What is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management or ‘ORM’ is the process of managing your reputation online so that people looking for your business, your products or your services will become more inclined – rather than less inclined – to do business with you. Consider how you ﬁnd particular services or products these days. For the majority of us most of the time, this process will simply involve typing what we’re looking for into Google and then seeing what comes up.
While viewing the listings that come up (also known as search engine results) you will generally see ratings and possibly even reviews that are associated with what you were searching for, whether it is a business, product, or service. You may find positive reviews for various businesses, or you may discover negative ones, or a combination of both! You may even find a professional review site or experts in the industry telling people not to do business with certain companies.
In our Internet-connected world, this is the way that most of us form our initial impressions of a company. Depending on whether someone comes across largely positive information or largely negative information that person will then be much more likely or much less likely to want to use that business for their services or products.
Online reputation management then involves multiple different processes and activities all of which are designed to ensure that the ﬁrst impressions that potential clients and customers have of that business are as positive as possible.
If you have not seen what your overall business reputation is online, as well on the individual sites that carry ratings and reviews, you should really look. You may have a very good idea of what people are saying if you are close to your business on a day-to-day basis, or you may not have a good idea of what people are saying.
Yes it CAN be VERY scary looking at these things for the very first time. But….know this: either way, you will want to know, AND if you DO have negative ratings online, KNOW that you CAN do something about it, PLUS they will give you VALUABLE feedback on what you should do differently in your business! You cannot be the super-hero if there is nothing to rescue!
But what does this actually involve in real terms? What can YOU do to help with your own reputation management?
1) Perform basic SEO, or ‘Search Engine Optimization.’ Through the use of SEO that you can raise a particular site or page up through the ranks of Google. This way, if the ﬁrst thing that comes up when someone searches for your business name is a bad review, you can perform SEO to ensure that the positive reviews rank higher – or that your own business site ranks higher at least.
2) Respond to negative reviews. By responding to your criticisms, you can be seen as a company that cares and that’s working to rectify any problems. You might even ﬁnd that this attention results in your customers editing and improving the scores they gave you.
3) Encouraging happy customers to leave positive reviews can also make a big difference – and one great way to do this is by contacting those users with a follow up review.
4) Use press releases to try and generate positive publicity, along with the use of social media.
Doing all these things will go a long way in helping you to manage your online presence and reputation to help ensure that you are not losing potential customers and that you are achieving your business goals without interference caused by the unknown (to you!).
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