that marketers respond to the new environment and develop strategic plans for managing their brands’ images in this new medium.
ORM is a practice typically employed by companies or individuals who have a strong connection to their online presence, called online ambassadors. If an individual, the brand will likely be a product, cause, service or business. It can also involve businesses who have a significant presence on the Web to manage perceptions of their products, services and/or brands. ORM strategies are actions designed to modify or improve what people think about a company or its products/services. In addition, reputation management is about building relationships with one’s stakeholders. It is about using the Internet to communicate, showing that the company cares about its reputation, and building trust with customers.
While traditional reputation management approaches typically focus on one dimension (e.g., responding to negative news), ORM is about an integrated approach that combines all dimensions of reputation management (Canepa & Scarpelli 2004). It also recognizes the importance of web-generated information as an input for downstream marketing actions such as advertising and promotion.
ORM is primarily employed by companies to enhance their online reputation. This means developing an online brand identity, which typically involves having a blog, actively posting on message boards, social networking sites, etc. It also means adding positive content to company websites and social networking pages. However, it is primarily focused on addressing individuals or consumers who have experienced a problem with the company’s products or services.
ORM is also used by individuals to upgrade their online reputation. This is done by adding positive content to blogs and social networking sites, in addition to periodically responding to complaints and disputes online. It can be a way of curating or creating a personal brand in the eyes of others.
As more companies turn to the internet for advertising and marketing, they must be conscious of how their reputation will impact their business. As noted by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, “the way we engage with people via social media will ultimately affect their perception of our brand, and by extension, our business.” A bad reputation can be extremely detrimental to a company by preventing them from advancing to higher market segments or preventing them from retaining customers that may have otherwise continued doing business with the company. This is especially important in industries such as service and medical where service providers must work directly with their customers. A service provider’s reputation can become impeded if they do not manage their reputation on the internet.
Traditional methods of managing one’s reputation are often slow, ineffective, and insufficient for online presence. This can affect the performance of traditional marketing efforts such as advertising and public relations (PR) campaigns. ORM is traditionally used to manage brand perception of company brands or products or services in regional markets.
ORM is also used in relation to marketing to individuals or consumers with complaints about a company or its products or services. A service provider’s reputation may be impeded if they do not manage their reputation on the internet. Most companies are also advised by their attorneys to respond to negative comments, disputes, and complaints made online, rather than ignoring them or allowing them to fester with no action taken. ORM can be used in relation to leaving comments, posts, and tweets concerning brands on the internet. There are a number of tools and services and people who specialize in ORM and it is important to be mindful of the continuous nature of this type of marketing.
It has been shown that online reputation management gives a company’s profits a boost. A recent study by Michigan State University showed that “companies with positive reputations received significantly more than double the value in cash compensation than those with negative reputations.” The study also showed that when one considers intangible rewards such as career advancement, bonuses, promotion to higher executive positions, etc. the figures become even clearer.” As more companies are turning to the internet for advertising and marketing, they must be conscious of how their reputation will impact their business. The way we engage with people via social media will ultimately affect their perception of our brand, and by extension, our business.
Online reputation management is more effective when it is holistic in nature. After website development companies often turn to digital PR firms to help highlight positive reviews of the company on the web so that company’s website ranks higher in search engine result pages. Whilst these companies are often able to manage this successfully, most do not take into account the inherent dangers with leaving negative reviews for competitors on review websites, or failing to control negative reviews left by unhappy customers. A recent report by the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that consumers have a strong influence on what other consumers purchase, so it is important for online reputation management to consider reputation management in all areas of business.
Suppliers also have an important role in an organization’s reputation. Through online reputation management, organizations have the ability to influence the reputation of their suppliers. By offering positive reviews of suppliers, organizations can help improve the reputation of their suppliers so they are viewed more favorably by consumers online. This can also improve an organization’s ranking on search engines like Google.
Online reputation management (ORM) is used to manage brand perception of company brands or products or services in regional markets. It is also used by individuals to upgrade their online reputations. ORM can be used to address individuals or consumers who have experienced a problem with the company’s products or services. The employees of the company are responsible for developing content for the internet. This is done by adding positive content to blogs and social networking sites, in addition to responding to complaints and disputes online. It can also be a way of putting out key messages through blog posts about the company, which can enhance its reputation in different industries, as well as create positive information about their products or services if they are selling them. Using ORM for this purpose can also improve better business conditions, by responding to bad reviews so that potential customers know how to get in touch with the company.
Companies may respond to a bad review of their products on a website by withdrawing them from sale, providing an explanation for the problems, and providing a link to the company’s website where more information is available. Online reputation management can avoid further negative comments to the company’s products by having a customer service team that listens to people’s problems in order to solve them.
Manufacturers who engage in online reputation management for their products, try to respond to their customers in a satisfactory manner. They must be able to respond quickly. They can do this by establishing an automated customer service email address so they can promptly email consumers back. In situations where a manufacturer cannot respond to a customer’s complaint, then they should have a designated person who is able to come up with a solution.
Various tools and techniques exist for online reputation management. Online reputation management firms provide services for businesses and individuals including Google+ profile setup, Facebook page setup, Twitter account setup, LinkedIn profile setup, blog or website management. There are also a number of tools and applications that can be used to manage online reputations manually.
Companies can also reach out to former customers by creating a customer testimonial video. These videos are easily created with the use of tools like iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, or Camtasia. They can be online through YouTube, embedded on their website, or uploaded to their Facebook page.
When writing blogs for posting on company websites, it is important that they are informative and interesting for the reader. They should also be able to answer questions about the company and its products or services. The posts should be educational in nature and use language and words commonly used by the people in the target audience. Also, when creating blog posts, they should make it easy for people to share them on social media.
When sharing links to company Facebook pages, it is important that they can attract people’s attention. When writing a Facebook post, use creative headlines that grab the reader’s attention.
Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are used to create online reputations. For example, news sites provide links to companies’ profiles on these social media networks. The links are displayed to readers in the area of the screen that reports what is happening in their locations. By directing people to a company’s Facebook page, they are more likely to follow this business online. If there are positive reviews about the company on other websites, this can be shared through these social media channels. Sharing news on social media is typically done by posting on the company’s Facebook page.
The key to online reputation management is to develop a strategy that can be executed in all areas of business. If you are an industrial manufacturer in the United States, it may be advisable for you to think of your company in terms of industrial manufacturing. If you are a small company in Canada, then think of your company in terms of commerce or retail industries. Once you have identified the industries that are relevant to you, then you can focus your online reputation management strategy in these areas. Make sure that all areas of the organization are using the same positive language on their website and social media sites.
The goal is to be consistent in all areas of business. A reputation that crosses organizations is stronger than organizations with separate reputations. For example, a company with a reputation for producing high quality industrial products may receive good reviews from its consumers online. There is a possibility that it may also get good reviews from consumers in other industries. A company that has a reputation for providing inferior or low quality products may have a different reputation on the internet.
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