Gone are the days when digital PR and reputation management were reserved for celebrities and big brands, the internet and power of the online voice has changed this sphere for the long run.
Managing your digital image is now a job for brands of all shapes and sizes as one poor review or miss-managed publicity piece could drastically impact your brand. Luckily, the digital age has also given us lots of tools and tricks to ensure your online reputation can be effectively managed and a space for good, turning online reputation into a source for business growth and development.
In this blog, we’ll dive into what online reputation management is, and some key tips to improve your brand name online.
Over 90% of consumers report that they use search at every stage of their customer lifecycle, from researching brands and products to assessing reviews, and hopefully purchasing. However, if there is negative press around your brand in the initial research and discovery stage, you’re less likely to capture those new sales and leads, proving why online reputation is so important! So, let’s dive into how you can manage your online presence.
Firstly, let’s define what we’re talking about. Online reputation management, or ORM, focuses on developing a positive public perception of a brand, business, charity or person through digital means.
Although traditional forms of media, such a press and TV can be incorporated into your ORM strategy, it’s main focus is the online world. This is because the nature of online commentary has drastically changed throughout the years. With the power of the internet and social media, a story can be circulated in seconds and, if this is a negative opinion, it has the potential to damage a brand reputation in minutes if a strong ORM strategy is not in place.
In a nutshell, ORM encompasses all brand monitoring and reputation management across the internet to ensure your organisation is properly presented online and potential customers are given a great impression of your business.
So, that’s the basics covered, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it and see how to do online reputation management with 10 tips to improve your digital reputation.
Assessing and auditing is always a fantastic place to start, to improve your online presence, you need to know what you’re working with. This first step is crucial for all organisations considering their ORM, if this is the first time you’ve considered your online reputation or if you’re a seasoned reputation manager. Before putting any ORM process in place, conduct an extensive online reputation audit to see what online traffic is related to your brand and how this will impact your reputation.
A great place to start is by doing some simple brand monitoring via an incognito browser window and see what appears on the top SERP pages when searching for your brand name. Check that your Google My Business features appear and check if your rating, comments and reviews are a true reflection of your business.
As part of your ORM audit, take a deeper look into the audience comments and reviews around your business. Ask yourself the following questions to get a better sense of what people online think about your company:
From here, you can use a brand monitoring tool or Google alerts to set up notifications for when your brand or brand terms are mentioned online so you’re ready to continue monitoring your online brand commentary.
Once you’ve got an understanding of where your current online reputation lies, you can now develop your ORM goals to help push your recognition further and ensure your brand is focused on positive press.
Consider the wider aspects of what areas you want to focus on or the platforms you want to utilise, as well as specific KPIs which will help the development of your ORM. For example, setting a required response time to Google review questions for your brand to hit.
When you’re assessing your ORM you’ll likely be filled with lots of ideas you could action to improve your digital reputation, but it’s important to assess which ones will have the best required impact for where your business is now – as you won’t be able to fulfil them all at once!
Develop an impact based ORM strategy with timelines when you’ll action each idea and allocate your resources based on these goals and which will provide the highest impact for your business.
Once your ORM strategy is in place, you will be alerted when a new comment is made about your brand, so you need to consider what your response strategy will be. For example, defining which reviews will require an urgent or non-urgent response from your business. Often, urgent responses are allocated to any comments which could be detrimental to your company’s reputation and rightly so. Any negative questions or queries regarding your brand should be seen to as swiftly as possible.
It’s also wise to create a blacklist policy as part of your response strategy as, unfortunately, brand’s do come across blatant trolls where civil conversation cannot be guaranteed. Often, it is sometimes better to blacklist any repeat offenders rather than issue repeat official reposes.
However, a lot of customer response is a lot more positive and tend to be responses to questions or comments. To efficiently answer these queries, build a response template outlining standard company answers or solutions to common topics or questions.
A great way to build your online audience, trust and brand recognition is to develop a strong brand tone or voice and content structure for all digital activity. As ORM spans across the full digital spectrum, it’s important to craft a cohesive brand style and voice for all platforms and channels.
This means that a user who comes across your social post on Instagram will also recognise your style on your website or feel a familiarity with the brand when they see your paid ads on Google. The aim with ORM and brand style consistency is to build a connection across all digital platforms so your brand voice and style can clearly be picked up from each different platform. This will help foster a strong brand awareness and audience trust with your brand as they will be seeing the same content and tone style every time they see your brand name.
This is also an important factor to consider when crafting your digital PR strategy as you need to ensure your brand name is affiliated with stories and topics which relate to your brand as a whole and reflect the brand image and style you’ve mastered.
Hope for the best but plan for the worst! No one wants to think that their business is going to get bashed online – but it happens. Sometimes one small action can turn into a reputation management whirlwind with social media at the centre of it.
In our modern world, stories and commentary can go viral in minutes, so if this is a brand management issues of negative press you need to know how and what to do fast to counteract the storm.
Firstly, make use of brand monitoring tools such as SEMrush to be quickly alerted to any news around your brand – information is key when it comes to responding rapidly.
Next, craft a few draft response phrases or lines which can be worked into any necessary response messages. Remember to keep the tone in line with your branding but also maintain a sense of seriousness as you respond to any difficulty. When crisis hits, you can head to this draft and tailor it to the necessary response.
Finally, plan where you’ll publish your response. Brands often choose Twitter as it is where most conversations circulate and a can be used as a primary communication space for brands responding to difficulties.
Although this step is far from easy, you’ll thank yourself in the future if you do ever have to deal with a crisis management situation. Every minute counts.
Okay, heavy point over – on to something more positive…
Time to stretch those SEO agency muscles and get your brand website all over the SERPs for your brand name search! This may sound like a simple step but it is vital for brands looking to cut through the noise of digital and ensure their brand has a reputable standing. Plus, with many different SERP features to consider, there are lots of creative and effective ways you can get your brand name in the SERPs.
To start with, ensure your SEO practice for your own website is top-notch and that you’re ranking for your brand name on all search engines. You can then start to consider how you can utilise digital PR strategies to infiltrate news outlets and article based SERP results to diversify your exposure and gain more brand awareness. For more information on this, speak to our digital PR experts now!
As well as ranking for your brand name, you can also consider defining your own branded terms to incorporate into your digital awareness strategy which can be used in your search strategy or on social media.
Any buzz words, mottos or hashtags which can be related to your brand will help develop brand recognition for your audience and become an additional link back to your brand quality.
For example, here at digital marketing agency Absolute Digital Media, our clients and wider industry contacts know us as the A-Team and we utilise this in our brand copy and on Twitter with our agency hashtags.
And last but not least, the focus of ORM is to further your reputation online by encouraging audience reviews and conversations around your brand online. Yes, bad comments are difficult to navigate, but with your tips for ORM improvement you’ll be able to deal with these if they do appear.
One thing is for certain though, positive commentary and a buzz online around your brand will improve your overall brand awareness, increase your traffic, help boost sales and provide a strong ROI for your online marketing. Online customers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews, meaning that your audiences’ feedback could be the best marketing tool you ever invested in!
So, are you ready to embrace a positive online reputation?