Online Reputation Management

Online reputation management is a strategy that enables organizations, brands or individuals to take control over online chat about them and effectively control the ongoing narrative.

The online reputation of your brand is one of the most important aspects of your future success. You can’t grow a business without a build-up of trust with consumers and peers, and online reputation is a key part of building this trust.

 

Is online reputation management necessary?

Absolutely. In the 2020s, no brand or individual with an online profile should be leaving it all to fate.

Just as a public relations (PR) and growth strategy are necessary, so is a digital reputation management strategy.

An online reputation management strategy incorporates reputation monitoring through data analytics, reputation monitoring, reputation recovery and crisis management.

 

What is online reputation monitoring?

This is the part of the process where data is gathered from multiple platforms and channels. This information will inform the individual or brand owner of the general tone of their online reputation, giving them a starting point for implementing an ORM strategy.

However, monitoring should be ongoing all the time. While many businesses only begin to pay attention to their online reputation in times of crisis, the best way to utilize it is by constantly monitoring your reputation online.

Online reputation management, therefore, should form part of the brand or individual’s day-to-day strategizing for growth.

 

What’s an example of online reputation management?

Let’s take a very contemporary example of the damage a high-profile individual can do to their brand or brands. When Elon Musk completed his buyout of social media giant Twitter, advertisers became immediately concerned.

Musk’s wild Tweets after being in charge, combined with the well-publicized mass layoffs he has instigated around the world and the confusion that has arisen regarding verification (see the doomed launch of Twitter Blue for more information on this), has driven almost all major advertisers to pause their spend.

This matters because Twitter is first and foremost an advertising platform. At the time of writing (14 November 2022), Musk has seen Twitter losing $4 million every day and in just one week more than a million users left the platform. Tesla stock has also dropped in value by more than 35% and SpaceX appears to be shoring up Twitter advertising with a big push for Starlink.

This is an extreme example of what can happen when a high-profile individual, whether a CEO or other business leader, goes completely rogue online. It has massive implications, not just for Musk’s personal reputation, but that of every single one of his brands.

This is exactly what judicious online reputation management strategies aim to avoid. By implementing a workable strategy, a brand can protect itself as much as possible from the unprecedented impacting their longevity and, crucially, their bottom line.

 

How can I improve my online reputation management?

For an individual who wants to contain and control their own, personal online reputation, there are simple steps to take.

First, simply type your name into Google and look at the first page of search results. These are the only links that 96% of people will look at, and therefore the ones that matter the most.

If these first few search results on your name are negative, linked with coverage that you don’t feel reflects you in a good light, or something that is out of date or simply not true, then you can take further steps to change this.

Your aim is to change the first page of Google search results (or Bing or another search engine, although it’s worth knowing most Internet searches around the world go straight into Google).

For a business or brand, we’d always advise working with professionals. Online reputation management firms like Igniyte can spend time and effort providing the kind of macro and micro view of the reputation in question and provide a strategy for the future.

Without a professional firm, ideally with legal connections, it can be extremely time-consuming and expensive to try and do it yourself.

 

What are 5 things you can do to protect your online reputation?

While every strategy should be bespoke and aligned with specific aims, a good example of 5 steps to manage personal reputation would include:

  1. Review management.
  2. Social media marketing.
  3. Public relations.
  4. Search engine optimization (SEO.
  5. Customer service tactics.

Whether your needs like in keeping your brand or personal reputation positive or damage control following reputational crisis, the overarching aim is the same – to control, monitor and curate what people see when they search your name or your brand name online.

 

The importance of Google first page results

We touched on this earlier, but it’s worth diving into a bit more deeply. Stats show that most people don’t look past the first page of Google search results when they search any kind of query.

This means that the links to content that display on the first page are the primary source of reputation building and maintenance. In order to control how people, see you online then, you need to take control of the links that appear on that page.

However, Google or other search engines are not the only channels you need to manage when dealing with online reputation management.

 

Different channels that come under an ORM strategy

The following is a brief rundown of some of the channels that need to be incorporated into an online reputation management strategy for it to work.

Media you own

Owned media refers to anything that you have control over, including any blogs you write, your website or pages you have supplied to third-party websites. This is where optimization is key. To rank these owned media sources as high as possible on search engine results, you need to ensure that they are packed with high-quality, regularly refreshed, fully optimized content. This will automatically mean you have more control over your reputation – as these URLs rise among the ranks of search results, Google will give your brand name or personal name more weight as a trustworthy resource.

‘Earned’ media coverage

This is anything that your brand or your name gets in coverage from any kind of third-party platform, that you haven’t paid for. So, this includes articles and blog posts that mention you on other websites, mainstream and specialist press coverage, comments or coverage on forums such as Reddit, any third-party listings on sites like Trustpilot and Glassdoor and review sites that you don’t have control over, such as Yelp or Google Reviews.

Media that is shared

This is any kind of content marketing that is shared between your brand or business and others. Obvious examples of this include social media accounts. It’s particularly important to really monitor and observe how people are talking about you online, and what kind of messages they are sharing. A negative review could go viral on Twitter, for example, kicking off many more comments that may or may not be negative about your brand.

Media you pay for

All channels, platforms, and digital marketing websites that you pay money to boost your brand name. This includes Google Ads, advertising on Facebook, TikTok, Twitter or any other social media site, paid messaging on LinkedIn, native ads, display ads and sponsored content. While paying for positive coverage does, of course, give you a modicum of control over your online reputation, research shows that consumers are extremely savvy about the difference between paid-for content and organically positive sentiment. Online reviews can hold considerable sway over your online reputation – people go looking for them and the majority of people trust them. So even a few poor reviews can do a tremendous amount of damage to your brand.

 

3 online reputation management strategic steps for brands

Here are 3 steps that can help you boost your brand’s online reputation.

Audit the brand

Take stock of the entirety of your brand’s online presence, including all third-party profiles, websites, blogs, social media channels etc. Don’t forget to look at the first couple of pages of Google search results too.

Monitor mentions

Set up alerts to tell you when people are talking about your brand. You need to find out whether these mentions are positive or negative and plan accordingly.

Deal with negative reviews

Don’t ignore negative reviews appearing online. This may be tempting, but it only builds on negative sentiment. Instead, turn a negative review into an opportunity to display publicly how much you care about customers and what you’re willing to do to help them.

 

Work with an ORM specialist

SEO should form an important part of your ORM strategy. For brands, this means focusing on optimizing as many websites that you control as possible. This involves high-level content creation, building backlinks, earning positive PR mentions across other media, an active and targeted presence on social media channels and optimization of any relevant third-party profiles.

Whether you want to better manage your personal or your brand reputation, we strongly advise working with professional specialists. Contact Igniyte here to start a conversation about your ORM strategy.

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