Your business works hard to keep your customers happy. You connect with customers one-on-one and tirelessly develop new products and features to meet customers’ needs.
But even with the best customer service, a business is bound to see its reputation take a hit every now and then.
A customer posts an angry review for the whole internet to see. Or a less-than-flattering media story spreads far beyond what you expected.
That’s where online reputation management comes in.
By actively managing your reputation, you can minimize negative customer feedback and keep your online presence as positive as possible.
To help you get started, we’re walking through the what, why, and how of online reputation management—including strategies you can use for your business.
Let’s dive in!
What Is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management (ORM) is when, in order to address any negative or false comments, you actively monitor mentions of your brand on websites and social media.
ORM mainly works by responding to negative customer comments online and reacting to stories in the media (both social and traditional) that paint your company in a bad light.
For example, you might release a public statement addressing the content of the story or publish a social media post in response.
How Is Reputation Management Different From PR?
Both public relations (PR) and online reputation management have the same goal: portraying the company in the best possible light. The main difference between the two is how they achieve that goal.
PR firms work externally, such as through advertising and coordinated media promotional efforts. It’s mostly a proactive effort to strengthen brands instead of minimizing attacks on companies (though PR firms do sometimes handle damage control).
Online reputation management, on the other hand, is most often reactive. It involves looking for and responding to potentially damaging content from other people or companies.
Most of the work that goes into ORM is handled internally by brands rather than by an external firm.
Why Do You Need to Manage Your Online Reputation?
The hits a brand takes online can be numerous, but they’re often small attacks—a negative comment here, a low star rating there.
None of these blows is worth a full-scale PR campaign, but they add up quickly.
You need online reputation management to take care of each of these little fires before they amount to serious damage.
ORM is also important for maintaining transparency—a vital ingredient of brand loyalty in 2020.
While there is certainly still a place for orchestrated PR campaigns, consumers today are also looking for organic interactions with companies. They want to hear directly from businesses in personalized conversations, such as a direct message or an Instagram comment.
With online reputation management, your business combats negative claims by addressing them directly and openly.
5 Online Reputation Management Strategies You Can Use
Given the sheer number of social media and other sites where your brand might be mentioned, online reputation management can seem daunting.
But don’t worry—we’re here to help! We’ve put together five sound strategies that will help you get started managing your brand’s online reputation.
1. Answer Promptly and With Empathy.
Sometimes the best ORM happens before a negative comment or review is posted. When customers ask questions, whether by messaging you directly or posting on social media, you should respond right away.
A Clutch survey found that 83% of people expect responses to social media comments in a day or less, so don’t wait too long. Prompt responses prevent frustrated users from posting negative feedback and show the customer you place a high value on helping them.