Today’s companies can’t afford to leave online reputation management (ORM) to chance. People are looking up products and brands online, and frequently this is the only place they’re looking. If your company doesn’t appear on the internet, or if your website and profile don’t answer the questions customers are asking, you’re losing business.
Too often, companies manage their reputation on the defensive. When negative content appears on the internet, profits taper off and executives realise there’s an image problem. They implement damage control measures, but by then it may be too late. Negative results attract attention and generate clicks and shares faster than any positive content put out by the company can hope to. Once these results get a head start, it’s hard to push them off the brand’s search engine results page (SERP).
At ReputationDefender, our reputation specialists work with clients to build reputation capital before any negative material appears. A solid ‘framework’ of positive relevant content makes it hard for a bad review or an article about a recent scandal to rank on page one of the SERP. We monitor new postings and act quickly to repair any reputation damage. When damaging material is limited to later pages, it’s unlikely to gain much ground against a positive image that’s already established.
Companies Need an ORM Strategy
It takes time, effort and knowledge of your customers to build a digital profile that will enhance the company’s reputation. Implementing a regular ORM process will help almost every aspect of the business, from sales and marketing, to product R&D, to human resources. Professional services can streamline this process so executives start asking the right questions and gathering the data they need to plan an effective campaign.
These are four important reasons why it’s necessary to have an ORM strategy:
- You’ll Attract More Customers – Your new business is off to a good start; the customer base is building and profits are starting to roll in. Then all of a sudden everything changes. People seem to be turning to competitors who offer similar products and you can’t figure out why.
This is a common arc for a new start up. The initial marketing campaign is successful, but just one or two negative reviews on an influential site can turn the tables pretty quickly. According to a YouGov PLC survey, 92 percent of consumers say that negative online content influences their opinion of a company, while 82 percent trust the results they find on a Google SERP.
Negative reviews aren’t necessarily an indication that a company is failing in the customer service department. No matter what you do, one or two people will be unhappy with their experience and unfortunately, these are the people most likely to go online and write a review.
An ORM strategy helps to address this problem by:
- Introducing techniques that encourage large numbers of satisfied customers to leave feedback (social media contests, surveys, automatic requests etc.) so you maintain a 4-5 star rating on review sites.
- Monitoring everything that’s posted on search engines or social media so you can respond to customers’ problems and design strategies to fix the issues they are facing.
- Develop a large base of brand generated content and genuine testimonials that show why one unhappy customer doesn’t define your company.
Counteracting negative results with positive online content is one of the best ways to turn around a slump in business and start gaining new customers.
- You’ll Become an Industry Influencer – Maybe you started the company with a modest goal of supporting your family or offering customers a new product choice. You manage to appeal to your target audience and carve out a comfortable niche, but as time goes by, you’ll need to continue expanding. If you stay in the shadow of industry leaders, they will eventually move to undercut your corner of the market. A strong digital profile builds credibility, so you can become the go-to resource for customers or anyone else with a question related to the industry. This will strengthen the entire business network, making your company competitive with the biggest brand names. Becoming an industry influencer greatly increases the company’s chance of long term success.
- You’ll Build Talent – Nowadays, you need a good online profile to attract qualified employees. Top level graduates and experienced professionals aren’t interested in working for a new start up that’s likely to fail in a couple of years. On the other hand, if your online content shows you’re a professional organisation that offers employees a range of opportunities for training and advancement, applicants will be lining up for a chance to work with you. A well-planned ORM strategy can design your brand image and position advertisements so that they appeal to the modern workforce, which is younger and more internet focused than ever before.
- You’ll Compliment Google’s Algorithms – It often seems search engines favour negative results. As we mentioned earlier, bad publicity creates a buzz faster and more efficiently than positive marketing. This isn’t exactly Google’s fault; search engine algorithms are designed to encourage content that is useful to the user, which means organic traffic, as measured by the number of clicks on a page, is a heavy ranking factor. Human nature being what it is, more people are likely to click on a shocking or scandalous headline.
Left to chance, your brand SERP will be defined by negative results rather than positive ones. A good ORM strategy changes these odds, using White Hat techniques to generate organic traffic to your pages so that Google’s algorithms work in your favour, rather than against you. Reputation management returns control to you, letting your decide how the internet defines your company rather than vice versa.
For more information on how to get started, contact our reputation specialists at ReputationDefender.
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