Digital reputation management is not optional, it is essential

The internet is a powerful marketing tool and has a huge potential to make or break a brand. On the one hand, it allows businesses to reach wider audiences than any other traditional advertising channel in existence. And on the other hand, it allows prospects to look businesses up online before making a buying decision.

A decade ago, things like reputation and PR management were mostly a concern for celebrities, CEOs, and politicians. Smaller brands seemed not to care much about it. And they didn’t have to since their brand perception was a one-way street with customers having little to no room for feedback. Besides, the worst that a customer would do was refrain from buying their product or service. Their perception had little to no impact.

But that’s not the case anymore. We’re now in a digital era where customers have a voice and a range of platforms to express their opinions about brands. Happy clients are eager to leave positive reviews and comments for others to see. But guess what, so are the unhappy, dissatisfied ones. And with 85% of consumers trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations, you cannot afford to appear disreputable and untrustworthy on SERPs. That’s where online reputation management comes in.

What’s online reputation management (ORM)?

ORM is the strategy that influences or shapes public perception of your brand. It involves monitoring all aspects of your online presence and doing whatever it takes to improve it. ORM uses positive material to balance, counteract or “push” negative material to a position of insignificance.

Is managing your reputation necessary?

Your online reputation determines how people perceive your brand when they stumble upon it or search for it online. When consumers or potential clients search for a product, service or organization, they are actually performing a three-part search. 1) They search for something that will satisfy their want or need or need, 2) they focus on recognizable brands. and 3) they filter for “the best” solution to their need. Your reputation (reviews and ratings) often determine whether you or your competitor will pass through the reputation filter. How appealing is your reputation against your competitors?  Your reputation and perception of quality will often determine who gets the click and ultimately, the business. As such, it has become critical in most industries to manage your reputation to build positive brand equity, a competitive edge, and growth.

ORM proactively influences the information these people will find. It combines public relations, SEO, marketing strategies, etc., to monitor and improve your brand’s online reputation. This strategy helps your business put its best digital footprint forward, helping you show the world the picture of your business that you want others to see.

Why is a good reputation important?

Take a moment to think about your marketing strategy. You buy ads on multiple online and offline mediums, invest in public relations for quality brand mentions, and even send out dozens of press releases to drive interest in your solutions. In the end, all these efforts drive prospects to one place: online. What prospects discover online through Google or Social Sites will influence their perception of your brand. Positive results that align with your brand messaging amplify your marketing effort. But negative ones will hurt your marketing ROI. People across the world turn to search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo first. In fact, 62% of global respondents in the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer said they trust search engines the most when researching a business. Meaning, your prospects are researching your business online, and the result will influence whether or not they’ll visit. Surveys further reveal that businesses with 1- or 2-star reviews fail to convert 86% of prospects – which can be a great loss for startups.

Online reputation affects offline brand perception

The problem with a bad online reputation is that it doesn’t just stay there. It extends beyond the internet into all corners of your sales and marketing. A survey by Weebly showed that 56% of consumers did not trust businesses with poor reputations. Any form of distrust can negatively impact any and all forms of sales and marketing, whether it involves digital media, traditional media, or sales.

Tell the story the way you want

This is perhaps the most distinct benefit of online reputation management. It allows you to create the brand image that you want your prospects to see. Effective ORM capitalizes on positive stories and reviews that highlight your brand – but suppresses those that conflict with your brand image. This lets you show your best face and attract customers.

Rank higher on search engines

Most businesses desire to rank on the first page of the search engine. But if you’ve been at it for a while, you understand that it takes more than a good website and content. Reviews are now the fifth most important factor in where a business ranks online. They make up 16% of the search engine decision-making process, particularly for local rankings. So, making the best effort to manage your online reputation can help you gain SEO visibility.

Builds credibility and trust

With prospects trusting online reviews, earning their trust is critical. Good online reputation management helps you gain customers’ trust. When customers trust your brand, they’re more likely to buy from you than your peers. If you’re lucky, they’ll leave more positive reviews and even refer your brand to others through word of mouth.

Reinforces your brand

You need a clear and consistent brand message across all platforms for people to trust your business. Online reputation management involves scouring the internet for inconsistencies and fixing all issues to ensure uniformity and positive exposure across the web.

Higher revenues

Customers who trust your business see your brand as reliable. So they will always prefer your solutions over your competitors – translating to higher sales conversion and retention rates. Also, as we mentioned earlier, consumers who see your good reputation are more likely to refer you or give positive feedback when your name comes up, which again, will improve your sales conversion rate.

How online reputation management services can help

The last thing you want as a business owner is to leave your brand’s reputation to chance. It takes years to build a reputation, but only a few months to destroy it. An online reputation management service can give your business a voice. It will promote the positive and build upon your hard-earned brand reputation. It will also subdue the negative comments that can ruin your reputation.

If you have any questions or concerns about your online reputation, feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to help!