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What Is Internet Reputation Management?

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What Is Internet Reputation Management?

Read time 8 min read
What Is Internet Reputation Management

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What is Online Reputation Management?

To become successful and achieve growth, your customers must be satisfied. Your interactions with consumers regarding products and customer service are extremely important. Even if you are careful and ensure you offer only high-quality products and service, you will occasionally have an unsatisfied customer. When a customer is angry or upset, they often post an online review to tell their story to the world. For instance:

What Is Internet Reputation Management

(Image Credit: Toast)

An unflattering review spreads quickly whether it is truthful or not. This is when online reputation management becomes important. This is when your online reputation is actively managed, and is also referred to as ORM, digital reputation management and cyber reputation management. The purpose is minimizing negative feedback from your customers to help preserve a positive online presence.

ORM addresses all false or negative comments posted online including active monitoring whenever your brand is mentioned on social media or websites. All negative comments are responded to in addition to any traditional or social stories that make your business look bad. A good example is making a public statement to address the story or publishing a post on social media.

Why is Internet Reputation Management Important?

Your brand can take a lot of hits online. Even if they are fairly small such as a low star rating or an occasional negative comment, they add up. This does not mean a major PR campaign is necessary because you can effectively handle everything with internet reputation management. By taking care of any negativity before it has a chance to grow, you can prevent serious damage to your brand.

One of the most important parts of brand loyalty is transparency. Modern consumers are interested in transparent interactions, direct responses and personalized comments. ORM helps your company eliminate potential damage from negative claims and comments by addressing them openly and directly. What you post on the internet and what consumers say about your business directly impacts your online reputation.

Your online reputation is determined by numerous factors including your visibility and the type of content consumers view when conducting an online search for your brand, company, services or products. Some comments will be positive or neutral, but there will also be some negativity. In most instances, the first impression received by consumers regarding any business is online.

The concept of privacy has changed drastically over the years. Unfortunately, not everything posted online is truthful. There are numerous articles, blogs, posts and comments distorting reality. To make certain you preserve your online reputation, ORM is necessary.

Strategies to Control Online Reputation

The number of websites and social media platforms potentially mentioning your company or brand is virtually limitless. For this reason, digital reputation management can appear to be intimidating or formidable. In order to succeed, having a good strategy in place is essential to manage the online reputation of your business. Consider using one of the strategies outlined below.

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Addressing Negativity with Transparency

When you see negative customer reviews or comments, there is always a temptation to ignore or discount them. Numerous businesses are afraid responding will draw attention. The truth is the opposite. By ignoring unsatisfied or angry customers, you can harm your business. Approximately 82 percent of consumers read online reviews. Among them, 97 percent read the response of the company.

Addressing negativity is a good way to show consumers that if there is an issue with your business, you will handle it. You can help control your reputation by responding to all negative reviews and comments. Any customer issues should be handled with determination and patience. Consistently responding to negativity shows unhappy customers you are interested in their issues and want to help.

Consumers need to know you are listening to their concerns with the intention of finding a solution. Tell the consumer you understand their concerns, then offer them a way to resolve the issue by contacting your customer service department directly. If you do not respond, your customer and anyone reading the review will most likely believe you do not care. Here is a good example of a business responding to a negative comment:

What Is Internet Reputation Management

(Image Credit: Vendasta)

There have been instances where a business received comments and questions about a news story or something posted on social media. When the business does not respond, the public assumes the worst. By directly addressing anything negative about your business or brand you are protecting your reputation. Choosing not to respond is a mistake and often results in serious damage.

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Answering Negativity Quickly and Sincerely

In some instances, the best cyber reputation management takes place before a negative review or comment is posted. When one of your customers contacts you directly by posting on a social media platform or sends you a direct message, you need to answer them as quickly as possible. According to a survey, 83 percent of consumers expect to receive a response to comments posted on social media in 24 hours or less.

If you respond quickly, you can prevent frustrated customers from posting negative feedback because you are showing them you want to help. Always answer their comments with empathy. Your customers need to understand you want to solve their issues. Your response should make your customer feel like your concern is genuine and their business is important to you.

Make certain your customer knows your concern is sincere. Provide them with a way to contact your business directly so their issue can be solved quickly. If you take too long to respond, what could have been contained through a private message can escalate into public negativity. A good example is American Eagle. The company received a private message from a customer asking a question but failed to respond. Here is another example of the company leaving the conversation after failing to solve the issue:

What Is Internet Reputation Management

(Image Credit: Sitejabber)

The customer became frustrated and posted about a negative experience with the company. The result was extremely negative feedback for the public to read. All of this could have been prevented with ORM. Preventing negative publicity is possible simply by responding to questions with empathy and speed. Not only will this satisfy your customers, but you will also be building a good online reputation.

Admit When You Make a Mistake

If your business is under scrutiny due to a perceived or real scandal, simply apologize. When you demonstrate remorse, you strengthen your relationships with consumers and can diffuse difficult situations. Apologizing shows consumers your business is both transparent and honest. Your apology should be genuine to effectively resolve the problem. Address the main concerns of the media and consumers directly and openly.

Explain what you intend to do to resolve the issue in detail. Think about the medium you will use for your apology. If the majority of negative feedback is coming from a social media platform, this is the most appropriate medium for you to use. A good example is an apology Starbucks posted on Twitter due to an incident involving the arrest of two African American gentlemen in a Philadelphia store. For instance:

What Is Internet Reputation Management

A policy review accompanied the direct apology. This led to the closing of all stores throughout the nation for 24 hours to complete employee training for racial-bias. Pepsi took a different approach than Starbucks regarding an apology. The result was even more damage to their reputation. Everything began when Pepsi received a lot of negative feedback regarding an ad placed in 2017.

The ad featured a standoff between protesters and the police. The situation was resolved when Kendall Jenner gave cans of Pepsi to the police offers. The public was outraged because they believed the ad belittled protestors that had been arrested. The situation was even worse because the ad showed an image from Baton Rouge, Louisiana featuring protesters against police brutality.

Pepsi placed its focus and apology on Kendall Jenner as opposed to the issues the public had regarding the ad. Pepsi never referred to the photo in the ad and there were very few comments about the fact the public believed they were taking serious protests far too lightly. Even though the ad was removed, the public was not satisfied leading to a ratings drop continuing into the next year among young consumers.

Both companies and people make mistakes. What is important are the steps taken to correct the issue and make certain it does not happen again. This is how you can show consumers your business is honest and will admit when you have made a mistake.

Remain Current with Search Results

A lot of marketers believe SEO is nothing more than a means of maintaining brand visibility. SEO is just as important to minimize the negativity of bad content and press linked to your brand. The idea is to have your website listed first when a search is conducted for your products or services. Over 31 percent of clicks come from the top result on SERPs.

There is a 10 times greater chance consumers will click on the first result as opposed to a business listed just 10 spots down. You can monitor the search results for your brand viewed by consumers by using an incognito window. The information for your competitors can appear first because they are able to bid on the branded keywords you are using. This means to keep the top spot, you might have to bid on your keywords.

The top Google results display your business, main page, business page, positive reviews and social media. The first result on Google is a paid advertisement from one of your direct competitors. Even though one of your potential customers conducts a search for your company, you might not receive their business because they click on the first listing, the paid ad.

You can improve your search results by providing satisfied customers with encouragement to submit positive reviews on the top sites. The result is an improvement in your average rating potential customers will see before looking at individual reviews.

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Automating Reputation Management

You can eliminate the need to manually search social media and websites to determine your online reputation by using software created to automate the process. Google Alerts is one of the easiest monitoring tools to use. All you need to do is enter the name of your brand to begin receiving notifications of news and media stories mentioning your company. Here is an example of one of those alerts:

What Is Internet Reputation Management

(Image Credit: Ahrefs)

You will know immediately when your business is being discussed. This enables you to respond quickly when necessary. Some tools monitor social media in addition to crawling websites. Key emotion words are analyzed to help determine the way consumers feel about your company and brand. You can also track the SERP positions of your competitors and brand with a search ranking analysis. Automated tools give you additional time to strengthen and repair your relationships with dissatisfied consumers.

Importance of Reviews

In the past, the options for an unsatisfied customer were limited regarding sharing a negative experience with the public. The best the consumer could do was tell their friends and family what had happened. The chances their poor review would spread were extremely unlikely. Due to the internet and new technology, the same is not true today.

Online reviews are trusted by eight out of every 10 consumers as much as recommendations from friends and family. This means the modern consumer has been conditioned to read numerous online reviews before making a purchase from a new company. If your reviews are poor, you will lose business.

Prominence of Online Reviews

Due to the trust of consumers, new review sites are constantly available on the internet. This availability provides consumers with a greater abundance of outlets for their experiences and opinions than ever before. The review format has also become increasingly prominent. Star ratings are now available directly next to the organic search results in paid ads on AdWords and local results from Google. For instance:

(Image Credit: Clearcode)

Online reviews have become common on social media platforms. Facebook has become the second most popular site for popular recommendations and reviews throughout the world. Consumer reviews are solicited by numerous businesses encouraging them to share their opinions of different brands and businesses. It has become impossible to hide from reviews or pretend like they do not exist.

Due to the faith of consumers in the experiences of strangers and friends alike, there will be reviews regarding your business posted online. The success of your business is partially dependent on your review. Too many poor reviews can break your company apart.

Social Proof and Online Reviews

One of the most critical aspects of the consumer purchasing process is social media. Businesses are interested in achieving the highest possible ratings on Google. Consumers can find additional information in numerous ways including social media business pages. Review platforms and Facebook reviews offer social proof regarding the quality of your company.

The increasing popularity of social commerce means social platform reviews can affect the decision of consumers making a purchase. According to a report pertaining to social media users, the most recent purchases were made through Facebook. Research has shown the primary influencer for social media purchases is Facebook. This means when you have good reviews on Facebook, the bottom line of your business is positively impacted.

You need to take the ranking factor into consideration. Online views are extremely important as a ranking factor. Studies have shown the correlation between local search results and view responses, volume and negative reviews. The majority of businesses have specific keywords they want to rank for. When you mention the city your business is located in and the areas you serve, the result is generally a higher ranking for your results with Google My Business.

Increasing Conversions Using Reviews

The most critical asset for your company is the reputation of your brand. More so than in the past, potential customers will look at online reviews before making a decision. Consumers look at different local businesses, the available services and the products with the best ratings. More than eight out of every 10 consumers making an online purchase trust online reviews.

You can send a strong trust signal to consumers validating their decision to make a purchase from your company with the display of 5-star reviews. Consumers are reading more reviews than in the past before they believe the business can be trusted. Many read a minimum of 11 reviews before making a decision. Offering consumers easy review access through media channels you own will improve the chances of receiving more conversions.

Improving Google My Business Click-Throughs

Consumers have a lot of faith in online reviews with 87 percent looking for three to five-star reviews before considering shopping with a local or online business. If you do not actively solicit reviews with consistent three to five-star ratings, there is a good chance your potential customers will do business with one of your competitors. Listing your business will increase both your click-through rate and positive reviews. This improves the bottom line of your business.

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Internet Reputation Management, also called Online reputation management (ORM), is there to address negative concerns or comments, and monitors when your brand is mentioned online or on social media.

This is critical for you to build and maintain a positive brand identity among your customers, both current and potential customers.

These companies help businesses to encourage positive reviews online and often offer benefits in exchange for reviews.

This is software specifically designed to monitor online reviews of certain products and/or services. It helps to spread any positive reviews through various platforms.

First off, promote positive, high-quality content, images and links. Build good backlinks to your articles. Update content regularly with relevant keywords.


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Daniel Urmann

Author Bio:

Daniel Urmann is the co-founder of Diib.com. Over the past 17 years Daniel has helped thousands of business grow online through SEO, social media, and paid advertising. Today, Diib helps over 150,000 business globally grow online with their SaaS offerings. Daniel’s interest include SMB analytics, big data, predictive analytics, enterprise and SMB search engine optimization (SEO), CRO optimization, social media advertising, A/B testing, programatic and geo-targeting, PPC, and e-commerce. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) focused in Finance and E-commerce from Cornell University – S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management.


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