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.