Online Reputation Management (ORM) includes monitoring, influencing, managing, and defending the online presence of your company, brand or name. Proactive Reputation Management is where you take active ownership and control of your online presence. Get in the “driver’s seat” and adopt ORM best practices.
Take preventative action to manage your online presence before someone has you in their “cross-hairs.” Anyone with an ax to grind represents a potential threat to your reputation, such as former employees who feel that they were unfairly treated, angry customers that blame your company because a problem wasn’t addressed their satisfaction. Moreover, a competitor may take action to undermine your success by attempting to damage your reputation. Malevolent press in any form can destroy a company’s reputation overnight.
Consider the fact that over 82% of consumers conduct research using one of the major search engines before making a purchase. When a potential customer searches online for products and services that your company offers, you want the search engine result pages to deliver overwhelming positive news about your company – endorsing the integrity and value of your brand and reputation. Make sure that these hungry consumers are greeted with only positive news about your company.
You’re responsible for promoting your brand and protecting it from people who exploit the power of the web, anomalously; posting lies, rumors or half-truths with complete immunity. Defend and retain your online reputation so your company is always perceived as a trusted supplier of goods and services.
Take control of your online brand and presence before someone else does who may want to hurt your company, brand, and reputation.
Establish a strong online brand using best practices that will prevent or mitigate negative coverage.
Proactively defend your reputation and mitigate negative coverage through preventative actions.
Monitor direct online competitors, you’re competing for market share which means customers. Your reputation must be at least as good and preferably better than your competitors, or value-based selling will quickly turn into selling exclusively on price with eroding margins and lower business valuation.
Respond and engage when attacked by a person or group that may be slandering your reputation
Prevent and mitigate negative posts or news through preemptive, preventative and reactive reputation management practices as appropriate and applicable to the situation.
The first step in the process of proactive reputation management is building a strategic plan with a roadmap for taking control of your online presence that outlines the approach steps necessary to establish a rock-solid foundation for your online reputation.
A well-architected plan supported by reliable intelligence will go a long way in keeping your brand unblemished.
Regularly monitor every major search engine, blog network, social network, media site, and news outlet with technology that will provide you with nearly real-time information about your company and brand. Employ these best practices to get a complete and accurate picture of your online reputation. The following outlines the primary elements that go into the creation of a comprehensive ORM plan:
- Research and Discovery
- Review and analysis of your online presence
- Online brand positioning inventory
- Online messaging
- Critical content and interactions
- Sentiment and buzz analysis
- Current approaches to promote online brand and reputation
- Channel selection and placement
- A budget for online brand promotion, protection, and management
- Website audit and review
- Evaluation of customer interactions both online and offline
- Methods and effectiveness for communicating with customers
- Competitor monitoring, online presence assessment and benchmarking
- Risk assessment
- Survey key executives
- Formal strategy session
- Initial plan design and architecture
- Revision and delivery of plan for execution
- Ongoing management and reporting
In addition to what you uncover through real-time monitoring of the web and all the vital information harvested as part of developing the strategic plan, do a deeper dive into several online channels and offline areas where an interdependency exists requiring further inspection and understanding, including but not limited to the following:
- Niche Forums
- Forum Posts
- Financial Message Boards
- Consumer Reports
- Consumer websites
- Social Media Sites
- Facebook Profiles
- LinkedIn Profiles Newspaper Archives
- Image Results
- Video Sharing Sites & Posts
- Blogging Portals and Comments
- Search Engine Results
After concluding the deep inspection phase, review and analyze the data, including both the positive and negative listings or news. Look for trends and channels of dysfunction that exist which represent an unacceptable level of exposure to the company and risk to your brand.
Trends that transcend the web into the offline world are extremely important to understand. Reliable, actionable data in addition to accurate assessment will provide you with rich insight concerning what’s being said about your brand, where, how often (volume) and so forth.
Prepare and continually update a detailed sentiment analysis report that includes buzz rating factoring concerning your (quantitative and qualitative) findings. This can be useful for sentiment analysis analytics. It is a relatively standard measure, so the buzz rating can be used to see how you rank against your industry peers and competitor.