Online courses

Online training

Go to the course catalogue

Online Reputation Management

What is Online Reputation Management

What is Online Reputation Management?

Online Reputation Management, or ORM for short, is a specially developed strategy for online reputation management. The fundamental purpose of such a strategy is to create a company's positive business reputation for its products and services, or personal online reputation management. You can also use ORM to shape public perception and mitigate the negative impacts of unsuccessful advertising campaigns, image failures, and other branding mistakes. Moreover, ORM increases a company's recognition, attracts new customers, and protects against external negative influences.

Online Reputation Management is considered a comprehensive approach to reputation management, so content marketing, engaging opinion leaders, SMM development and social media promotion get used to implementing ORM strategy successfully. However, the most important online reputation management method is eliminating or replacing negative feedback about the company. Thus, the following purposes of online reputation management are distinguished:

  • Eliminating the existing negative content about the company on the network;
  • Promotion of positive brand mentions;
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to raise the brand's position.

It is essential to understand that comments expressing customer dissatisfaction are the main sign that brand products do not meet customer expectations or satisfy their needs. Therefore, you should not simply delete negative feedback; first, you should investigate its reasons. Then, once you have found the reasons for the negativity, you need to clean up the problems and try to prevent similar situations in the future. It is an example of how ORM works in practice. Furthermore, it also means improving products and customer service.

How does ORM differ from PR, SMRM, and SERM?

All these acronyms are marketing disciplines with the same objective: to paint the company in the best possible light. However, their crucial difference lies in how they achieve this objective.

To begin with, PR, or public relations, involves managing the relationship between a brand and a mass audience. This area of marketing controls the external communications of a company. However, PR is considered a tool to strengthen a positive brand image in the media and other venues to promote it further. In that case, online reputation management is, to a greater extent, the minimisation and elimination of negative feedback about the company on the web. Thus, PR support for a brand gets provided by an independent firm that specialises in it, while ORM work is carried out exclusively within the brand itself.

SMRM stands for Social Media Reputation Management, i.e., it is related to promoting social networks, which are just a part of the global Internet. Moreover, SMRM strategy, unlike PR, is focused on brand social media promotion.

Another acronym SERM - stands for Search Engine Reputation Management. Yes, search engine reputation management is also a part of the Internet, so a SERM strategy is a small part of online reputation management. Moreover, ORM works in conjunction with SERM strategy to optimise positive brand mentions in search engines and to supplant incorrect, misleading content in search engine results with information about the company.

However, search engine reputation management cannot be called full-fledged reputation management because the work is done only with search engines. But everything else relates directly to the online reputation management toolkit.

The advantages and disadvantages of online reputation management

advantages and disadvantages of online reputation management

Among the advantages of ORM stand out:

  • The creation and maintenance of a positive brand image and a positive product quality assessment;
  • Increasing brand awareness;
  • Increasing customer loyalty;
  • Obtaining feedback;
  • Eliminating negativity and promoting positive content;
  • Detecting competitors who act dishonestly.
  • Despite the advantages, online reputation management has significant disadvantages:
  • Difficulty in predicting accurate results;
  • The complexity in processing and systematising all feedback, comments and mentions of the brand;
  • A large amount of work creates a separate team of employees and, consequently, additional costs.

In any case, do not neglect online reputation management because the further promotion and development of the company depend on it, especially if it is an online business.

Components of online reputation management

There are several key components to the online reputation management process:

  1. Online reputation monitoring is the collection and analysis of all mentions of a brand on the Internet. It helps to prevent crisis situations because the sooner you become aware of a pending problem, the sooner you can find a solution.
  2. Responsiveness, i.e., processing feedback from users and maintaining feedback with them.
  3. SERM - Search Engine Reputation Management - implies building a positive brand reputation in search engines.
  4. The publication of new content, namely increasing the number of mentions, placing positive information about the company in the network and UGC (user-generated content).

More about the stages of ORM implementation

More about the stages of ORM implementation

Stage 1: Analyse or grade your online reputation score

The first step is to understand the company's current business reputation precisely. It is best to answer a few basic questions:

  • How high is your current brand awareness?

  • How can you assess your brand's reputation - is it positive or negative?

  • What is the level of customer loyalty to the brand?

To answer these and other related questions, look closely at what people write about your company online. It could be reviews, comments, posts, or other material mentioning the brand. Therefore, it is best to compile a query list which should include the keywords of the search, i.e., brand name, slogan, name of its founder or spokesperson, name of the most popular product and so on.

After that, you should analyse the users' attitude towards the brand because the customer's opinion will allow you to determine the company's reputation, whether it is reliable and whether its products are high quality and in demand. Finally, evaluate the ratio of positive and negative comments, and listen to all reviews, especially those that criticise any products or their functionality. In this way, you can identify the most urgent problems you must immediately address, the weaknesses that you must clean up, and the benefits that keep the product useful and relevant to your audience.

Stage 2: Competitive environment and market analysis

ORM involves analysis of your competitors' reputations as well. So, start by identifying your main competitors and researching their sales tactics and results. Then, in simple terms, analyse your competitors' promotional activities. After that, you should highlight your brand's advantages over its peers. Nevertheless, don't forget that the most important thing is to point out any shortcomings and weaknesses that you should work on first. In this way, you will understand how your product differs from the competition and what unique features will allow you to attract more customers. Use this information later to develop your ORM strategy and build an online reputation.

Stage 3: Develop and implement an online reputation management strategy

This stage involves responding to all those reviews, comments and posts you identified in the first stage of reputation analysis or monitoring. Additionally, responding to company mentions also builds on the information provided in stage two. Thus, you should not neglect the previous points and start implementing the strategy immediately. Otherwise, you will not be able to handle all the audience queries and will not fully understand the market situation. Only after a detailed analysis of your reputation and your competitors' reputation can you move on to the third phase, which consists of several steps.

  • Step 1: Assembling the team

To respond quickly to changes in brand reputation, you have to assemble a special team which will work directly with online reputation and monitor the results of the ORM strategy. Therefore, it's best to create a dedicated online reputation management department of several people. But in the case of a local company, and if it is unfeasible to form a whole department, you should entrust the ORM implementation to at least three to four employees.

  • Step 2: Systematisation, or sorting

Next, all the collected references should be systematised. For example, they can get divided into positive and negative mentions concerning the brand. Also, comments may be different in purpose - this may be a question the user addresses to the company's representative, a critical review you must answer, or a whole post about the brand.

  • Step 3: Processing and response

After that, you need to start processing comments promptly: answer customer questions, and in response to critical reviews, explain why a product is faulty or how to use a particular product correctly. Finally, remember to respond to positive mentions of your brand by replying with appreciation and kind words to your customers.

  • Step 4: Evaluating effectiveness

Once you have completed the previous steps, you must monitor the statistics, i.e., reach and engagement. The audience will notice the activity on the part of the company, so in the future, there will be an increase in the number of mentions of the brand and the dynamics of active users.

Remember that responding to comments and any other mentions of the company should be regular so that the brand reputation remains positive and gradually improves, as well as recognition and customer loyalty increases.

The basic principles of online reputation management

The basic principles of online reputation management

If you stick to the following principles, your online brand reputation will gradually repair and even improve. These are the best practices for an ORM strategy:

  • Responsiveness

Try to answer questions from customers or any other comments immediately. Social media and other communication channels should get monitored regularly because a quick response prevents negative comments from users who have not received their answers. However, if negative feedback is already noticed, you should first respond to it. That way, you show your customers that if they are dissatisfied with the company's products, you will try to clean up all the problems to make them as comfortable as possible. Moreover, it will help the company to fix its online reputation.

  • The ability to admit mistakes

If a company gets caught in a scandal, apologising is the best solution. Showing remorse and admitting to being wrong can smooth over tense situations and avoid damaging customer relations.

  • Fewer scripts and more live communication

A script is a strategy or algorithm for a conversation with a potential client. It implies a set of theses, specific questions and lines. But in the ORM strategy, such communication with potential customers can cause only negative emotions. Therefore, you should respond to each user's feedback individually. That's why it's essential to listen carefully to the customer's comment, understand the situation and help resolve it.

  • Solving problems in the here and now

Try to solve the problem on the spot. You should not ask the user to write to the technical support chat or call the hotline. They've come to you, so you need to solve their problem. If you need extra help from tech support or other experts, contact them directly and not make the client do it.

The best online reputation management services

  • Podium

This platform is designed to collect and manage your reviews. Podium works with all companies regardless of their size or industry. The programme's main advantage is the central placement of feedback from all review sites and social networks in one place. Furthermore, it enables you to react quickly to emerging comments.

  • Gadook

This service offers not only review management services, social media optimisation and positive mention monitoring to boost a brand's search engine ranking. Gadook also handles complete online reputation repair, brand building and development from the ground up, rebranding and reputation services for individuals such as company founders and presidents.

  • WebiMax

This digital marketing agency provides access to a range of online reputation management services, including content creation, website and social media monitoring, brand promotion and positive reputation building. WebiMax analyses your brand's online reputation and then works with your company to develop a strategy that meets specific needs. Additionally, the platform assigns a dedicated consultant manager to the brand, who will lead the ORM implementation project and keep management informed of the progress of each step.

This way, even a few negative feedbacks will quickly make themselves heard. Therefore, it is important to protect and manage your reputation online so that negative brand mentions do not lead to severe damage, such as a decrease in reach, audience loyalty, brand awareness and, eventually, customer retention. Instead, online reputation management will reinforce these parameters, improve brand image, communicate brand values, and promote positive content.