Do you really know what reputation you have online? Probably not. The Internet records all your digital steps – each comment, photo change, and status update. Tracking your online activity and controlling people’s use of your information is hard. Now anyone can make you look good or bad on the Internet, and search engine results can either crush or boost your business. But, keeping a good name is vital in both cyberspace and real world, and Online Reputation Management (ORM) can assist you with that.
ORM aims to tackle reputation-related issues. It helps monitor people’s opinions about one’s image, brand or business and influence their view of this entity in desired ways. This approach utilizes tools like search queries and social media monitoring and allows managing content by curbing negative and stressing positive views. ORM helps maintain good reputation, so prioritizing it at companies is crucial.
Here are some common, often harmful, online reputation issues:
For some people, their inability to speak openly or get feedback from a company can be annoying. So, they turn to blogs, Twitter, and Facebook to pour out their frustration.
Old personal or company scandals, stories, or even tagged photos or videos still exist online and may be waiting to surface.
Media reporting is very quick and influential. Any negative coverage of your name, product or business travels fast and reflects on your organization or industry.
Unhappy clients often write reviews or create “hate sites” that may have illegal, false or insulting content. Negative opinions can escalate or push neutral customers to lean toward the side, mainly when they see keywords like “scam” or “rip off” next to your name.
Information is easily accessible online and spreads rapidly with a simple search, reaching many people. Any communication, especially negative, becomes very visible.
Many individuals resolve problems by calling in person or e-mailing a company via its website. However, since there’s no paper track of the process, proving the complaint’s resolution is hard.
These cases illustrate some effects of ORM problems:
- Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s presenter’s slip-up during a recent Blackhawks game circulated the Internet and allowed her past satirical clips to surface. This exposure, enabled by visibility, brought attention to the Blackhawks and Comcast CSN and cost her job.
- Dell received negative product reviews a few years ago from one blogger. This encouraged others to slash Dell’s customer service experiences. Pretty soon the press was involved. Dell didn’t do anything, and it caused sells drops and bad reputation.
What can you do to avoid online reputation disasters? Try applying these general rules:
Build Your Presence
Join various social network sites, make your profile interesting, and keep your personal issues private.
Become a Respected Business
Assist clients online, let them avoid mistakes, and sometimes give a free pass to build trust and bring traffic your way.
React to All Remarks
Acknowledge people’s complaints and provide prompt feedback, while politely and calmly addressing negative opinions but firmly fighting illegal content.
Practice Open Communication
Ask for feedback, address criticism online, and maintain dialogs with clients.
Have and utilize a well-developed ORM strategy, rely on your team, and monitor your open communication.
Observe your own and other people’s slip-ups, learn from these lessons, and be honest.
Ask an expert, especially when employing more assertive Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or engaging in legal actions.
Monitor Your Reputation
Search your name on the Internet to see current opinions about you, know your tags and past activity, observe media exposure, and utilize popular ORM tools:
- Google Alerts – tracks desired terms in blogs, news or anywhere and e-mails you alerts of all mentions
- WhosTalkin – monitors mentions on various social media and alerts you of your brand searches
- SocialMention – analyzes all your mentions, shows their importance, and sends alerts of your keywords
- Technorati – tracks your blog, shows how others access and link your post, and allows alert subscription
- Alterian – shows how people around the world feel about you and lets you address it accordingly
- Reputation.com – searches your name in detail, monitors private info, and alerts you of any mentions
- Trackur – shows what people see when they search you and if the ones mentioning you are influential
- TweetBeep – monitors your mentions, tracks who’s twitting about you, and updates you hourly
- BrandsEye – offers analysis, lets you build reputation, and is great for multi-person office use
- Rankur – gives analytical and demographic data and lets you observe your reviews and competitors
In today’s digital world, keeping track of your online activity and reputation may be challenging. But, ORM can help you out because it lets you stay informed, manage content, and shape public opinion. Utilizing ORM at each organization is key to its online success, so what are you waiting for?
Article by Mike Wicinski