Clean your slate with Reputation Management

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Online reputation management strategies that work

Here they are:

It has become increasingly popular when making any purchasing decision to first investigate the company online. We will often use the business or brand name to do this and focus primarily on the top search engine results we get. The information we find here will determine the likelihood of our making the purchase.  In online reputation management (ORM) the goal is to control what consumers and other stakeholders of the company will find when they go online.

An easy way to explain why online reputations matter so much is to look at athletes and other celebrities who endorse products in marketing campaigns. These companies will only sign on celebrities with a positive image as they will help them to secure a more positive response from prospective and repeat clients. If however the image of the celebrity is tarnished with negative publicity, most companies will automatically and quickly cancel the endorsement and pull the advertising. The goal is to always associate the brand with a positive reputation. ORM works to ensure that business and individuals maintain a positive image and continue to sell their brand without worrying of financial loss because stakeholders pull out.

It is not only celebrities and businesses that can suffer from negative publicity. Even less popular individuals can have their potential limited because of negative commentary or adverse imagery posted on social media. If you look at many news outlets you will likely find reference to unfortunate content shared on social media sites that led to the sacking of employees. Even teenagers can have their chances of being accepted to certain colleges diminish because of what the college recruiters found out about them on social media.

Because of the adverse damage negative publicity on the internet can cause, it pays to have an effective ORM strategy to help control what information is put out there about you.

  • Look yourself up – majority of online users utilize search engines to find the information they want about a business or brand. Looking up what is popularly related to your brand with an online search is a good way to track your reputation. You can also use ORM softwares and online tools to alert you on the latest content to hit the web in relation to you. This is an ongoing process which for many organizations may require either allocating staff to its cause, or outsourcing the service.
  • Optimize your brand- much in the same way you would optimize your website to achieve  top ranking, you will need to set up a presence on enough top ranking platforms that will get you top ranking. When you control the web pages which appear on the top search results pages, you control your reputation and the impression online users will get of your business or brand. Doing this will involves such approaches as acquiring relevant web domains for your business website or blog, claiming branded social media accounts and updating them with positive content.

 

  • Consider key employees – it does not help when you are able to positively spin your brand, but your key employees have negative reputations. Even if consumers may not be focused on who the chief financial or operating officers of the business are, other stakeholders like investors and even suppliers may be. It is important to look into their online reputation and work on also salvaging their online reputation encouraging them to promote themselves as thought leaders in tri area of expertise will e good for their online reputation and that of the business. They should also know how to draw the line on personal and public profiles, and how to keep private content private.
  • Be prepared – it is to only the boy scouts that can benefit from being able to plan for worst case scenarios. The bigger your reputation, the harder it will fall so take time to brainstorm with your staff on what strategies you can use to resolve negative publicity should it become popular news. Having your public relations team work with online marketing is a good way to find creative and effective solutions you can have on standby in case they play out in reality.

It is a good idea to note that often you may not be able to control what information becomes highly ranked about you. The reality is that many people better enjoy reading about negative news than good. It is very easy for negative news to trend and become popular. When this happens, you need to determine what approach you will take

  • Ignore – in many instances, the negative publicity may not be all that adverse. For instance companies that put out many great products may on occasion release a poor performer. When negative reviews trend they can often ignore this because of how well most of their other products are performing. Such news will often eventually fade and the brand will continue to be popular.
  • Respond – sometimes however the negative publicity has the potential to escalate and really hit the performance of the business. Whether there news is legitimate or not, it can be worthwhile to send out an official response. Care must however be taken to ensure the outcome of the response is a positive one. Where the content is true, simple approaches like apologizing can help to regain favor from the public. You will have to judge each situation on its merits to determine what approach should be used.  It can be public with an official apology or private so that he complainant will be the one to share how you responded.
  • Drive it down – sometimes it may be worth your while to push down negative content, especially where ignoring it or trying to respond is not working out. You can do this by putting out interesting but positive content that will gain more notice that the previous bad publicity. Trying to get publicity on good news can be very useful in pushing this negative press out of people minds and driving down its ranking.

When it comes to ORM it helps to have the public relations and marketing teams working together so as to neutralize problems effectively. Make use of the relevant tools to stay on top of things and make it an ongoing part of your business to keep your reputation shining.

 

How to make online reputation management (ORM) work for you

Online reputation management (ORM) simply put is the controlling of the public image of the brand. It is the goal of every business to ensure that whenever a client or other stakeholder goes online to look up the brand, that they find only positive information. Where negative content may have managed to reach top ranking sites, then the business should have responded in such a way as to still come out on top. There are various reasons why online reputations matter.

  • Purchasing decisions – many consumers today are not only concerned about the quality and pricing of the product they wish to buy, but also the reputation of its manufacturer. Your brand reputation has strong influence on purchasing decisions. This is because it can have direct correlation with such consumer concerns as product warranties and customer care response. Online reputation can also have an impact on the decision of investors to invest in the organization. When negative publicity is put out, it can even have the effect of causing share prices to plummet.
  • SEO – search engine optimization of the brand relies in part on the reputation of the person fronting the business. Many businesses have CEOs and management who make use of their online reputations to endorse their companies and promote the brand. When their names are negatively referenced, it can have negative impact on their position as thought leaders on various forums they participate in, and consequently the brand they promote. This is why many companies will drop celebrities they use in marketing products when they have suffered bouts of negative publicity.
  • Work opportunities – many young people today forget the impact of what they share on social media until it affect their chances of gaining work. More and more companies and even colleges are looking up their potential recruits online to discover if what is in cyber world matches with what they have on paper. Digging up dirt on naive hires is not that difficult given how indiscreet many are in sharing hat should be personal information.

Unlike with search engine optimization that is aimed at pushing the ranking of a website to the very top, ORM focuses on ensuring that the top results with direct relation to the brand, wherever on the web the content is originating, is always positive. The best way to control this is to actively participate on top ranking websites where the brand can be promoted. Social networking sites are particularly useful as many have top ranking and it is a simple matter to create or claim accounts with the business or brand name. Once this is done the accounts can then be used to craft a positive public image. There are also other platforms that a business can use to achieve a similar effect including video sharing sites and blogs.

Once you have set up your accounts on these forums, then you need to go about optimizing them. Remember that you cannot get your account or website top ranked unless it has been optimized. Having an online marketing firm helps with this is a good investment. You need to ensure that your efforts are consistent in updating them. It serves little purpose to get to the top of search engine rankings only to relax and let your ranking slide. Continued updating and keeping track of trends is the best way to maintain these top spots and influence what online users will find out about you.

There are a few other simple strategies you can use to effectively handle ORM as pertains your business

  • Search for yourself – the simplest way to keep track of your reputation is to simply input your business or brand name in major search engines and see what pops up. Pay close attention to general results, images, videos and news results. You can also pay for ORM softwares or use easily accessible online tools like alert systems. These devices should help you to regularly verify what new content relating to your brand has been put up online. Where the information is erroneous you can quickly have it pulled. Many sites are careful to respond to such complaints, especially if it may result in litigation.
  • Claim you name – as mentioned, it is very helpful to ORM when you already control the accounts related to your business or brand on the various social networks. Whether or not you use them, owning them will help ensure that no one can put out negative content on you through these channels.  Do the same with web addresses.
  • Use SEO – once you own the various social media accounts and have acquired the relevant domain name, then it is time to optimize them. This is not that difficult given that, you can use one stream of content to update the other channels. Posting across the networks is acceptable and helps to create backlinks that will boost ranking. When your web pages are well optimized, it boosts the chances they will still end up on top when your brand is being searched online.
  • Monitor the environment – there are several ways you can continually monitor what is happening online in relations to your brand (i.e. with a good rank tracker). Some search engines have alert systems that notify you whenever your business or brand name is mentioned in new postings. There is also software you can install for similar purpose and to monitor feedback on the content you put up online. Knowing early on when negative content has been put up is half the battle. From here you can decide on whether or not to respond in order to combat any negative publicity.

Remember that when it comes to online reputation, there is always good and bad. As you monitor the online environment, you will sometimes come across negative content. When this happens, the gal should be to generate positive content that will push down the ranking of these URLs. If this does not work, sometimes a well thought out response can work. Even just apologizing, where the complaint is legitimate can work well in resolving negative feedback. Where the content is however neutral, you can probably get away with just simply ignoring it.