Online reputation management (ORM) is about monitoring and improving how your business is viewed online. It means looking and analyzing what a potential customer, reporter, or partner will discover about your brand, your people, or your product/service when they perform a Google search. Before they ever land on your website or pick up the phone to call you — what will they find when they look for you? And will they like it?

Said simpler: Is your online presence working for or against you?

This is the idea behind online reputation management.

How Does ORM Impact Digital Marketing?

It’s very easy for someone to judge you and your company by what they find on Google. In fact, about 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. By simply searching for you on the internet, they can come up with different feelings about your company and what you offer, good or bad.

A negative online presence, or having no presence at all, can severely impact the success of your company (or you as an individual). Whether you’re closing a business deal, developing a business partnership, or talking to reporters, your online reputation counts. 

How Do I Know What My Reputation Is?

Before you can start to make improvements, you have to first analyze your online life. Gauge your online presence by using our checklist below.

Search

Google your business, your people, or product name, and look at the first five listings.

  • Are you in the first five listings? If not, you’ve got work to do on your search ranking.
  • Are the links you’re seeing positive? Hey, not everyone’s a happy customer. Just make sure that the first impression you show on Google is as positive as possible.
  • Is there evidence of thought leadership or industry expertise?
  • Are there any outright ORM fires that need to be addressed? Anything that would make Papa John CEO John Schnatter  feel better about his day?

Check your Google My Business listing.

  • Does one exist?
  • Is the information accurate?

Social

Check your brand’s social channels.

  • How many followers do you have?
  • When was the last time you posted?
  • Do you respond to comments?
  • How about messages?
  • What’s the average response time?
  • Does what you’re posting represent and reflect your brand?

Check what’s being said on social.

  • Search your hashtags, location, and your brand name. Are people talking about you and your business? If so, is it positive commentary? If there are negative mentions, are others hopping on board or do your social fans come to your defense?

Reviews

Check review sites.

  • Check out your Google reviews. Do you have any? How many stars do you have? Are you responding to reviews? Do you have a strategy for doing so?
  • Check out your Facebook reviews. Are customers leaving reviews on your Facebook page? Is your team responding to them?
  • Check out other review sites like Angie’s List, Yelp, and TrustPilot.

Check other online reviews/ recommendation websites.

  • Check out Glassdoor.com. While this isn’t a review site per se, many people searching for you online will check out what your reputation is according to your past and present employees.
  • Check out comparison sites by third-party companies that review products and services in your industry. How do you rank against your competitors’ products and services?

OK, my online presence needs a little work. What now?

Claim everything.

Litter the search results with relevant content by claiming everything you can.

Claim your business on Yahoo. On Bing. Create a Facebook Business page. Claim your business on Yelp. On Citysearch. On Local.com. On YP.com. Create your LinkedIn company page.

Set up reputation monitors.

The best way to ease a reputation fire is to prevent one from starting. Setting up online monitors can alert you to potential problems before they have time to catch flame. Set up Google Alerts for your company’s name, key executives, and products and services. You can also use a more advanced online reputation software like Trackur.  

Protect the business by empowering your team.

Work to develop a strong social media presence for you founders’, owners’, executives’, and other stakeholders. Many businesses are defined by the people who work for them. As such, it’s not uncommon for the public to search for the person (Steph Curry, Tim Cook) in order to find the company (Golden State Warriors, Apple).

Increase your search ranking.

If searching for your company didn’t bring you up in the first few search results, you might need a little SEO help. SEO is meant to help improve your ranking organically on search engines. Or you might need some content strategy or blogging help. Often having nothing appear for your brand or people is as bad as having negative reviews. It may make people infer negative things about you or, at minimum, it leaves you open to potential brand attacks. When not much ranks for your name, it’s easy for negative content to quickly gain traction.

Coordinate public relations events.

If there’s little there, or not everything said about your business is positive, you might consider planning some strategic PR events to cast your business in a more positive light. This could include things like supporting community causes, partnering with another local organization with a great reputation, or highlighting some of the innovation happening within your company.

Hire someone to help with online reputation management.

If your reviews are being neglected, and your customer service team is too small or too busy to handle it, looking into an agency or partner who can help you manage your online reviews would be beneficial to your business. In the current digital world, online reviews are worth their weight in gold. Too many negative reviews can damage your business, whereas primarily positive reviews can keep new customers knocking at your door.

Work with a social media manager.

Social media is a growing part of how businesses position themselves in the digital space. Prospective customers, current customers, and influencers are all checking out your social presence and determining whether they want to work with you – or not. If you’re not engaging and responding on social media, you’re missing a huge opportunity to grow your business.

There you have it – all things ORM. How to track it and how to improve it. The key now is to stay on top of it. ORM is not a one and done activity. Like most marketing, it requires constant upkeep and frequent monitoring to see how you’re doing. Keeping tabs on how your brand is represented online will only help your business in the long-term.

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