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Managing an Online Reputation: A Detailed Guide

Managing an Online Reputation

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Own an online business? You will need to look into solutions that help you in managing an online reputation.

Today’s customers have a more significant say in reviewing businesses, and online reviews have made it clear that online reputation management should not be treated as an afterthought.

Online Reputation Management, or ORM, is essential for managing and maintaining a good public perception of your brand, business, or even yourself. It involves responding to negative comments through positive reviews and checking for any mentions of said company.

Taking the time to ensure that people view your online reputation positively can help further increase success.

Explaining Online Reputation Management

Online reputation management is invaluable to help raise your brand’s customer trust, impart industry authority, and ultimately generate more sales. While it has some similarities with public relations (PR), ORM is not the same as PR.

PR utilizes connections to generate an advantageous impression of a brand in the digital and physical realms. On the other hand, online reputation management works by watching over, managing, and curating your company’s image and dealings with different media outlets on the web.

Public relations and ORM are two distinct strategies for manipulating how the public views your company.

You will be encountering four main ORM media channels: 

  1. Paid media
  2. Earned media
  3. Shared media
  4. Owned media

Let’s look at them one by one.

Paid Media

Paid media – ranging from Google Ads and social media marketing to sponsored posts, influencer promotions, and more – offers a powerful way for you to take charge of your brand’s narrative. However, there is one major downside: it can be very costly!

Earned Media

Your company can obtain free publicity from external sources with earned media. This type of coverage often involves:

  • Press coverage
  • Blog posts on other websites
  • Forums
  • Industry-specific listing sites (like Glassdoor or Trustpilot)
  • Crowdsourced review sites (like Google or Yelp)

Earning coverage from online reviews and listings can be a great accomplishment. Nevertheless, to truly maximize your business’s outreach and notoriety, you must contact publications as well as influencers for social media exposure or press releases.

Earned media is an excellent way to garner a stellar reputation for your brand, and it builds trust with potential customers browsing the web.

Shared Media

Shared media is content related to your brand that can be found on social networks, and it doesn’t matter if the post comes from you or somebody else.

Faltering to address grievances, unfavorable feedback, and inadequate ratings posted on social media can have detrimental effects on your organization’s reputation and could easily dissuade potential customers.

In the same way, you would pay attention to customer feedback in a physical store, it is essential that you monitor what’s happening on your social media accounts. You must be vigilant and address any negative comments promptly. By doing this, you can ensure that your customers are happy and maintain the integrity of your brand. In this matter, leverage your efforts with influencer marketing as it helps to build trustful relationships with customers.

Owned Media

If you want to maximize the reach of your owned media platforms, such as a website or blog, then getting high rankings on Google is essential. With higher search engine rankings, more people will find and interact with your content. As a bonus – those who do visit are inherently more likely to have been seeking out what you offer in the first place.

Here are a few ways to do so:

  • Generate engaging and beneficial content that is specific to your target audience.
  • Focus your SEO efforts on keywords that are specific to the brand
  • Maximize your on-page SEO performance for higher rankings and improved visibility.
  • Achieve higher rankings in your industry by gaining backlinks from authoritative websites.
  • Enhance your visibility and control how you appear in local search engine results.
  • Utilize electronic business cards to showcase your services and direct traffic to your online platforms.

If you want to be seen and heard, optimization is key. By following SEO best practices, your content will rank higher on Google for relevant keywords that consumers are searching for. That way, your brand will have a more visible presence online – giving it a chance to become an industry leader in no time.

3 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Reputation Management

Establishing and protecting your reputation is essential because it directly affects sales. In fact, according to recent research, six out of ten U.S. consumers would avoid buying from a company they perceive as not trustworthy. So make sure you establish yourself as a reputable brand that customers can rely on.

A bad reputation online can cause immense damage to your brand’s trustworthiness and, in the end, your business.

Here are a few more reasons why managing your reputation is so essential for success:

  • As consumers extensively search online before making a purchase, it directly influences their buying decisions. Research shows 59% of shoppers conduct online investigations, and 97% consult product reviews before acquiring something. Therefore, your business could suffer if your brand has an unfavorable presence on the web.
  • Managing negative reviews is critical. Unfortunately, they are unavoidable in today’s digital world; however, staying active and attentive to your online presence can create opportunities out of criticism! Research shows that customers who had their grievances addressed swiftly on social media – within 5 minutes or less – converted into repeat buyers with bigger spending habits than those ignored.
  • Valuable feedback is essential for continual success, and if multiple customers are making the same complaint – there’s likely a more significant issue at play. Start leveraging customer reviews to gain valuable information about your products, services, or customer experience as a whole in order to ensure lasting improvement.

How to Manage Your Brand’s Online Reputation

To safeguard your reputation, you must take the essential steps to actively manage your brand. By doing so, you’ll be able to avoid PR catastrophes and detrimental reviews.

Here are eight strategies for successful online reputation management that you can begin integrating into your business immediately:

Set up an Online Reputation Audit

Undertaking a thorough online reputation audit before instituting any ORM process is essential. This will enable you to uncover how your customers perceive and discuss you on the web so that you can comprehend what’s going well and which challenges must be addressed for significant modifications to occur.

To initiate the process, it is essential to survey your website, social pages, blog, and any other third-party business profiles. To ensure you have covered all bases thoroughly, inspect Google results.

Follow these steps:

  1. Fire up your browser. Open a tab in incognito mode.
  2. Search for your brand name on Google.
  3. Examine and review your Google Business Profile in detail to ensure all ratings, reviews, comments, and images are all there.
  4. Pay close attention to the websites featured on page one.
  5. Segregate these sites into those you control (such as social media accounts) and ones beyond your power (like third-party websites).

Once you have collected an adequate amount of information, a picture of your brand will begin to form for the average consumer.

Build your Online Reputation Management Strategy

With your brand’s current online reputation in mind, it is now time to create a comprehensive Online Reputation Management (ORM) strategy.

Start by deciding what you want to focus on most.

ORM Prioritization

Structuring the order in which ORM tactics and mentions should be executed will help you streamline your reputation management more effectively.

If you have SEMRush, you can use their Impact Matrix feature to search for your brand and prioritize your tasks. These tasks could appear as follows:

  • Quick wins – Achieving these goals is simple and yields impressive business benefits.
  • Big bets – Although it requires an increased effort, achieving high-impact business goals is worth the investment.
  • Fill-ins – Although straightforward, these solutions have minimal business impact.
  • Thankless tasks – these are things that need a lot of time and energy in something that yields minimal business results.

For example, a ‘quick win’ could be a simple yet effective way to boost your online reputation by promptly and thoughtfully responding to a negative review. Taking the extra few minutes of effort can go a long way to ensure you are seen in the best light possible.

Prioritize responding to critical tasks. If you have an ORM crisis, address it immediately!

After solidifying your prioritization objectives, document them diligently for optimal organization.

Next Steps on Managing an Online Reputation

Without guidelines and consistent messaging, managing your company’s comments, reviews, and mentions from multiple channels can quickly become overwhelming. 

To ensure that you remain on-brand in all customer interactions across each platform, create policy protocols and establish an appropriate voice for everyone to follow.

Policy Documentation

Drafting policy guidelines can help you to effectively manage your reputation and maximize productivity when multiple people are involved. Documenting these rules will ensure everyone is on the same page, ensuring that tasks are completed efficiently and communication is streamlined.

To begin, here are a few ideas to get your documentation started:

  • Who is accountable for which communication channel? When it appears that everyone is responsible, no one has ownership. So make sure you spell out who is accountable for each channel and remain consistent to ensure nothing gets overlooked. If multiple people are working on the same channels, assign their tasks accordingly and ensure these assignments are fulfilled.
  • Response templates. Crafting response templates for frequently asked questions is a smart way to save time and ensure your brand speaks with one unified voice.
  • Discover who are the leading influencers marketing in your industry. Is anyone on the team who ought to be familiar with your influencer partners? Are there any trolls whose comments you can no longer respond to, as doing so would only fuel their flame? Make sure this information is always stored in your policy documents.

Communication Guidelines

Establish clear communication guidelines within your policy documentation to effectively manage daily tasks. These will help you prioritize and determine which responses should take priority.

Depending on your number of followers, you may have a flurry of notifications and reviews at once. Thus, distinguishing what needs to be addressed immediately versus what can wait is critical for efficiently managing these mentions.

Depending on your target audience, the urgency of each task will vary. For example, if a majority of your customers are active on Twitter, then responding to negative tweets should be a top priority over any Facebook comments, as that is where most people in your demographic are likely to see them first.

Type of responses

  • Urgent: Is this review capable of damaging your reputation? Inspect the profile of the individual who wrote it. In case they are influential in your industry, there is a greater likelihood for the negative review to go viral rapidly. If that’s true, you may have an emergency on your hands!
  • Non-urgent: Is this a typical issue that can be fixed quickly? If so, you don’t need to drop all your other tasks immediately. However, establish an estimated response time for non-urgent matters–you wouldn’t want your customers feeling disregarded and forgotten!

Tone of Voice

Create a unique voice for your company and articulate it clearly with everyone who represents the brand or creates content for customers.

In order to create a solid and consistent brand voice, consider the following points:

  • Who is your ideal customer/target audience, and what modes of communication do they prefer?
  • Where does your brand lie on the spectrum – formal, casual, or a balance of both?
  • Does your brand engage with its audience through the use of contemporary language (slang) and emoticons?
  • Is there specific language that could be damaging to your brand’s online reputation if used?
  • What is the ultimate goal of your brand, and how does it guide all communication efforts?

A brand’s tone of voice template could look like this:

  1. Formal vs. Informal: Formal tone of voice is typically more severe and reserved, while an informal tone is more relaxed and conversational.
  2. Professional vs. Personal: Professional tone is focused on the business and industry, while a personal tone is more focused on building a relationship with the audience.
  3. Confident vs. Humorous: Confident tone conveys a sense of strength and assurance, while a humorous tone is lighthearted and can help build a more approachable reputation.
  4. Sarcastic vs. Sincere: Sarcastic tone can add humor to a situation, while a sincere tone is straightforward and honest.
  5. Empathetic vs. Detached: Empathetic tone shows understanding and concern for the audience, while detached tones are more distant and objective.

Ultimately, the choice of tone of voice will depend on the audience and the goals of the online reputation management effort. It’s essential to consider the tone of voice that will best resonate with your audience and align with your brand’s overall reputation strategy.

Set up monitoring of Brand Mentions.

It’s essential to keep an eye on what people have to say about your brand. Ignoring negative comments for too long may cause more significant issues.

Staying on top of your brand’s mentions is effortless with Google Alerts! Set up an alert for your brand name, and you’ll be notified via email whenever new results show up in a search. It couldn’t get any easier than that to stay informed about what people are saying about your brand!

For any other pertinent information, you’ll need to tediously search through social media sites, forums, and all other platforms regularly. This tedious process won’t give you a clear view of the situation either.

With that in mind, we suggest capitalizing on the Media Monitoring app. This instrument collects mentions from all online platforms without fail, which helps save you time and provides an exact illustration of how individuals discuss, share, and engage with your brand on the web.

All online references of your brand name are just a few clicks away with this tool! You can view blog posts and social media content, news articles, forum comments, and more.

Plus, you can filter out particular mentions based on what matters most to you while pinpointing the important ones. Get started today for detailed insights that simplify tracking your reputation online.

With this detailed analysis, you’ll be able to discern how many times you were mentioned, the sites where your name was referenced and their level of influence on other individuals or businesses, a precise calculation of your company’s presence score online, as well as what people have been saying about your brand.

Refer to the data from this tool to evaluate your online reputation and decide if you need any corrective action.

Plan Your Crisis Management Strategy

Unexpected events can occur without warning, but you don’t have to be left ill-prepared. A strategic crisis management plan is the key to ensuring that your business can weather even the toughest storms.

Constructing a well-defined strategy should be a top priority, complete with an internal communication blueprint, specified team members to handle public responses, and a system for timely addressing of social media remarks. An effective and straightforward internal communication can be achieved by establishing a business phone system.

Ahead of time, here are some steps you can take to get ready:

  1. Equip yourself with media monitoring tools to quickly identify any surprising conversations involving your brand.
  2. Remain aware of the latest industry trends. Adjustments in legislation, cultural norms, or technological breakthroughs could put your business under pressure, depending on which sector you are operating in.
  3. It would be best if you recognized which channels your target audience prefers and how best to communicate with them. For instance, if you have a Twitter-savvy crowd, utilize that platform as the primary communication channel—this will ensure that you reach more people quickly and efficiently.
  4. It is essential to recognize who will be in charge of responding to customer feedback and reviews. You may opt to have one or two people publicly communicate during a period of adversity, contingent on the gravity of the circumstance.
  5. When responding to criticism or negative comments, it’s important to keep pre-written responses on hand. That way, you can quickly react at the moment. However, make sure that no two responses are exactly alike; personalization is key here! Otherwise, your message could come across as uncaring and insensitive during a crisis.

While it’s ideal to never be in a crisis, sometimes factors are outside our control. How you react will determine your audience’s opinion of your brand.

Get Customer Reviews Online

To maximize the effectiveness of your online presence, motivate customers to leave honest reviews on Google and other review platforms such as Yelp and Trustpilot. This will heighten your visibility and construct a reputable name for yourself.

Not only do positive reviews have the potential to persuade someone that your business is a better choice, but they can also be seen on Google. Therefore, when somebody searches for your brand name, those glowing reviews will appear at the top (ideally).

How Can Your Customers Leave a Review

Although not all customers will leave reviews, there are a few simple steps you can take to make the review process far more straightforward and encourage higher rates of feedback.

  • Show your appreciation for customers by including links to leave reviews in post-chat emails or after each customer service interaction on your website!
  • Make sure to include easy-to-follow steps with proper links so that customers can quickly and easily leave a review.
  • Increase customer loyalty and encourage reviews by offering enticing discounts to those who take the time to leave feedback.
  • Make sure to address all positive and negative reviews to demonstrate that you value your customers’ feedback.
  • Empower customers to reach out directly whenever they encounter a less-than-ideal experience, as this will help discourage them from leaving negative reviews on your business.

Harness positive reviews’ power and let satisfied customers do the talking for you. Make it easy for them to leave glowing reviews with minimal effort.

Manage Negative Online Reviews

An astounding 94% of customers concede that a negative online review will dissuade them from selecting a certain business.

It is essential to manage any negative reviews that you receive actively.

Start by focusing on the most troublesome reviews. Examine those that appear highest in search engine results, and then look through these platforms:

  • Google Business Profile
  • Social media platforms
  • Third-party listings like Trustpilot or Glassdoor

With thorough diligence, seek out any negative reviews. Now is the opportunity to answer them thoughtfully and promptly.

Respond to Negative Reviews the right way.

Addressing negative reviews in a timely fashion is critical to avoiding an escalation beyond your control. To ensure success, we recommend following these guidelines:

  • Take control of your response time. Timely resolution is vital in avoiding complications, so act swiftly and decisively to ensure any problems stay manageable.
  • Demonstrate respect. Express gratitude for the reviewer’s opinion and be courteous as you address their issues.
  • Admit if you made mistakes. If you or your company is to blame, it’s often wise to address the mistake directly. Remember that a sincere apology might result in legal repercussions in certain circumstances; yet, terms like “How can we make amends?” may still be used as an effective alternative for expressing regret and concern for customer satisfaction.
  • Make sure to keep discussions about negative reviews public – this will demonstrate your willingness to listen and be receptive to other customers. If the review contains confidential customer information, send a private response instead.
  • If your product or service is the source of the problem, extending a refund or discount should be considered an attractive solution. Though it’s often a last-resort option to appease customers, this may prove beneficial in some cases.
  • Get in touch with third-party authors. If a person writes an unfavorable review or blog post about you, make sure to request them for revisions – but only if you have persuasive evidence that displays improvements you’ve made or errors in the post.
  • Constantly refine your service/product to ensure that customers are satisfied with the results. If you observe a recurrent issue, take action and make appropriate changes or upgrades accordingly. Communicate how you’re tackling each problem to let customers know that their feedback is being heard.

How to Limit Negative Reviews in Search Rankings

Although some negative reviews may remain unresolved, fortunately, there are still a few things you can do to help make your positive content rank higher than those bad appraisals in Google. Here are a few strategies that can grant you an edge:

  • Take advantage of the power of positive feedback and showcase testimonials and reviews prominently on your website for maximum impact.
  • Take authoritative content to the next level by refreshing and revising it.
  • Gain instant credibility by creating backlinks to positive articles and reviews on external websites. Doing so will help build your authority, enhance your reputation, and increase your brand’s visibility.
  • Join forces with influencers in your industry to expand the reach of your content.
  • Make sure to showcase your positive reviews on social media, and don’t forget to thank the reviewer for their kind words.
  • Leverage glowing endorsements from other businesses and brands to build customer trust.

While there is no fast-track solution to boosting your ranking, these tips can help you leverage the power of content and make sure it’s seen. Not all of them focus on specific rank factors, but they’ll ensure that positive information about your business gets highlighted in key locations.

Craft On-Brand Content

A cohesive and consistent brand identity is crucial for a successful business. To put it differently, branding refers to the uniformity of your communications and fundamental message across your content. So if you want to stand out from the competition, be sure that your branding is on point.

Your customers’ initial impression of your brand will become the basis for their perception. It is thus essential to ensure that all content you produce reflects and reinforces a unified branding message, helping them remember it more easily.

This is also valid for the following:

  • Search results associated with your brand
  • Your response to customer reviews
  • Your social media communication

Even a simple response to an Instagram comment can make an immense difference. Lululemon, the globally renowned athletic apparel manufacturer, provides replies to customers consistently – even when faced with negative comments. Their approach is a perfect example of how engaging positively and constructively online goes much further than simply ignoring or responding negatively.

When constructing a successful brand, it is essential to develop cohesion in your image and ensure that you take up the majority of search engine results pages (SERPs) for any related queries. This allows positive material about your company to appear first when potential customers search for your business information.

To ensure your brand is found on the first page of Google search results, it’s essential to adhere to SEO standards and practices. To get started, pinpoint your branded keywords – these will be integral for success.

How to Define Your Branded Keywords

When you search for something and include your website’s name or a version of it, that’s branded keyword optimization. To help figure out which ones to target for your business, utilize a feature like Semrush’s Organic Research Tool, which will give you the guidance needed to ensure optimal success.

To determine which branded keywords will be the most successful, look at their search volume. In other words, how many times is this particular term searched over a given timeline?

For instance, terms with an inquiry rate of 1,000 are more popular than those that receive ten queries. Utilizing keywords with higher search volumes can increase your brand’s visibility and reach!

After you pinpoint your most pertinent branded keywords, look at the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) for each.

To ensure the most relevant results when manually searching for keywords on Google, utilize a private browser window. This will help prevent your search from being personalized to you by eluding any information from your history or location that may be used as criteria.

Analyze the data to check for unfavorable reviews or media coverage on the search engine results page.

What about Influencers?

Influencer marketing, or the process of brands working with online influencers to advertise products and services, can be incredibly successful. Through this strategy, businesses have experienced noticeable improvements in their bottom lines.

Organic content can be a fantastic way to expand your reach and visibility, but it should not replace paid media, as you won’t have the same degree of control over your brand’s reputation.

For the most successful outcome, partner with influencers who can best represent your brand identity. When customers already associate them with you, it’s a bonus!

If a social media personality that your desired audience demographic follows and has organically posted about you in the past already wears your clothes, that could be an ideal influencer partnership.

Conversely, it wouldn’t be wise to consider an influencer who has never worn your apparel before and consistently promotes other brands in the same niche.

Start an Influencer Marketing Campaign the right way.

Before starting any influencer marketing campaign, the first step is clearly establishing your desired goals. For instance, these campaigns can increase brand awareness and engagement, generate content from influencers, or even drive sales.

Establish a budget for your campaign once you have decided on its goal. Rates charged by influencers can differ significantly, so thoroughly investigate the field before contacting anyone.

You may consider manually reaching out to influencers or utilizing the BuzzGuru Influencer Analytics tool to obtain an estimated rate.

Now, let’s discover influencers in your industry. Instead of wasting time and effort trying to find the perfect person through cold emails or aimlessly scrolling social media, collaborate with a reputable influencer agency such as Tiddle or use a feature like SEMRush’s “Influencer Discovery” for a comprehensive list of reliable influencers.

By using this tool, you gain the capability to:

  • Identify influencers based on their platform and the keywords they use.
  • Carefully curate influencers according to your guidelines and needs.
  • Check out the influencers who can help you make a splash.
  • Be vigilant for any mentions of your brand.
  • Take a deep dive into the influencer strategies of your competitors to find areas in which you can capitalize.

Leverage social listening to pinpoint the perfect influencers for your campaign. Partnering with an advocate of your brand could be a game-changer, so make sure you target those who have already expressed their enthusiasm.

After selecting the influencers you intend to collaborate with, it’s time to make contact. Here are a few suggestions for composing your introductory email:

  • Give it a personal touch. Reach out to influencers with a tailored message mentioning their name and outlining why you believe this collaboration benefits both parties. Doing so will help demonstrate your knowledge of the individual’s brand and provide the necessary context for them to make an informed decision about whether or not they want to move forward with working together.
  • To make an intelligent decision, ensure you supply influencers with extensive information upfront. Doing this will let them determine if the partnership is appropriate for their interests and needs.
  • Outline the next move. Make your message effective by inspiring additional steps. If you need access to an influencer’s media kit, notify them or offer a link about your campaign.

When you’ve identified your influencer, generate reports for the campaign. Gather data before the start of your campaign so that you can measure its effectiveness and observe what kind of impact it has had.

Please keep in mind to obey the laws and rules regarding influencer marketing. Your brand (as well as any influencers you work with) must comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) social media regulations. This means clearly disclosing which posts are ads, usually by tagging it #ad or #sponsored and placing this label prominently at the start of each post.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is online reputation management?

Online reputation management refers to monitoring and influencing a brand’s or individual’s online reputation. It involves monitoring what is said about you or your brand online, addressing harmful or inaccurate information, and actively promoting positive content to improve your online image.

Why is online reputation management critical?

In today’s digital age, online reputation can significantly impact a person or brand’s success. A negative online reputation can lead to decreased credibility and reduced opportunities, while a positive online reputation can enhance credibility and increase opportunities.

How can I monitor my online reputation?

Several ways to monitor your online reputation include:

  • Using online reputation management tools.
  • Searching for mentions of your name or brand on search engines and social media.
  • Setting up Google Alerts.

It’s also important to regularly check review sites and forums where your brand may be discussed.

What should I do if I find negative information about myself or my brand online?

If you find negative information about yourself or your brand online, it’s essential to address it quickly and professionally. Respond to the individual or address the issue in a public forum, and consider reaching out to the website or platform to request the removal of the content if it is false or defamatory.

How can I promote positive content and improve my online reputation?

You can use several strategies to promote positive content and improve your online reputation, including creating and sharing high-quality content, building a strong social media presence, engaging with your audience and responding to their needs, and encouraging positive reviews and feedback.

Is it possible to completely erase negative information from the internet?

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to completely erase negative information from the internet. However, with a solid online reputation management strategy, it’s possible to push negative information down in search engine results and promote positive content to improve your online image.

Wrap Up

Knowing how to manage an online reputation campaign is critical to any business’s digital marketing strategy. It requires careful monitoring, compliance with FTC regulations, and an ongoing commitment to engaging your audience in meaningful ways. By keeping track of influencer campaigns, staying up-to-date on the latest trends and laws, and providing detailed information upfront when working with influencers, you can help ensure that your brand maintains a positive online presence.

Alex Contes

My past experience is as a Senior Full Stack Developer/Tech Lead. I have 16+ years of experience working in web development. Now I’ve transitioned to a SaaS product owner. Successfully launched my first product ReviewGrower as a Co-Founder after working on it for almost two years.

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