Online Reputation Management: Why You Should Use It And How To Get Started
In today’s connected world, a brand’s voice is no longer solely defined by the brand, but also by public feedback — largely online. So how you manage your company’s online reputation matters. It’s about promoting and protecting your brand so it can be discovered, followed, recommended and even defended in a predominantly digital marketplace. And it’s not as easy as simply running your own website or social media pages. You have to influence and fact check what everyone else says about your company. Doing online reputation management right is something companies should prioritize.
Digital marketing is not just trendy; it’s essential.
Let’s start with the facts. According to Pew Research, about 70% of Americans use social media. Let’s not forget that social media is deeply embedded in the customer journey, especially for discovery and research. But social media isn’t limited to just Facebook or Instagram — according to Datareportal, typical social media users are members of more than eight different platforms.
Throw in the fact that 2020 has been an epically unusual year. With the pandemic, Black Lives Matter and the recent U.S. election, it’s no surprise that Datareportal found that as of January 2021, the annual growth in social media users was over 13%.
These staggering figures reemphasize what we know is true — today’s consumer experience is influenced and often defined by what’s online.
Managing your business’s online reputation is serious business…and it never ends.
Marketers know that advertising online is one of the fastest and most effective ways to reach target audiences. But what about monitoring and ensuring all digital content about your brand — including user-generated content — is accurate and appropriate? That’s why online reputation management is so important. In fact, according to Weber Shandwick data (via PR Newswire), executives believe their companies’ reputation accounts for 63% of their market value on average.
Online reputation management includes having accurate business listings and relevant advertisements, staying on top of engagement with consumers on your company’s marketplace and social channels, understanding their pain points and responding to reviews and surveys. Particularly for large companies, this can mean processing large volumes of data quickly, accurately and economically, including consumer reviews, surveys and social posts across multiple online points of presence, while continually making sure your content is professional, transparent, relatable and fresh
Another area to consider is content moderation. At Alorica, we deploy content moderation experts to monitor digital content to protect clients and their customers from online abuse. This includes identifying fraudsters, fake news, illegal content, data privacy violations, harassment, hate speech and more, all of which can damage a company’s reputation. It’s important to monitor content to ensure the platforms you use to connect with consumers are safe and aligned to your brand. As people all around the world continue to talk about brands and their products, companies have a lot at stake reputationally and financially if they fail to make good decisions in both online reputation management and content moderation.
A combination of humans and bots can help protect your business.
As passionate consumers take to the internet to share opinions, unfortunately, brand bashing, misleading information and flat-out inaccuracies about your products will get out there. Such content erodes trust and confidence in brands. It can also put individuals and online communities at risk.
So, what can you do to counter this digital threat? You can deploy a digitally-enabled human shield that allows you to stay aware and help you control your brand’s narrative on the worldwide web.
As companies rely more on online communities to deliver customer experiences (CX), ensuring a safe environment for people to interact in is paramount. But when you’re regulating a virtual landscape, the importance of the human element cannot be overemphasized. While you can use AI and automation to make broad sweeps and flag obvious offenses, the subtleties of some content and context can only be detected by a well-trained team.
If your business is looking to manage and monitor online content about your brand in house, it’s critical that you hire the most fit candidates up front for this type of specialized work. Deploy recruiting assessments and realistic job previews that help identify the right people — psychologically, culturally and behaviorally. Look for those with high attention to detail, resiliency, stress tolerance and emotional intelligence. Also, make sure to provide ample hands-on practice and simulations for moderating a variety of policies and topics, and change them up frequently. Introduce wellness and coping techniques in resiliency training and encourage group conversations about understanding the importance of a content moderator’s role.
Given the complexity of work and changing regulatory requirements, I believe the need for expert content monitoring and moderating is significantly increasing. Meanwhile, with machine learning, AI, statistical analysis and predictive modeling, companies are now able to increase and improve their visibility, engagement and CX online.
For companies that opt to go with an online reputation management and/or content moderation partner, look for scalability, speed and skill — and make sure you choose someone who understands your particular market and consumer profile well. Find a partner that has expertise in hiring and training a highly qualified and specialized workforce. Then deploy the right kind of safety protocols to protect the people doing this work and the content itself.
It’s important to stay plugged in, protected and popular.
The world is more connected than ever, but our online communities struggle with bad actors who can sully the reputation of well-respected brands with misinformation. Like it or not, social media is the media, and the internet is the marketplace. So, it’s our responsibility as brand ambassadors to keep the facts straight and our reputations going strong…because, you know, the internet never sleeps.
Why Online Reputation Management Is Important?
In ever-expanding internet culture, it’s important to not only create and market, but also protect the organization’s identity. Many firms understand the value of creating & marketing their brand but are unaware of the vital nature of protecting a brand. Creating brand value & marketing requires a strategic approach. In a similar way, protecting said brand requires vigilance. This makes online reputation management a necessity for every brand. So how does one protect a brand? What are the threats? How does one overcome challenges & thrive? Let’s examine.
How online reputation management impacts an organization?
It affects your credibility & trust. When a new customer researches your brand, they can learn of various customer interactions and opinions. It’s always easy for a new customer to check for reviews and feedback online through various social media channels. A good online reputation management plan not only increases trust & credibility but also gives you monetary benefits.
Online sales, sales are directly proportional to a good online reputation. Before buying a product or asking for a service, people tend to question the brand’s customer interactions. If they find your service positively endorsed by others, it’s more likely that they will buy your products and services. For a good reputation, you’ll have to keep a positive image regarding your brand’s products and services.
To an organization, their employees and customers are most important as they are the two pillars that support the company. To serve the customer better, you need talent who will produce satisfactory customer experiences. Before joining any organization, potential employees prefer to research feedback & reviews provided by workers, both current & previous. So if your current employees project positivity, it will be easier for you to attract & acquire new talent.
How do you protect your online reputation?
In this digital world, a firm has many social platform options it can utilize to interact with customers. A customer may ask for a solution to their problem or they may be giving feedback about their experience. Every comment or interaction has a sentiment value attached to it. The sentiment may be positive or negative, but either way it affects the opinion of a reader or a new customer researching your brand. People hold peer reviews in high regard before making up their minds to consider using a service. You need to maintain a positive sentiment value about your company on social media. To maintain a positive sentiment value you have to analyze the content and acknowledge or reply to positive and/or negative content in ways that promote a positive atmosphere. You can also increase positivity by asking for feedback from satisfied customers.
Acknowledging negative sentiment is an important opportunity to show a genuine attitude and solve a problem. It also empowers customers and gives importance to their opinions. This shows that you not only care for your clients but are also willing to help them. This will project a positive sentiment.
It’s an increasing trend among competitors to hamper the online reputation management of rival companies, which results in a contest to maintain brand value stability. To counter this, you need to reach out to satisfied customers who can help by giving good quality reviews to increase positivity.
What’s the role of an online reputation management firm?
An online reputation management firm does the following things to maintain brand value:
- Identifies your best performing platforms or social media channels.
- Analyzes trends & content posted on these platforms
- Flags negative content for you to address.
- Provides a strategic approach to keep up positivity across all channels.
While many practices recognise the importance of online reputation management and are allocating resources towards making and maintaining a positive impression online, it is also important to understand the best strategies to achieve just that.
Meaningful Customer Engagement
By engaging with your customers in a meaningful way, you can harness their voices as powerful marketing tools. Social media is particularly useful as it provides companies with the opportunity to respond and converse directly with their customers regarding their experience visiting your practice.
This is important as the comments people post online are out of the practice control, so being an active part of conversations about their products and services is the only way a practice can influence them positively.
Maximising Social Media Presence
By using social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter (to name just two of the most platforms), an optical practice can react quickly to any comments made by customers. If the comment is positive, then any interaction with that customer will only make that commendation more visible. Any complaints can of course be dealt with in a positive way, ensuring that even a negative online comment can be turned into a positive experience.
Another benefit of having a communicative social media presence is the ability to respond to questions and inquiries of potential patients. While one person may be motivated to directly ask a question, there may be many more who are browsing the conversation but who do have the time or inclination to post online messages themselves. By responding to one potential customer’s question, you are actually responding to many potential customers who had the same or similar question.