These days, a successful business has to have a solid online reputation. Whether you’re brick and mortar or have an online business, over 70% of potential customers start their journey with you from a Google search. What they find about you has to make a good impression or you’ll lose them.
From reviews to articles to your social media channels, both your and your business’s reputation must be a positive reflection of who you are and what you do. Online reputation management isn’t an add-on; it’s a necessity to capture the buy-in of a potential customer.
Online reputation management works but it’s not easy. A successful strategy has both low-hanging fruit and tactics for the long game. To help you on your journey with online reputation management efforts, digital marketing agency Omega Media has put together five key strategies to managing your online reputation. We’ll cover:
- What is online reputation management?
- Why reputation management is important to your business
- What are the best strategies to manage your brand’s online reputation?
- How a digital marketing agency accelerates your business success
What is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?
In a nutshell, online reputation management, or ORM, is the process of actively responding to and managing what is said about you online. This can be many things, from negative and positive feedback on review platforms like Trustpilot and Facebook reviews, to articles about your business or even you as a business owner, to where you rank on search engines and what the search results are.
Sometimes, search results, customer feedback and other content related to your brand reputation can be unfair and outdated. A successful online reputation management strategy takes a holistic approach to managing both positive and negative online content, meaning actively participating in your online reputation, from responding to reviews to content marketing. There’re many avenues to go down with ORM and it can be overwhelming. This is why Omega Media specialises in creating online reputation management strategies that work and has put together tips here for you as a starting point.
Why reputation management is important to your business
Does your mind wander to online reviews, perhaps negative reviews in particular, when you think of your business’s online reputation? It’s for good reason. At least 92% of people won’t buy from a business that has a negative review, according to a recent study. And the importance of online reviews as a critical point in the buyer’s journey is only on the rise, especially for local businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated businesses’ digital interaction with consumers by three years, pushing the rate of consumers reading online reviews for local businesses up to 87% in 2020 from 81% in 2019.
Traditional review platforms are not the only place where people read and leave feedback. There are a multitude of channels that you should be keeping an eye on for positive and negative reviews, including comments on Instagram, Facebook page reviews, and videos published on YouTube, to name just a few.
Monitoring and responding to online reviews is vital to your business’s success but it’s not the only ingredient in online reputation management. It’s also about where and how you rank in search engines. There’s a joke in digital marketing: If you want to hide a dead body, put it on the second page of Google search results. If when searching for your business, a potential customer doesn’t find you on the first page, then you might as well be dead to them. Another scenario is that they do find your business on the first page but in association with a negative topic or outdated, unfair content. As mentioned earlier, you could lose up to 92% of potential customers with a result like that.
This is where “content is King” comes in, and where it’s time to get creative. There are four overarching categories of content that affect your online reputation in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs): paid, earnt, shared and owned. The degree to which you control content varies in each of these categories but you do have the power to affect each. Whether it be creating Google Ads (paid), sending out press releases to encourage articles to be written about your business (earnt), posting videos to your social media channels (shared) or writing fresh content for your business website’s blog (owned), creating content is an essential part of managing your online reputation.
Clearly, there’s a lot to do and it can be overwhelming. As a framework for creating your business’s successful online reputation management, here are Omega Media’s top five strategies.
What are the best strategies to manage your brand’s online reputation?
- Perform an audit of your business’s online presence. Before getting started with any other ORM strategies, you need to get an overview of what people are already saying about you online. One thing you can quickly try is to open up an Incognito window in your browser and search for your business. The results that come up are what will typically show for everyone (our search results are tailored to our individual online activity but browsing in Incognito removes that tailored information). Is the general sentiment positive or negative? How do you rank in the search results? Are there any results that need your immediate attention? Which results are totally in your control to manage and which results require more complicated strategies?
- Stop doing what gave you a bad review. It sounds obvious but it’s effective. Has someone said your sales manager was too aggressive? Ask them to go easier. Have you not followed regulations? Start doing so. A customer didn’t receive their order as expected? Keep a closer eye on your orders and shipping process. It’s also worth responding to negative reviews with the changes you have made or intend to make. A recent study showed 70% of customers who complained and got a satisfying response from the business will come back to the business again.
- Understand how Google works. To succeed with online reputation management, you need to understand what you’re working with. Just 1% of people go past the first page of Google search results, meaning the content about your business on the first page – if your business is on the first page at all – is what will make or break a potential customer’s journey with you. It’s possible to manipulate these results when you actively participate in your online presence but you need to keep up-to-date with changes in Google’s algorithms and digital marketing trends to do so.
- Produce good, competitive content. Where responding to and managing negative information online is one peice of the puzzle, generating positive information is the other. It’s important to understand that Google loves fresh, quality content. So if your online reputation is affected by old, outdated press releases then Google will reward you for creating new, positive press releases. There are only 10 spots on Google’s first search results page, meaning you only have to bump off 9 (assuming your main website is one of the results) with fresh, relevant, quality, positive content.
- Ask Google to remove a result. The “right to be forgotten” is an EU regulation that gives individuals the right to ask organisations to delete their personal data. However, this can also apply to businesses, applicable to both the search results and the auto-complete suggestions. If a Google search result is causing a demonstrable financial loss for your business, then Google may be held liable for this loss in accordance with some countries’ laws. Obviously, Google doesn’t want this and Omega Media is experienced with handling such cases.
How a digital marketing agency accelerates your business success
Online reputation management is vital to business growth. People are always going to share their experiences, especially negative experience. If you don’t take a proactive and reactive approach to managing your online presence, then your reputation will be tarnished and not just online. On the flip side, taking strategic and holistic measurements to boost your online brand through responding to reviews and generating fresh, relevant content will not only put your online brand in a positive limelight but will also make you more competitive and help your business grow.
It is, however, a lot of ongoing work with a lot of moving parts. And this is where a digital marketing agency comes in. At Omega Media, we specialise in online reputation management and have a whole team of digital marketing experts dedicated to boosting our client’s online presence. We know our clients well, we care about your success and we handle all the moving parts of online reputation management so you can carry on doing what you do best. Keyword analysis, content creation, paid marketing, website development and more is in our DNA.
Get in touch with us today to start your online reputation management journey.