Tips on Best Practices for Online Reputation Management

The manner in which you manage your online reputation will play strategically into the overall success of your business efforts.

From an internet professional’s definition, online reputation management (ORM) is the way your brand is perceived based on internet search results.

Plain ‘Reputation Management’ has been around in the PR world a long time, but is usually applied to big brands with the big-budget for advertising-agency led mediums of print-tv-radio.

In the Internet age, where brands and companies of any scale are given a once-over by their audience from a 2-minute Google search, the online identity has become the more important reputation that needs managing.

The scale does not matter as virtually anybody now has an online reputation. If huge organizations (multinational brands, government entities, celebrities) hire their own team just to manage their social media), a small to midsized business will do well to come up with its own online reputation policy.

It’s not so difficult after all. Grounding all these is a simple value for common sense.

As one begins, an examination of both internal and external activities is necessary to shape the kind of reputation that will equal positive mindshare within your audience. Keep the following recommendations in mind:

Pinpoint areas where opportunities to affect your reputation happens
Though there are some general ORM principles applicable across the board, every business requires a unique strategy tailored to its individual needs and activities.

Three essential ORM questions to get you going, no matter the scale or industry:

  • Do your audience already have a preconceived image of your brand in cyberspace?
  • How does your brand interact with customers/end users? By this, your existing venues for customer relationship management is the matter in question.
  • Take a look at your employee’s behavior on the internet (their use of social media tools for example). How do these manifestations add/take away from the image of your business?

For instance, do you run a customer-centered business, such as a place where people go for food or frequent service (examples: a restaurant or salon)? Then you need to be conscious what your audience says about your brand on review websites like Yelp or Google Local. Personal blog reviews also count here.

On the other hand, if your brand involves a team that delivers customer service (a nursing home, a car repair facility, a call center) then you need to be careful that your team members make use of social media in an appropriate manner.

Know exactly where you’re brand stands

This step will consume a chunk of time. Take an entire afternoon to determine your actual reputaton on the internet, warts and all. Start by searching the following:

  • your brand name
  • keywords related to your entity, or the business you’re involved in
  •  the name of your business leaders/managers/endorsers
  •  the name of products/services on offer

Go beyond a Google search. Key in the same on Twitter, Facebook, popular review sites, and blogs.

Rule of thumb: Good regard for customers is the centerpiece of great ORM 

Before one even busy yourself with social media or anything that takes place online, make absolute sure your customer support operation is well oiled. The best impressions (both offline and online) come from satisfied customers.

Below outlined are a couple of ORM steps you can take from the outside:

  • Keep a list of unhappy customers. These are the most likely source of bad feedback.
  • Train your front liners to recognize issues and fix them then and there.
  • Reach out to your reviewers. There are a couple of ways to handle your negative feedback. You can opt to fix the issue, provide a discount or even a gratis peace offering. Positive feedback, on the other hand, should always be showcased. Positive reviewers should be thanked and acknowledged always.
  • Revert to social media only when appropriate
    Don’t post indiscriminately. The best approach here is to post content that is useful for your readers, and by extension, your brand. Useful content is guaranteed to be reposted.
  •  Just say no to fake reviews and competitor attack
    Going this way usually leads to negative press, even leading up to court on legal matters.
  • Strive to always be authentic and honest
    If your audience feels your sincerity about providing the best service, if they can see you take their constructive advise, when they view you actively rectifying missteps, they begin to see you not as a soulless product, it will reflect well on your online reputation

As I end, I’d like to cite the one important ORP strategy you need to cultivate from inside.

Carefully craft social media policies for employees.
Empower your team members by offering a social media policy that underscores the positive things they can do. Too often, employees are told to veer away from social media with the threat of regulation. Do the opposite and encourage your internal team members to use the medium to bring good to the brand, of course within appropriate limits.

This business approach also lends itself well when applied to personal reputation management. Modified accordingly, they do a double job of keeping your online as well as personal reputation in good stead. Learn more Los Angeles search engine optimization.

Small Business Owner’s Introduction to Online Reputation Management

I know what you are thinking – Online Reputation Management (ORP)? Yet another foreign concept you need to learn in this fast moving world where business and the Internet is increasingly done in tandem. Learn about online marketing in orange county

The words may appear unfamiliar but reputation management has actually been around as a PR term. It is defined as the practice of (1) building a brand’s reputation (2) shaping/maintaining a brand’s positive reputation and (3) minimizing a brand’s negative reputation.

Reputation management used to only be relevant to multinational brands in the tri-media space (TV, radio and print). But in the age of the Google and social media, small business owners can no longer ignore the need to protect and maintain their brands within their audience scope.

Let me skip to an example that hits home to many entrepreneurs: When you google your company name, what shows up on the first page of results? Take a moment to do this.

Does your website show up on the first page of Google results? Does a different page show up altogether? Do bad reviews of your product or service come up on search results?

You may not be a huge business known cross-country, but in a business scenario where an overwhelming 73% of the people looking to make a local purchase research online before proceeding to purchase, traditional limitations no longer matter.

Taking control of your online reputation should now become your top concern.

If search results of your brand on Google was less than stellar (for example: search keywords don’t bring the audience to your website, or an unfairly negative user review of your company is visible high up on the search results), take comfort in the fact that there are easy ways to manage your online reputation. Below are two basic methods you need to know as you begin:

Blog often!

If your current website is little more than an online version of your brochure, begin to compose your company blog. How does a blog help? Firstly, a blog is a venue to generate fresh content for your site. The more you post on a regular basis, the higher the likelihood that your community gets bombarded with new information closely related to your business terms. Maintaining a regular blog (go for at least one entry every two weeks) will help keep search results on Google and other engines feature new products and services. It will also help flush down negative results (such as bad reviews) as time passes and readers click on fresh news and forget about the old ones.

Defend Your Brand w/Social Media

Social media is one other great way to manage your online reputation. I will talk specifically about Facebook in this post since this is the favorite among majority of your client base. Before implementing your rep management campaign, let me first point out the obvious: your number of social media subscribers will work like a charm only if you have a high subscriber base. Mass membership is key for showcasing your reputation to a big audience. This means that you must have a big-enough subscriber base to before you go about posting content to bolster your online reputation. Having said that, you have to work on coming up with fresh content for your Facebook page to help your audience warm up to the idea of your brand. In much the same way that writing good blog content improves your search rankings, constantly posting product information on you FB page will help a lot towards pushing for better keyword search engine results. Social media networks like Facebook provide a means for increasing the speed at which good news is spread, only because liking and sharing content requires little effort.

Video is the way to go.

Creating and maintaining a video channel, specifically on youtube will help a great deal with your online reputation. Video is far more easy for end-users to consume. At the same time, video content is easy to produce these days. A beginner business owner can do a low-resolution video of his wares using a basic phone camera and upload the file to youtube in minutes. It’s simple yet effective. Populate your video channel with new product information, quick reviews, demonstrations or testimonials. Fancy effects are not required. The important thing is to showcase videos that speak to your customer’s wants and it will be sure to generate hits.

Google has already established the practice of showing top videos on first page of search results. Your customers, will most likely click and view a video compared to text-based search content.

These two are just the tip of the iceberg in the increasingly progressing world of online reputation management. I will take up more ORP tools that can directly improve the way you manage your brand. ORP tools are not created equal, and I will cover only the ones that fit best into the special needs of entrepreneurs.

Reference links:
http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/reputation-management
http://smallbusinessmavericks.com/online-reputation-management.htm
http://www.flyte.biz/resources/newsletters/09/04-online-reputation-management.php
http://outspokenmedia.com/guides/orm-guide/

There’s no need to fear – Bliss Drive can help you navigate the world of ORP. Call us for a free consultation via (949) 229-3454 – we’d be happy to let you know how you can leverage your online brand in these modern times.