Reputation management, originally a public relations term, refers to the influencing controlling, enhancing, or concealing of an individual’s or group’s reputation. The growth of the internet and social media led to growth of reputation management companies, with search results as a core part of a client’s reputation. Online reputation management, sometimes abbreviated as ORM, focuses on the management of product and service search engine results. Ethical grey areas include mug shot removal sites, astroturfing customer review sites, censoring complaints, and using search engine optimization tactics to influence results. In other cases, the ethical lines are clear; some reputation management companies are closely connected to websites that publish unverified and libelous statements about people. Such unethical reputation management companies charge thousands of dollars to remove these posts temporarily from their websites.
This field of public relations has developed extensively, with the growth of the internet and social media the advent of reputation management companies. The overall outlook of search results has become an integral part of what defines “reputation” and reputation management now exists under two spheres: online and offline reputation management.
Online reputation management focuses on the management of product and service search results within the digital space, that is why it is common to see the same suggested links in the first page of a Google search. 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.
Offline reputation management shapes public perception of a said entity outside the digital sphere using select clearly defined controls and measures towards a desired result ideally representing what stakeholders think and feel about that entity. The most popular controls for off-line reputation management include social responsibility, media visibility, press releases in print media and sponsorship amongst related tools.
Within the last decade; of active social media use, marketing a company and promoting their products online have become large components of businesses and their strategies. In terms of reputation management, companies are trying to be more aware of how they are perceived by their audiences both inside and outside of their target market. A problem which often arises from this is false advertising. In the past contribution of internet posts and blogs to a company would have been a foreign concept to most corporations and their consumers. However, due to increased number of competitors in market, it is increasingly difficult to get noticed and become popular within the realm of online business or among influencers because of how the algorithms work on social media.
Impact on Buying Decisions
The lack of management of your online reputation can actually cost you your customer base. As 81% of buyers do some online research before making a purchase, the way you appear online is the make-it-or-break-it factor in their final decision. And your online reputation really a business quality check with 88% of consumers reading reviews to determine if your business is reliable enough.
It Is the Online Version of Word-of-mouth
85% of consumers treat online reviews as personal recommendations and trust them as much as a tip from a friend. It is a great thing if your reviews are impeccable, but what happens if there was some bump on the road and someone posted a well-grounded negative comment?
Get Valuable Feedback
Monitoring is a critical part of managing your online reputation. You can start collecting some useful insights on customer satisfaction and feedback regarding your product or services. So before doing some polling, surveys, and going around the globe for customer feedback, you can simply pay attention to what your customers have to say about your business.
There Is No “Delete “Button for Negative Reviews
It is not only the North that remembers. The Internet keeps everything, well, almost. Whatever people are saying about your business online is likely to stay online, but you actually have a chance of altering a negative opinion about your business.
Review management is the process of monitoring reviews left online about your business across various websites. This is done to ensure that you can execute your review response strategy, resolve customer issues as they arise, and quickly remove fake reviews before they cause any issues.
All businesses, regardless of size, should practice review management. Your review management strategy may differ based on your business needs, but some popular practices include responding to reviews and identifying and deleting fake ones.
As 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, review management is crucial. It allows you to understand what is being said about your business online and step in and rectify experiences when necessary. Consumers that read reviews will see that you actively take notice of what is being said, care about their experiences, and will appreciate that you take the time to make things right.
In addition, 9 out of 10 people read reviews before visiting or making a purchase from a business, so neglecting the sites where people talk about you can negatively affect your customer acquisition. Considering that fake reviews are also a thing, managing ensures that your customers only see genuine reviews to help them make their decisions, regardless of whether they’re positive or negative.
Review Management Features:
- A secure online environment. Corporate teams that access and exchange restricted data online should do so confidently without the threat of privacy breaches. This is why roles, privileges and access must be assigned in a secure setting.
- Collaborative workspace. Large companies require online venues where both their internal teams and external providers can collaborate. Many solutions allow multiple users specifically for managing campaigns.
- Single platform/window. Many reputation management software offer a single dashboard through which users can hand out information. It can also serve as the single destination for information gathered from listening tools, social media and blogs, among others.
- Search and monitoring functionalities. The ideal reputation management tool should be able to track emerging stories and conversations and their corresponding origins. It must also be capable of monitoring social media platforms for stories and generate reports.
- Cost-effective and practical. Conventional methods of monitoring millions of conversations about a single brand is not only tiresome, but very expensive as well. You have to make sure that your tool accomplishes such in a cost effective and practical manner. However, this is not to say that more expensive platforms do better jobs.
- Open architecture. Tool flexibility is a must owing to the fast pace that technology changes and the introduction of new social media platforms. Reputation management tools must have media monitoring capabilities, databases and metrics.
- Real-time notifications. They must be able to deliver notifications in real-time, warning users of customers’ views of their products and services in a timely fashion.
- Such tools should be able to convert information into quality and easy-to-understand summaries, which can be used in coming up with productive public relations campaigns.
- Reporting and analysis. Effective reputation management solutions must be able to not only report but measure stories across channels as well.
- Ease of deployment/integration. Hassles associated with the integration of new technologies and solutions must be avoided. On-premise installation should be discouraged.