More than 70% of consumers start their buyer journey with a Google search. And more than 80% of Internet users trust online reviews in the same proportion as personal recommendations. Currently, good and bad reputations spread at great speed on social networks and even in search results. It would be enough to appreciate the comments about products or services that customers and consumers make daily. The expansion and influence of social networks, in parallel with the ability to access the Internet anywhere, make online reputation management or ORM a priority.
Faced with an audience as active as today’s, no company can afford to have an unreliable image and a bad reputation online. And this applies to both large corporations and SMEs. If you want to know more about the ORM and the advantages of having an appropriate policy in this regard, we invite you to continue this reading.
What Is ORM?
In practical terms, online reputation management is about effectively controlling and influencing your brand’s online presence. A solid ORM strategy can protect the brand, provide relevant information, and obtain more loyalty and engagement from the consumer.
ORM is a comprehensive and versatile concept whose implementation seeks to create a positive public perception of a company, brand, or person. Among other actions, this implies constant monitoring of the mentions made of these in various channels. Likewise, adequately address the treatment of any content or comments from customers that may harm the brand. And at the same time, execute strategies to prevent and resolve crises that may eventually affect the image of an entity among the public.
In this way, carrying out complete and effective reputation management can be somewhat complex. Next, we will give you some essential tips to prepare your strategy.
How To Establish An ORM Strategy?
Think of ORM as an organized and coherent plan similar to your marketing, sales, and customer relationship management. In other words, plan it and execute it for what it is: a strategy. To do this, you must follow a series of steps that we will summarize as follows:
Do An Audit of Your Online Reputation.
- Enter your brand name in the Google search engine from an incognito window. If you have a complete profile on Google My Business, check the comments, reviews, photos, and ratings obtained so far with the star system. Read the articles related to your brand, if any, at least those that offer detailed information, whether positive or negative. Check the comments in different forums, etc.
- Analyze the impact of your blog. Check if articles or other content such as videos have generated comments or ratings.
- Survey the comments and reactions of your brand’s followers on social networks.
This will help you answer questions like Who is commenting on my brand? Do they have authority on the subject? What do they say? Is the information I offer on my blog relevant to my buyer personas or target audience? Do they find the content I share on RRSS relevant and of quality? What do they comment and how do my followers react to said content?
Draw Up an Online Reputation Management Strategy
Once you know the current state of your brand reputation, you can set a more meaningful strategy because you will see what you need to improve, what image you want to project, and what circumstances you need to avoid. These are the objectives that are the first thing you should consider.
You will go to the priorities, considering which actions will generate the most impact—for example, designing a content plan for your blog or social media posts to boost interaction with your followers. Of course, you must estimate the budget available to contract RRSS monitoring tools and CRM solutions with integrations that allow you this function. If the strategy calls for it, consider hiring a community manager or social media manager and outsourcing content marketing.
Establish a Line of Communication
Indeed, if you want to convey a strong brand image to your audience, you have to demonstrate consistency in your channels and messages’ writing, design, and production. More specifically, your website and blog pages must maintain a graphic design line defined and aligned with the perception you want to achieve. The idea is not to create visual contrasts between one page and another.
On the other hand, the tone and style with which you communicate your messages must also correspond to the brand vision you want to convey. Such criteria apply to blog articles, photos, videos, infographics, podcasts, and the content you share on your corporate social media accounts.
Choose The Most Appropriate Social Networks.
You may be happy to have accounts on a limited set of social networks: Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. However, you may be missing out on the opportunity to make your brand more impactful and expand its reputation. In this sense, the key is to define which platforms your customer base uses most frequently. LinkedIn and Whatsapp could be effective for B2B companies as a suggestion. B2C businesses could capture more audiences on emerging networks like TikTok (which isn’t just for teens anymore). On the other hand, having a presence in new convenient channels allows you to anticipate attacks from haters and trolls on them.
Interacting With The Audience And Monitoring Their Reactions Are Essential in The ORM.
This is very basic, but it requires a series of actions that seem very obvious to you. However, they must be consistent with increasing, consolidating, and defending your brand’s reputation. These activities are:
- Keep your company and contact information updated on all platforms where your company has a presence.
- Post relevant and exciting content for your customers regularly. Previously, we talked about a content marketing plan, both on the blog and social networks.
- Involve the target audience in the conversation about your brand and products. In this case, it is always advisable to motivate the audience to share their opinions.
- Integrate the customer support service into the ORM strategy. In the after-sales service, many companies put their prestige to the test. Timely responses and the ability to resolve consumer questions and problems are vital to maintaining their trust.
- Provide customers with different options to contact your company. Whether by phone, email, chat, etc.
- Practice social listening, supporting you in monitoring through tools such as SEMRush, Hootsuite, or SproutSocial. Also, respond to comments and opinions as soon as possible. In social networks and chats, this response must be immediate.
- Demonstrate empathy and respect when responding to negative feedback. Along these same lines, it is essential to acknowledge the positive comments and express to your audience how their ideas and words influence the changes that you incorporate into your products and services.
Establish a Crisis Management Protocol
Last but not least is to define how to act in the face of a brand reputation crisis. Without a doubt, this is an essential function within the ORM strategy. Again, social listening tools have a crucial role in this case, and these help you monitor interactions on RRSS and detect negative comments and reactions and attacks by trolls and haters.
It is essential to have a protocol for communicational reaction to potentially harmful situations, from the mildest to the most serious. Think of everything: from the complaint of a dissatisfied client or the revenge of a fired employee to a severe accident in your facilities. It is worth saying that the reaction must be as immediate as possible. Any communication or response must be transparent, sincere, firm, and reliable. The way you respond will depend on the effect that such situations may have on the prestige of your brand.
Benefits of Managing The ORM Properly
- Good online reputation management builds trust and credibility. Many consumers buy products and services from brands they can trust. A properly planned and executed ORM strategy fixes reputation problems before they become serious. They can even strengthen the company’s image after incidents and comments that affect it.
- Increase sales. As we said above, before making purchase decisions, a large percentage of consumers read online reviews to see how people rate different brands. Professional online reputation management also generates positive recommendations to other people who will eventually prefer the best-rated companies.
- Provides better search engine rankings. If the positive reviews, comments, or news regarding a specific brand or product go viral, they capture the attention of many users. This increases the organic traffic to your company’s website.
The Most Severe Problem Generated by Poor ORM Management
The most costly consequence of poor or no online reputation management is the direct negative impact on an organization’s sales and revenue. As simple as the fact that the companies that are least valued by consumers and unable to reverse compromising comments and situations and their reputation lose a lot of money.