Mention a brand name to someone and the next thing that the person will do is search it on the search engines. With more than one billion names searched each day, it can be expected that the targeted customers will surely search the name of your brand, online. On the online platform, anyone can communicate with a brand easily. Irrespective of the size of business, online conversion plays an important role and it cannot be ignored. One negative comment or feedback can tarnish the image of a brand and Online Reputation Management (ORM) comes as the savior.
Online reputation determines the success of a business as it influences the conversion rates. A review, might appear to be insignificant, but can cause a havoc to a medium or enterprise-level business. As per Dimensional Research almost 86 percent customers take purchase decisions based on the negative and positive reviews that appear in social media and online platforms. Online Reputation Management is an essential part of the Marketing strategy of any brand as it helps in dealing with the negative reviews that influence the buying decision.
Importance of a Brand’s Reputation
When communication was limited to traditional media, brands had greater power of the message. But, the online media has changed the scenario. Customers now frequently search a brand prior to availing or purchasing it. The foundation of reputation for any brand is always the old-school method- “word-of-mouth”. It is also relevant now with the online media. With times only the means of communication has changed. Social media and online review websites now lets the global customers to discuss about a product or business.
Social Media – If customers are not satisfied with your service or product, they will post it immediately on the social media platforms. One share of the post will increase the visibility of the same by leaps and bounds. Usually customers tend to avoid the brands that rendered their friends dissatisfied. Thus, an unhappy customer result in a major loss for the business.
Online review sites – This platform differs from the social media in terms of reach. Customers prior to formulating their purchase decision, refer to the review sites. On the review sites if they see that you have more negative reviews that your competitor then they will obviously choose them over you. Research proves that almost 68 percent of consumers trust the online reviews and 70 percent take actions based on it.
Strategy for Online Reputation Management
Once there is a negative review of a brand there is little chance of it going offline. Often businesses invest in ORM when a couple of negative reviews have appeared on the online platforms. But, to keep negative review and comments at bay, brands need to have a well-defined strategy for building a positive reputation and counter the negative ones when those appear.
There are few do’s and Don’ts that the entrepreneurs need to abide by to build the online reputation:
- Ranking high on the SERP is not enough– Yes, the appearance of your brand name on the first page of Search Engine Result Page is definitely going to influence the purchase decision, but they also rely on the information provided by the online community of users. Community driven information like testimonial and reviews are more reliable for customers.
- Start ORM even before launching the business– If you are planning a startup, then start online reputation management initiatives, even before the company is launched. From the onset, entrepreneurs that there are strategies that assure managing online reputation if a negative review surfaces.
- Negative online review is not the end– In case a negative review or comment pops up on any online media, then there should be strategies to mitigate it. The key to this process is to publish relevant and new content about the brand. Testimonials and reviews help the brand to rank high in the search engine result. However, entrepreneurs need to prevent the negative reviews from appearing rather than suppressing the same.
- Manage online reputation both of the brand and management– Reputation management should not be restricted to the brand name but the management strategies of the company. An immaculate reputation plays an important role when potential investors or partners, future employees search for the company. Posting press releases, blogs and media articles are an effective way of improving the reputation.
- Seek Professional help– To mend the tarnished online reputation, businesses can invest in seeking the help of professional online reputation management services. Your brand name should have an everlasting impression on the customers and an investment to boost the reputation will yield positive results.
- A Holistic Approach – PR and Content marketing strategies are not enough for improving the online reputation of a brand and maintain it. Various intricacies are involved in this process and hiring an SEO specialist is a must. Based on the industry proven practices and methodologies the specialist can ensure that your brand occupies the top 10 slots of the search engine and control what the audiences see about the brand.
- Social media for reputation management– Since companies now rely on social media for communicating with the customers to a great extent, brands need it take it seriously. Social media presence is integral to the online reputation for any brand. So, invest both time and resource to monitor the hashtags, comments and conversations relevant to your brand.
With these strategies in place, businesses can manage their online reputation effectively from the day one of their existence.
Tools used for Online Reputation Management
It takes both time and money for managing online reputation of any brand. Online content be it posts, review or comment impacts the overall image of the brand and how customers perceive the brand. So, if you want to know what others are speaking of your brand and address the negative content, then using the tools can save you both the time and effort.
The tools will streamline the effort and make this critical task easy. Few of them are free, but investing in them is worth the money that you spend. These will help you to track, monitor and respond to the comments, review or posts on time and mitigate the harm. Entrepreneurs based on their need to choose a tool is relevant to their need and specific industry.
A list of tools to monitor the online reputation of any brand.
Techniques for Positive Result
Reputation is one of the most valued asset of any company as it instills trust among the customers. Proper techniques reduce the chance of negative content about the brand and alleviates the risk, if a negative comment about the brand exists. Based on the Online Reputation Management strategy of business, entrepreneurs can follow time-tested techniques.
- Set a Monitoring System– With the aid of above-mentioned tools, you need to monitor the mention the brand name on social media networks, online fourms and blogs. Set an alert that will notify you if the name of your brand or relevant keyword is mentioned on the online platforms.
- Search the internet– You can search your brand on the search engines for negative reviews. It will show what the customers think about the business or brand. Even look for the images related to your brand.
- Post good reviews– Positive reviews and testimonials are two important factors that influence online reputation. Positive content about a brand influences the customers and persuades them to do business with you. Such comments and review on location-based websites can really turn out to be a powerful tool.
- Eliminate bad with positive content– If negative reviews about your company appear on the first page of the search engine result page that have it removed immediately. Post various positive content to nullify the effect of negative content. Also, claim the user name, because if not so, someone else might use it and mar your reputation.
- Link all positive contents– You can harness the power of social media to boost the online reputation by linking the positive and the best articles. Back linking to various social media platforms will move the positive reviews up the SERP. Another effective way is to incorporate the positive feedback or comments of clients in the About Us section of the website or social media networks.
A continuous effort of online reputation management ensures that your customers will see only your positive aspect. As a brand grows, entrepreneurs need to change the strategy, improvise their methodologies, adapt the latest trends and use updated tools to manage the online reputation of their brand. Online reputation management is effective for a business to flourish and succeed.