Online reputation is critical to the success of every business. With millions of unique users going online every single day to search for and discover new brands, what shows up on top of the Google search engine results pages (SERPs) should concern companies and brands. When prospective customers search for you, what do they find? What websites or web pages are they seeing on top of the first page? And when they visit the company’s Facebook page or Twitter account, what comments and tweets from other users will they read?
What they find on social media and the SERPs can persuade or dissuade potential customers and clients from doing business with you. When unwanted content – irrelevant, negative, and related to competing brands – pop up on top of search results or posted on social media channels, companies need to understand how important Online Reputation Management is in today’s business landscape.
Online Reputation Management (ORM), the art and science of taking control of a brand’s image online, is how small businesses and big brands can further improve their reputation. The main objective of ORM is to push positive and relevant content to the top of search results and boost digital reputation through social media.
Much More than Social Media
When you grow your presence online, social media for brands plays an important role in monitoring and preventing reputation problems. Social media is one of the greatest branding tools online. It makes it accessible for customers or clients to access your brand on a more personal level. At the same time, it is your brand’s eyes and ears to your customer base. Social media shapes your brand when publishing relevant and engaging content across multiple social accounts, responding to inquiries, and reacting to commendations and/or criticisms from customers on your product or service. You can control the information displayed on your social accounts. But ORM is much more that social media. ORM requires studying your brand’s Google ranking and what needs to be done to improve it. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a required process to push your website’s placement to, ideally, the top and first page of the SERPs. It is imperative to have as many positive and relevant results on your first page as possible. By having a good handle on Google-approved SEO techniques and strategies, brands can build a trusted and credible presence online and bury negative content.
With more than a handful of steps involved in the process of managing brand reputation online, it takes a team to accomplish what is needed in ORM. Image control online needs a group of experts from different fields to put out fires or start new ones. With Reputation Management providers at the helm, companies can expect their ORM team to consist of content creators (writers, graphic designers, video editors), social media managers, SEO specialists, and PR professionals. Taking the steps to assess, diagnose, monitor, and strategize in ORM is not a one-man/woman job.
What Can Happen if You Don’t Manage Your Reputation Online
If you don’t manage your brand’s reputation online, what happens? In the absence of ORM, a business can go through dire consequences for years to come. Few people learn about your business and what you offer. Customers prefer other brands with a more credible online reputation. You blend in instead of standing out from the other players in the market. Your profitability is minimized when online users see negative content before the positive.
In a time when anyone can easily leave comments, publish reviews, and even create a hate site, ORM is the best offense and defense of businesses on the Internet.