A DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT: They are Talking About You.
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A DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT: They are Talking About You.

Online reputation management (ORM) is a strategy and process of monitoring, identifying, and influencing your digital reputation and credibility online, an effective online reputation management strategy can also provide you with new opportunities and insight on increasing your brand awareness.

Online Reputation Management refers to the influencing and controlling of an individual's or group's reputation. Originally a public relations term, the growth of the internet and social media, along with reputation management companies, have made search results a core part of an individual's or group's reputation. Online reputation management, sometimes abbreviated as ORM, basically focuses on the management of product and service search website results. Ethical grey areas include mug shot removal sites, site reviews, censoring negative complaints, and using search engine optimization tactics to influence results.

With extensive developments in this field of public relations, in-sync with the growth of the internet and social media, along with the advent of reputation management companies, the overall out-look of search results has become an integral part of what defines "reputation" and subsequent to all these developments, reputation management now exists under two spheres: online and off-line reputation management.

Online reputation management focuses on the management of product and service search results within the digital space. A variety of electronic markets and online communities like e-Bay, Amazon and Alibaba have ORM systems built in, and using effective control nodes these can minimize the threat and protect systems from possible misuses and abuses by malicious nodes in decentralized overlay networks. 

Whereas, off-line reputation management refers to the process of managing public perception of a said entity out-side the digital sphere using select clearly defined controls and measures towards a desired result ideally representing what stake-holders think and feel about that entity. Wherein, the most popular controls for off-line reputation management include social responsibility, media visibility, press releases in print media and sponsorship amongst related tools

There are a lot of misconceptions about online reputation management. Some people think it’s just social media monitoring, while others believe it has something to do with public relations, and still others literally have no idea how it can impact business and sales.

Let us try to explain the role of online reputation management in today’s business and media landscape. Companies of every size can benefit from having a clear outline of its main concept.

Why do we need Online Reputation Management?

For many small businesses, the complete lack of proactive reputation management leaves them in the position of a sitting duck. With little more than just a website to represent you online, you’re in a precarious position if anyone creates a site to target you or even just posts something on social media, as those items could rank for your business name searches. For established local businesses, people may frequently be searching for you by business name — so, having bad stuff rank in branded search results can directly impact your bottom line.

Online reputation management and repair has been a burgeoning segment of online marketing for years. 

 

Now since, online reputation management (ORM) is a strategy and process of monitoring, identifying, and influencing your digital reputation and credibility online, an effective online reputation management strategy can also provide you with new opportunities and insight on increasing your brand awareness.

 

Why is your Online Reputation important?

Simply put. Your reputation sells. People will likely look at online reputation before making purchasing decisions for a vast array of goods and services. Whether using a search engine to find 'reviews on x', or locating the social media accounts belonging to a business, prior research is strikingly common.

 

15 Pro Tips To Successfully Build Your Online Reputation

Social media presents a unique opportunity for anyone to develop a personal or business reputation to further their careers or boost sales and profits. The key is understanding how to be successful in leveraging the tools of the social Web to effectively build your online reputation so you're appropriately positioned to meet your goals. 

The following are 15 Ways you can be successful in developing your own online reputation, so you can achieve your short and long term objectives rather than waste time but not limited to:

1. Create a Presence on Any and All Relevant Web Properties

Your company should already have Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ accounts, at minimum. If you’re in a highly competitive market and vertical, you may need to be active on some additional social media sites, as well — there are dozens available, some of which may be specific to your industry.

For many B2B, high-tech and/or professional types of businesses, having executives and employees integrate with LinkedIn may be valuable. For visually-oriented products, using Pinterest, Instagram and Flickr may be needed. And, most businesses will benefit from some number of videos shared through sites such as YouTube and Vimeo.

 

2. Be Aware.

Continually listen to conversations happening across the Web related to your career or business and learn from the content you read, listen to, or view online. Social media success depends as much on listening as it does on publishing.

3. Be Focused.

Define your niche and focus the majority of your social media participation on conversations and content related to that area of focus. A focused brand is more powerful than a broad brand. Always lead with your strengths on the social Web and be consistent in your content and conversations in order to successfully build your online reputation.

4. Be Original.

Your social media participation is useless if your content and conversations read like corporate rhetoric or a promotional brochure. Instead, be real and be human. Imagine you're speaking with your audience in person rather than online and adjust your content and tone to match your target audience's needs and expectations for you based on your brand promise.

5. Be Trustworthy.

Honesty is an essential part of building your online reputation using the tools of the social Web. Transparency isn't just a buzz word, it's a strategic imperative, which should apply to your social media participation as well as all other aspects of your career or business.

6. Be Meaningful.

The content you publish on the social Web must be useful and meaningful to your target audience or there is no reason for them to read it or start a dialogue with you about it. Furthermore, if your content doesn't add value to your audience's lives, they won't talk about it and share it with their own audiences. In other words, there will be little opportunity for your content to spread across the Web, and the growth of your online reputation will be limited.

7. Be "non-self-promotional."

No one will want to read your content or interact with you on the social Web if your content and conversations read like a marketing pitch. Follow the 80-20 rule of marketing and spend 80% or more of your time in social media activities that are not self-promotional and only 20% or less on activities that are self-promotional. When you do want to directly try to get more exposure to build your online reputation, you can do so without annoying other people. 

8. Be Accessible, Responsive and Interactive.

An important part of building your online reputation via social media participation is understanding that it's not all about you. Instead, you need to spend a great deal of time acknowledging other people on the social Web in order to build a relationship with them. In other words, they need to understand that you care about them, too. You need to respond to questions, comments on your blog, tweets, and so on.

9. Be Reciprocating.

You can't expect people to reach out to you and share your content on the social Web and not return the favour.  If someone engages with you on your blog, Twitter, Facebook or another social Web destination, then you can't ignore that person -- just as you wouldn't ignore someone in a face-to-face situation. For example, you also need to leave comments on other people's blogs, share their content on Twitter and Facebook, and more. You can't operate in a silo on the social Web and expect to be successful. 

10. Do not be Controlling

The thought of giving up control and letting your content, conversations and name spread across the Web can be frightening. However, without the sharing of content and interactive dialogue that happens on the social Web, your online reputation cannot develop. You have to be willing to give up control and let people share and talk about you and your content in order for your online reputation to grow. Don't worry about negative buzz about you, your brand, or your business. There is always a way to react to negativity on the social Web. 

11. Get Involved.

Don't spend all of your time in one place. While quality is more important than quantity when it comes to building an authentic reputation online, you do need to spread your wings and be social. 

 

12. Blog/Web-Magazine

Take this seriously. blogging is a secret weapon for local SEO,  because it helps with a site’s rankings on good keywords (if done properly) and provides fodder for one’s social media accounts.

For reputation purposes, it not only can ranks for your name, it can give you a solid “home court” ground where you can directly respond to any major assertions made about your company if necessary.

13. Listen

When responding to online complaints or bad reviews, seriously consider that there may be some weaknesses in your process that need to be addressed — particularly if you get frequent negative feedback about a specific thing. Remember the adage that “the customer is always right”? Don’t be inflexible; come up with a creative way to give customers what they’re wanting without creating friction.

I’ve seen business processes that just seemed dumb, or service fees that just made customers feel like they’ve been gouged. Just because you can pressure people into paying more doesn’t mean that you should. Consider that you could be driving existing or potential customers into the arms of your competitor. The extra money you make on that annoying fee could be cancelled out by business lost from those who see numerous complaints about it online.

14. Be Empathetic 

If you or your company messes up, fails or otherwise does something wrong, own up to it — and make a genuine apology to those who have been affected. Being real and transparent in apologizing can go far toward diffusing a situation and moving the process along toward reconciliation or, at least, toward making a crisis situation come to a close.

If you do it, make sure the apology is authentic — don’t do one of those weaselly, “I’m sorry you allowed my actions to make you feel bad” statements that are disingenuous nonsense. Also, try to make amends in some way, unconditionally.

15. Make the Investment

Reputation development requires an investment, both in time and money. Most small, local businesses are either ignoring proactive reputation management or they are doing it themselves, on a shoestring, and on an as-needed and as-they-have-time-to-do-it basis.

I’d argue that social media and proactive reputation management should be considered vital elements, not nice-to-haves. Furthermore, if you don’t have experience in interacting with online communities, doing it yourself may not be good enough or may exacerbate any issues that can arise. So, make the investment — and if you don’t have the time to do it, don’t know how, or just aren’t getting the job done, hire someone to handle it for you.

 

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