There are a few things in life you only get one of. A first love. The birth of your first child. A credit record. These things are precious and deserve to be taken care of because if you fumble them, they’re not coming around again. You make the most of them, you treat them delicately, and you approach them with foresight towards consequences.
Now, contrary to what teenagers on TikTok might want you to believe (or desperately want to be true themselves) you only get one reputation online, too. Your online reputation precedes everything your business represents, and lingering negative consequences attached to that reputation will actively negatively impact the performance of your business.
As per a study conducted by Harris Interactive, 78% of online users believe it is very important to look up info about people and or businesses online before deciding to interact or do business with them. If there’s harmful, negative or underwhelming information appearing at the top of an interested individual’s search results, they’re going to lose interest pretty quickly.
This is where online reputation management becomes crucial. This process involves actively creating and maintaining the prevailing sentiment you want to surround your brand online. Effective reputation management strategies combine expertly created content, strategic publication and search engine optimisation to shift your brand’s public perception favourably.
The right reputation improvement plan can get your brand back into everyone’s good books, no matter how far poor-quality, outdated, malicious or misleading content from outside sources has pushed you the other way. Online reputation management also involves actively listening for and combatting negative press as it appears with counter-content, which requires attentive, real-time social reconnaissance and on-the-ball creativity under tight deadlines. There are a lot of moving parts to looking good on the web.
FGX understand how integral a first impression can be. We’ve also gone in for the fist bump when they went in for the handshake. We know our way around digital marketing, too. That’s why we’re here to give you an introduction to online reputation management. Because it’s time for you to put your best foot forward – stepping right to the top of your search engine ranking in positive-sentiment style.
What is online reputation management?
Your reputation steps into the room before you do, so you might as well manage it. Online Reputation Management (ORM for short) refers to the practice of monitoring and influencing the way your business or brand is perceived online. It involves the use of various strategies taking place concurrently to keep you looking your best.
These strategies include an ongoing situation analysis and audit, monitoring and responding to online reviews, managing and curating a strategic social media presence, creating and publishing positive content, addressing and countering negative content and feedback, and search engine optimisation to direct consumer sentiment.
There’s a significant amount involved in creating the digital perception of a brand, and all of those facets need to be addressed or you’re at risk of having a gaping “hole” in your good impression campaign. And those holes are where the trolls crawl in!
At its core, the goal of online reputation management is to ensure that your online presence is consistent with your desired image. By proactively managing your online reputation, your brand can improve your credibility, build trust with your audience, and protect you from damaging misinformation or misrepresentation. Think of your online reputation management strategy as your lawyer in the court of online public opinion!
Online reputation management is going to benefit your brand in four core ways:
1. Brand Perception:
As consumer behaviours have gravitated from “I see it, let me buy it” to “I trust this brand’s ethos and want to support them with my hard-earned cash,” the importance of how your brand is perceived has become just as critical as the quality of your offerings. A positive online reputation fosters and enhances the trust and credibility that drives consumer action to a significant degree.
2. Customer Acquisition:
The better your reputation, the more eyes are looking at your offering. The more eyes that are looking at your offering, the more potential customers you’re sending down your sales funnel. Positive sentiment surrounding your business – especially positive reviews and customer feedback – can act as social proof and influence potential customers’ purchasing decisions.
3. Revenue and Conversions:
The final hurdle your customer leaps before parting with money for one of your offerings is the hurdle of trust. Trust that your offering will live up to its promises, trust that your business is ethically aligned with its values, and trust that it will receive what will fulfill their pain points. A stellar online reputation bridges that trust gap and shortens your last steps to increasing profit.
4. Employee retention:
If you’re looking to recruit top talent, but the first thing potential employees see when they Google your business is scary, negative or discouraging, their probability of sending in an application will drastically decrease. Nobody wants to work for an organisation with a bad reputation, either. Think about it this way – you probably wouldn’t take a job at Monsanto, even if they offered you a great dental package.
Want to know what happens when your online reputation is genuinely terrible? Just learn from the mistakes of others! In 2013, JPMorgan Chase (a US financial services company) attempted to open up a Twitter Q&A with one of their top executives to improve public relations amidst a series of pretty negative press hits.
The campaign started slowly but quickly snowballed alarmingly when the JPMorgan team were asked questions regarding their fine for their responsibility in the financial crisis, as well as varying questions about their dodgy corporate social responsibility practices. What followed when the executive couldn’t keep up in real time was a barrage of (in some cases quite creative) insults.
By the time the Q&A was ended by the organisers, 66% of the 80,000 tweets sent with the #AskJPM hashtag had a negative sentiment. The company was perceived so badly that when they opened up the floor for discourse that one of their executives literally got bullied off Twitter and the account had to issue a tweet admitting the whole thing was a bad idea. Their audience’s sentiment should never have been allowed to get to that point of negativity online, and this failure pushed their search results even further into uncomfortable territory. Big oops!
Building a Positive Brand Image through Reputation Management Services
Though building a positive brand image is the culmination of hundreds of small decisions you make every day, we understand that telling you to “just be good” isn’t going to cut it. That’s why we’ve nailed our strategic approach to improving online brand image into three critical pillars:
1. Content creation and promotion
Content creation and promotion are crucial for effective online reputation management. Positive, consistent content creation, and the promotion of said content, as well as responding to negative comments, and monitoring online presence are all essential components. Creating positive content helps push any negative content down in search results, thus establishing credibility and reliability.
Promoting positive content through various digital marketing channels and responding promptly to negative comments demonstrates a commitment to customer feedback, which also makes your company appear significantly more transparent.
Monitoring online presence allows for staying ahead of any negative content, with enough time to create counter-content before the negative content gains traction. You can establish a strong online presence, engage with your audience, and immediately counter misinformation with your own point of view.
2. Positive testimonials and reviews
Positive testimonials and reviews are crucial for effectively managing your brand’s online reputation as they serve as social proof, improve search engine rankings, and help to push down any negative feedback. Encouraging customers to leave reviews on third-party review sites and responding promptly and professionally to negative feedback can increase the volume of positive reviews and mitigate the impact of negative reviews. Especially if you actively resolve a problem. By actively soliciting and managing positive reviews, businesses can leverage their power to influence potential customers’ decisions and improve their brand presence in their industry space.
3. Improved customer satisfaction
In short – do your best and your online reputation will likely reflect that. Improving customer satisfaction is imperative to the online reputation management process. Satisfied customers are more likely to leave positive reviews, and promoting that positive content can establish credibility and reliability.
To achieve this goal, businesses must provide excellent customer service, respond to feedback promptly and professionally, create consistent internal positive content, and use various digital marketing channels to help this positive content reach their target audience. By doing so, you can establish a strong online presence, engage with your audience, and address negative feedback effectively and transparently. Build a community that sees what you’re really doing. If misinformation is saying your business is not awesome, take a big step towards proving them wrong by being objectively awesome.
Professional Image Management for Reputation Improvement Tips & Tricks
Though specific online reputation management best practices will vary widely from business to business, if you’re looking for some solid tips and trips to carry into building and improving your brand’s online reputation yourself, here are a few we think might come in handy:
- Monitor your brand mentions: Set up alerts to monitor your brand’s name and related keywords in search engines and on socials. This will help you track what people are saying about your brand online, allowing you to address any negative comments or issues quickly. You never want to leave a negative comment unanswered for over 24 hours!
- Be responsive: Respond to customer inquiries and feedback promptly and in a helpful manner. This demonstrates that you care about your customers and are committed to providing excellent service. When responding, use the customer’s name and repeat parts of their query back to them in the answer to show you’re not an automated response.
- Build a strong social media presence: Social media is about building valuable connections, so use it to connect with your audience and build a strong online presence. Share valuable content, promote your brand, and establish a likeable brand personality that people want to interact with. This will help establish your brand as an authority in your industry and encourage people to engage with you.
- Leverage user-generated content (UGC): Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your brand on social media and other online platforms. This will help build trust and credibility. Recycling this UGC will provide you with easy content as well as make your audience feel like active contributors to your business, encouraging conversions.
- Be transparent: Be honest and transparent about your brand’s values, mission, and products or services. This will help build trust with your audience and establish your brand as an honest and reputable company. If consumers align closely with your values, purchasing your offerings will act as a self-affirmation to them, adding extra impetus to choose your brand over competitors.
- Manage negative reviews: Address negative reviews or comments calmly and professionally. Use these opportunities to listen to customer feedback and improve your products or services. Always be sure to follow up after negative reviews to ensure that any issues are resolved.
- Continuously monitor and adjust: Continuously monitor your brand’s online reputation and adjust your strategy as needed. This will help you stay on top of any emerging trends or issues and maintain a positive online reputation. In a world as full of rapid-fire information and shifting public consensus as ours, being aware of changing tides of opinion could save your brand from any potential press mishaps. Find the most socially clued-up person on your team and ask them to keep you up-to-speed on social issues that may affect your industry directly.
So it’s time to get brand reputation building! Now what?
Now that you understand why online reputation management is such a crucial contributor to your success, it’s time to start actioning those positive brand exposure strategies, right? Well, it’s going to take a significant amount of work to get that right. As a decision-maker or business owner, we’re certain you’re capable of doing that work, but we also know it would take a ton of time learning, upskilling, finding your way through all of Google’s funny little idiosyncrasies, and clearing a chunk of your schedule every day for listening and monitoring. So that’s one time-consuming option.
Your other option is asking FGX to do your online reputation management for you! We’ll handle everything from initial audits and analysis to strategy and content creation, to community management and performance reporting.
The process will be streamlined by a team of experts who know exactly how to put a little extra shine on your hard work. All you have to do is give us approvals and then sit back and watch as the public’s perception of your company begins to align perfectly with your own. You deserve to be accurately reflected on the world wide web.
Interested? Just fill in the contact form below and we’ll be in touch. A pristine reputation is attainable – and you’re one step closer to getting there.