14 Best Online Reputation Management (ORM) Strategies
Your company feels the impact of every online brand mention. A single comment might not mean anything. But having tens of positive articles in top-tier media outlets – or hundreds of negative reviews on Yelp – will eventually impact your company's bottom line. Your reputation is your most crucial tool to boost brand visibility, ensure brand recognition, and eventually lead to higher sales.
Today, brand image lives in the search box. So naturally, your brand or reputation managers need to take care of how your company is represented online.
Learn how to manage your company's reputation using several simple strategies and ensure your reputation properly represents your entire business.
Meeting the expectations of every stakeholder
Before diving deep into the technical details, we need to focus on the ultimate goal: building trust between multiple stakeholders.
As a company, you will be juggling the interests of:
- Investors and shareholders
- Journalists and media
- Past, current, and future employees
... and plenty of other stakeholders.
Each of these groups will have different expectations. Customers might want to buy a product that has excellent reviews. Investors will be excited to see your company in the top-tier media. Prospective employees might want to learn about company's culture.
To connect all of these interests, you need to understand the four dimensions that collectively make up your company's reputation: your experts, brand, product, and employers. Together, these elements will build trust and influence how people see your company online.
The four dimensions of a reputation
Best reputation management starts with taking care of 4 dimensions of your online presence. Your company will be seen through the expert, product, employer, and brand lens.
So, which best practices can help you create a positive image?
As companies grow, their spokespeople become their brands, for better or worse (think of what Elon Musk has done to Twitter's share price). Of course, communication experts do not need a reminder that your experts tell your story. But are you using all the tools that would help to share a powerful and trustworthy brand message?
Your company is the sum of your core team's expertise. Their reputation can become a great stepping stone for your brand's reputation. After all, all of you have met because you want to fulfill your company’s mission. So, your founders, leadership, and technical experts should get used to sharing their insights online.
How to put a face to a brand (and how to do it right)?
- Produce valuable content. Less is more when it comes to creating content. Every bit of information your experts share out there must be strategic and bring value. Don't spend time making noise. Make sure you send out precise signals to the right type of audience.
- Boost social presence. Setting up active social media pages for each of your spokespeople is the first step to introducing your brand. However, remember what social media is all about. A larger part of your strategy should focus on making connections rather than publishing posts.
- Embrace thought leadership. Your ultimate goal is to have a presence in the public eye and be seen as a reliable resource. It includes having a positive public perception, being featured as an expert in respected media outlets, and maintaining constant communication with followers.
Product or service reputation
Your product reputation will precede or even outshine your brand reputation. Only household names can think that their brand is strong enough to withstand any issues. Everyone else has to go through the motions and ensure that their product reputation is not dragging down the entire company.
Communications teams are in a unique position. They can connect the customer experience, product development, marketing, and top management efforts and keep an eye on product quality.
How can a good product reputation build a positive company reputation?
- Encourage positive reviews. Before buying any product, most people will check for reviews online. What customers see after searching for your product will impact their decision. Find ways to ensure that happy clients help you create your brand's image online. Ask for reviews, create reminders, and ensure your customer support team always invites people to leave a review.
- Keep tabs on negative reviews. One negative review on Yelp might not ruin your reputation. However, it's a great indicator of how your customer experience could be improved. Make sure you react quickly to negative reviews and provide a solution. This will help your brand put its best foot forward.
- Check your search engine results page (SERP). Most people will check the first page of any engine (including Google, YouTube, or even TikTok) to see what people say about the product. Ranking high with suitable keywords should be a part of your team's daily job.
- Be present in online communities. The chatter in online forums can be the equivalent of word-of-mouth in the offline world. One of the best ways to hear your customers' concerns is to meet them where they are – be it Reddit, Quora, or Meta groups.
- Review your marketing campaigns. Your company's marketing, sales, and social media strategies should align with your communication strategy. While you don't need to review every advertorial that gets published, it's good to stay in the loop and align the main messages your marketing team sends out into the world.
Employer reputation is the responsibility of both the HR and the communications teams. Your impact online is strongly connected with how your employees interact with your brand. A hiring process can be a good example.
If prospective employees have a good experience in the early stages of hiring, you might get a great new hire. If they have a terrible experience, you might have a communication crisis to solve. The entire employee experience – from hiring and onboarding to promoting or exit interviews – can be a great chance for the communications team to impact your online and offline reputation.
How can employer reputation help company image?
- Review social media platforms. Even with the recent tumultuous job market, fighting for the best talent is crucial. Social media sites are the best space to stand out and directly connect with future employees.
- Take care of online reviews sites. Your products are not the only part of your company that can get rated online. Your brand gets reviews on Glassdoor and Google, and these mentions can impact a prospective employee. Regularly check the websites for bad reviews and invite your current employees to leave a positive one.
- Check the (digital) word of mouth. Chatter on Discord might impact your company's reputation more than any personal or professional branding. Empower your entire team to stay on message and become the brand ambassadors, all while boosting their personal brands.
Finally, all of these elements wouldn't be possible without the brand's reputation. It's the final piece of the puzzle that builds up your company's image.
A strong brand story shared across the proper channels and active social media profiles will help to manage your reputation and strengthen your position. Brands can use multiple strategies mentioned above, but they must also embrace external sources such as media or industry partners:
- Complete website optimization. Your website is your company's home online. This is where you lead your sales prospects, future employees, and possible investors. Apart from staying on the message, it needs to be optimized to help ensure that your business appears at the top of the first search engine results page.
- Focus on public relations. You don't need to be a reputation expert to know that news articles, expert publications, and being visible during key industry events keeps you relevant offline and online.
- Seek out third-party recognition. Trustworthy partnerships – from getting awards to being a part of key industry organizations – will help to shape your reputation. At the same time, it's helping you to be a part of a larger community and building up your impact online.
The next steps to better online reputation management strategy (ORM)
Online reputation lasts. The first impression that people will have of your company through search engines, social media, and other online will affect how people see your company, sometimes for years to come.
Even if you do not actively manage your online presence, knowing what information about your brand is available online is essential. Ultimately, an effective ORM strategy will help you better manage your reputation and ensure that your business is presented in the best light possible on the web.
Where can you begin to create a positive online presence?
#1 Analyze your current reputation
Managing your brand's reputation starts with clearly understanding your situation. Reputation monitoring – either using one of the tools or employing a dedicated reputation manager – helps to know where you are standing right now.
#2 Run search engine optimization (SEO) program
The second step to building up your brand online is reviewing your owned channels, updating them to fit your brand messaging, optimizing your content, and starting to run outreach programs to create some backlinks.
#3 Respond to negative reviews
Now, it's time to understand what kind of impression online your brand has on other (shared and earned) channels. Search for reviews on Google, and pay the most attention to reviews seen on the first page. Don’t forget to check Google Images, too.
#4 Track your brand mentions and online searches
Now that the basics are done, you'll be able to spend way less time solving issues and focus on building up your positive image. Embrace social media management and get mentions on earned channels. However, regularly tracking your brand mentions and analyzing the sentiment behind them is crucial for a lasting change.
Is there enough online visibility?
The job of a reputation manager is never over. However, the communication team can work easier when they have the right tools to keep the peace of mind.
If you ever need an online service that would help you monitor your company's reputation and take the necessary steps to improve it, get in touch with our team.
Let’s see how we can help you build up your reputation
We would love to show you first-hand how Repsense works. Get in touch and we’ll figure out a way we can help your business flourish together.