11 Rules of Effective Online Reputation Management

Learn how to control your brand image with these rules for effective online reputation management for your business.

Effective Online Reputation Management

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Not long before, the public perception and feedback of a product or service was not a matter of concern for businesses. In this era of a digital world with an active audience, about 71% of people dig into the information available online before making a purchase. Hence, it is indispensable for brands and businesses to monitor their online reputation, address customers’ feedback, or solve problems that could damage companies’ reputations. 

Here comes the concept of Online Reputation Management (ORM). The goal of this system is to monitor the public perception of an individual brand or business. It focuses on creating and maintaining a positive name for your business to potential buyers across the web. The system keeps track of what is being said about the brand online. 

ORM helps maintain a favorable impression of the company and ensures extensive brand growth in the long run. In addition to responding to positive and negative feedback, it also deals with promoting positive reviews through paid campaigns. This article covers the 11 rules which are imperative for effective Online Reputation Management.

Consider these golden rules for online feedback: 

1. Set Ground Rules

You will set out responsibilities and guidelines for your staff. Assign platforms, access to social media accounts and then further elucidate what sort of tone should be taken and what topics and, more importantly, can NOT be discussed. These notes can all be compiled into the company handbook along with disciplinary measures and other important policies. Then make sure you keep this information fresh with frequent reminders.  

2. Encourage Whistleblowing 

Promote a culture of watchfulness and sounding the alarm when any one notices anything that could be potentially detrimental to the online reputation of your firm.  

3. Respond Quickly 

 You should always have a response at the ready that prevents escalation, addresses the matter at hand and challenges any misconception in the most cordial and professional way possible.  

4. Move the Conversation off Public Domain 

As fast as you can, invite the disgruntled party to continue this discussion through direct messaging. This will reduce any further attention from gathering through social media.  

5. Play Nicely 

If you are angry or aggressive or take a condescending tone with your detractors, you will be setting yourself up for problems. There will be many out there watching how the situation is handled and your performance can adjust their opinions of your brand and professionalism. Try to always react amicably and reasonably – online reputation protection depends on this.

6. Be Proactive

You will gather valuable support when in a crisis if you show that you are a valuable and committed part of the industry. 

7. Build a Dedicated Presence across Social Media

This is a lesson that Domino’s Pizza learned the hard way, it is essential that all negative comments are responded to quickly. And if you waste time trying to get set up for your response after the comment has been made, you could be setting yourself up for a disaster.   

A better idea will be to have your social media accounts spread across all relative platforms. Keep them all carefully and caringly cultivated and catering to the kinds of clients you are hoping to engage. Your marketing team may be focusing their efforts on a mere handful of social media sites and building campaigns designed especially for these, for example. But this should not stop you from having a profile and growing presence on all others as well.  

If you have a larger brand with an extensive fan base, you will find that fan pages and support tags will allow you manage your online presence with greater precision. 

8. Engage in Social Listening

Apply the convenience of online tools like iGoogle, Hootsuite, NetVibes or Rankur these will allow you to track the general sentiment across the internet. There is also an array of different social management tools that can allow you to track data from all online interactions and provide a deeper insight into the sentiment of your target audience. This is critical data that can allow you to manage your online reputation.  

9. Learn from Mistakes

If you bow, fess up and face the music, you may find that this is the best way to make good of a tricky situation. If you try to ignore the issue, it will get bigger and then you will end up like Domino’s Pizza.   

10. Decide Your Best Responses in Advance 

You don’t want to respond on reflection to any negative comments. It is a far better idea to have a plan to respond to two different categories of negative comments. These could include complaints and then the more damaging sort of adverse media coverage, opinions on hate sites and negative reviews, a.k.a. reputation bombs.  

11. Know When to Fight Back 

If negative publicity is pushing the limits of the law it is time to get serious. Be prepared to launch a counterattack if your detractors begin using defamatory language, false reports, or attack the reputation of your brand unfairly in any other way.

Final Thoughts

Whether your business is a big name or a small one, keep in mind that consumers keep giving reviews and feedback online. Please do not take it lightly; otherwise, your business would be left on the verge of chaos. To keep your business ongoing, practice the modern tactics of Online Reputation Management. Monitor the online feedback and search activities of consumers and address all the issues according to the above golden rules. Enhanced customer service and a better user experience ensure a boost in your business. 

ORM focuses on your business growth in the long run by controlling what people review about your brand and what the potential buyers learn through the search results. Although you cannot change the feedback of people posted online about your brand, OMR gives you an insight into how you can fix the issues. In this way, you can cultivate your trustworthy image and reputation on online platforms.