Online reputation management has been part of PR and marketing for years now. But in 2023, it’s arguably more important than ever before.

The ubiquitous Internet revolution, particularly during the last 10 to 15 years, has transformed the way that people learn about brands. All a potential customer needs to do is search on Google and they are immediately flooded with all kinds of information about the brand.

Given how important these results are to a brand’s reputation – and ultimately, the bottom line – online reputation management has become a vital tool in every company’s arsenal to fight for success.

What is online reputation management?

In order to connect with customers, brands and businesses need to ensure that their online reputation is solid.

To achieve this, positive reviews, content, blogs, articles and social media content must be in place. Online reputation management is the strategic process of ensuring that a brand’s reputation comprises this positive content, and displaces negative content.

The kind of negative content that you want to push down the rankings in Google search results includes content that’s misleading, negative media coverage, negative reviews and any other content that reflects poorly on your brand.

What are the steps of online reputation management?

Online reputation management is essentially about taking control of the digital structure pertaining to the brand. This includes everything from ensuring profiles display the correct information, all linking pages are correct, misleading data is counter-acted and everything is geared to providing the best possible image of the brand to the user.

If you’re wondering how online reputation management differs from search engine optimization, there are a number of ways.

In brief, online reputation management (ORM) works together with SEO to remove or displace negative content and website URLs from search results. When implementing ORM, reputation managers take control of every page and fill it with positive content that is targeted specifically to build trust with the user.

SEO is about refining the web content to boost its visibility on search engines. Obviously Google is the most significant search engine, but there are others that can also be included here, such as Bing.

What are 5 things you can do to improve your online reputation

Implementing an online reputation management strategy is a complex and time-consuming project. This is why brands, businesses and individuals come to management consultancies, such as Igniyte.

We can use tried and tested formulas to build a positive online reputation from scratch or create a bespoke strategy to boost and maintain it.

  1. Create and showcase the correct online presence

Businesses need to understand the message that their brand sends to users. This means ensuring that what is displayed is only what the brand needs the users to know.

To do this, a business or brand needs to audit their online reputation across every platform. They need to understand exactly what’s being said about them, where it’s being said and how it’s impacting other users and potential customers.

The first step to take to improve your online reputation is to audit what’s out there. This needs to cover your own content, such as your website, blog and social media as well as any inter-linked websites.

Part of this is also about creating industry content, boosting any media coverage, backlinking to useful websites and continuous repurposing of positive content.

  1. Make your brand visible

This is about carving a space out on the website for your brand. SEO will always help to boost the brand name up in the rankings and ORM managers need to contribute by producing positive and relevant content, understand data driven analysis of user behavior, keep the website fresh and updated and check all content is authentic and trustworthy.

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘content is King’ and online reputation management is why! The business must take responsibility for the kind of content that is being uploaded to its own website – it must be relevant, it must be high quality, it must be original and it must display thought leadership within the industry sector.

If a user finds your website and it displays content that is clearly poor quality and untrustworthy then they will dismiss your entire brand. It’s that important.

  1. Include review management

Effective review management includes two-way communication with customers and potential customers. It’s plays a major part in the overall online reputation management strategy.

Customer interaction is absolutely crucial to show users that the brand is trustworthy, honest and open. Responding strategically to negative reviews can do just that.

  1. Manage a coherent social media strategy

Social media can make or break a brand’s reputation, and once it’s gone poorly for you, it’s very difficult to get it back. There are huge benefits to having a visible and properly managed social media presence for brands. It’s a great way to properly connect with users and to show people that you understand what they want and what they want to interact with.

A further benefit is the fact that social media feedback allows you access to very useful data. You can analyze trends across your demographic and alter your services and products and your communication strategy as needed.

  1. Use online reputation management as part of your wider marketing strategy

There is crossover between online reputation management, digital marketing and PR. The best approach to ORM is to thoroughly understand your brand’s place in the marketplace and how you can shift it to where you need it to be.

Online reputation management is an ongoing necessity for brands and businesses. While a crisis management strategy can be implemented to deal with the fallout from a specific reputational incident, there needs to be a resilient long-term strategy in place.

If you need to discuss online reputation management for your brand, talk to the Igniyte team here.

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