If you’re a small business and haven’t yet engaged in Online Reputation Management (ORM), then you are missing out on the immense marketing benefits of managing online reputation. Most people no longer live most of their hours in the real world, but in the virtual world inside the internet. The web is greatly influencing people’s decisions, sensibilities and culture, and that is why as a small business, you must know how to manipulate the power of the internet to your advantage. One way to make yourself look better in the internet is through ORM.
Foundationally, there are two things you should do to manage your online reputation. First, you must monitor your brand profile. Make sure that it has positive feedback and is the top of Google’s search engine results page (SERP). Second, you must bury negative feedback about your brand to avoid prejudice about your business. Reading over it, it seems like an easy thing to do, but it actually requires commitment. It is only through successful ORM that the Fortune 500 has built themselves walled empires that cannot be shattered by negative content. How do they do it, here are 5 lessons taken from the Fortune 500.
1. Optimize Your Company’s Site
It is very paramount that you secure your brand name’s .com. Say your company’s name is Funky Ice Cream, then you must specifically claim the “funkyicecream.com” domain. Google will view your site as the authority when they search the company name. That is the most basic SEO you can do, but there are plenty of other ways to get your website to rank higher in Google. Make sure that you optimize for important keywords. The goal here is to get your website to rank at the top of Google’s SERPs.
2. Create A Multi-Platform Web Presence
Thanks to Facebook and the Twitterverse, we have bigger ground to cover. Anyone who doesn’t have a social media page, at least Facebook and Twitter at the very least, is viewed as outdated. Make sure than when prospect clients search you in Facebook you have a wonderful page waiting for them. Don’t just make a profile, supply it with fresh content on the regular. Also, create a blog for your website. It also helps in optimizing your site because you can put backlinks to your main website, thus helping it rank higher in Google.
3. Make Use Of ORM Software
There are plenty of ORM software that help you monitor what people write about you in the internet. If you are just starting out, you can use Google Alerts because it is a free app. You simply create an account and type in the keywords you want to monitor then Google sends you alerts whenever there is new content for that keyword search. For example you can type in your name and Google tells you when and where you can find content that has your name in it. It’s a good way of tracking whenever negative content is created because you can act on it immediately. There are also other ORM software like Trackur, Brandseye or Brandwatch, but they come at a price.
4. Be Proactive About Negative Content
Negative content can spread like wild fire if not immediately acted upon. Just as social media has become a great advantage to build a relationship with the market, it has also been terribly damaging if there is bad content circulated about a brand. There is really no way to erase negative content, but you can bury it using SEO techniques. It is important that you build a virtual space, like a forum, where you can interact with your market. When there is negative content, show authentic concern about where you have failed your customers and make an effort to improve. Be proactive about it. Don’t just hide your bad rep through SEO, though that really helps, but also commit to excellent customer service.
5. Practice What You Preach
You can’t blame people for getting mad if you say you have excellent service when you really don’t. Yes, ORM is supposed to make you look good on the web, but you can’t expect to turn into a prince when you’re really a frog. That’s in the movies, this is real life. Be careful that you don’t shoot yourself in the foot for what you release into the web. Really strive to be the best in your industry. Don’t wait for negative content to surface before you do something about your mediocre standards. Prevention is better than cure.
The benefits of managing online reputation reach far beyond what the Fortune 500 has achieved. In its core, ORM pushes companies and even small businesses to practice good business ethics. More importantly, it gives a second chance to companies who have make mistakes, provided that they are committed to doing better henceforth.