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Reputation Management was initially a public relations and marketing domain.
However, with the advent of the World Wide Web and digital marketing platforms, it has become an integral part of groups, individuals, and businesses.
Online Reputation Management is the art of ensuring that bad word of mouth and defamation content regarding your business identity or organization does not take place.
It also refers to taking control of the online conversation and search results that turn up when you are being searched for on the internet.
According to a recent article on Forbes.com, 42% of adults, who search someone else up on the internet, do it to clarify whether they should engage in business with them or not.
The Internet is a place where controversial and negative content can thrive and create havoc for your brand even if the story or review being circulated is completely untrue.
The good thing is, the reverse also holds true and brands and organizations with positive stories and great reviews can ensure a fan following.
A cohesive and well-thought-out online reputation management strategy can harness higher brand equity, more customers and meaningful interactions with other brands and other organizations.
Various companies deal with online reputation management services such as Sprout Social and Airg spam to name a few.
To put up an online reputation management strategy in place, it is not always imperative to hire an agency or reputation management firm to do so.
In case, the business is a small entity or medium scale organization, you can implement and follow certain tips yourself to ensure that your reputation is immaculate on the internet.
Here are seven tips to ensuring that you devise a foolproof online reputation management strategy:
1. Be Proactive, even before your company’s launch
Certain companies and organizations practice the art of being conscientious from day one.
They realize that what gets posted on the internet whether it turns up on social media or just the simple search engine results, it can have effects not only on the brand equity but also the financial performance of the organization.
The reputation management of any brand or organization on the internet is definitely not a one-size-fits-all situation. Different brands require a different approach to manage their goodwill online.
For example, a Human Resource Management Company needs to make sure that it is on social media platforms like LinkedIn or Bayt.com which may not be as dire a need for a fashion-forward blog which requires posting on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr on a daily basis.
Similarly the earlier on in the brand’s existence, the relevant content is created, and customers are made involved in its ongoing processes, the more positive effect it will have on the online reputation.
Another way in which the brand can be proactive in its reputation management is by ensuring that it has its employees and brand advocates themselves also manage their reputation well online.
2. Manage Online Reviews
This infographic by Invespcro actually represents the statistics which reflect the extent to which online reviews affect customer buying decisions.
The stats reveal that positive online reviews can lead to customers taking action. 72% of customers will make a purchasing decision only if they have come across a positive review.
Negative reviews left on social media can also create or lead to crisis situations where there is too much negative publicity for a brand.
They can be dealt with by fast responses, admitting mistakes, admit any problems taking place for the customer and offer to solve them.
Try to take the conversation offline, ask loyal customers to share their reviews and ensure proper problem solving or replacement of product or services takes place.
Reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google Reviews, Merchant Circle, Yelp, Amazon, Alibaba, Etsy, eBay, Angie’s List and City Search can directly affect the lead generation of the organization or business.
It is observed that companies that take pre and post service feedback are able to curb a lot of negative reviews before they are posted on third-party websites.
A negative review can also be posted on a customer’s personal blog.
At this time, personal messaging and intervention, as well as immediate problem solving, is essential to curb the negative reputation that might start storing up online.
3. Create a Crisis Management Strategy
Crisis Management is part of the online reputation management for any brand or organization. A well-played crisis management strategy can actually boost your brand or cause it to go further downhill.
According to an international survey by Deloitte, a company’s reputation and decline in its reputation can be the number one strategic risk for the organization.
Mr. Henry Ristuccia, Deloitte Global Leader, stated that:
“The rise of a reputation as the prime strategic risk is a natural reaction to recent high-profile reputational crises, as well as the speed of digital and social media and the potential loss of control that accompanies it.”
When an online crisis starts up for any organization, the crisis can spread across social media platforms, and there can be a severe backlash.
To curb this backlash, preplanned messages and strategies need to be developed to cater to the customers.
If the organization does not provide their story, there is a high chance that others will create various versions of the same story and there will be a lot of defamation online.
4. Improve SEO and Google Listing on the internet
To improve the rankings on search results, better SEO needs to be put in place for the organization so that they become more relevant to the target audiences.
Content which is optimized and has a better ranking has more potential to reach the target market for the audience.
5. Ensure good conversation and engagement on social media
The best approach to take to strengthen the communication and engagement on social media is to ensure visibility and transparency of the organization’s best practices as well as appear as human as possible in dealing with customer problems and queries.
Engagement can also be created by talking to the customers and audiences about topics regarding the brand and the society in general which appeal to them.
This will make social media conversations more relevant and create a positive impact on the brand name.
If the organization has a rich and detailed customer database, it will be easier for them to tap into what the specific topics are on the internet and social media that drive engagement.
It can also be beneficial if the organization stays aware and up to date with the changes that are brought forward for the Google Search engine algorithm and the Facebook algorithm.
There are also peak engagement times when specific demographics are most using a particular form of social media.
It can be handy for the organization to be aware of what their peak engagement times are so they can harness their strategy and alleviate themselves.
6. Provide Value, Inspiration and be consistent in building brand equity
Certain brands create value by telling their story in a unique way which resonates with the target market. Brand do this via the creation of content which is inspiring and unique to the online community where it is being circulated.
7. Track Return on Marketing Investment for the Online Reputation Management
There are apparently a wide array of tools available that can be utilized to chart the progress made in the implementation of social media strategies to see if the sponsored content on social media has performed as per expectations or not.
However, there is also a great deal more focus on deducing whether the entire marketing budget has yielded the amount of return on investment as per expectations too.
This infographic can really help an individual to chart the tips and points which lead to social media analytics and successful implementation of the strategies.
Alma Causey is a Freelance writer by day and sports fan by night. She writes about tech education and health related issues. Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover.