What is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?
Here’s a thought:
Don’t believe everything you read online.
I bet you have heard that a thousand times. While we all know the truth of that statement, it remains a fact that unsubstantiated accusations can take its toll on an unsuspecting business or individual.
Enter Online Reputation Management
Online Reputation Management, ORM for short, involves protecting one’s reputation through countering negative comments and posts online. If a business or individual’s reputation has been unfairly tarnished, Online Reputation Management can be used to restore a good reputation.
ORM is an effective way of neutralizing negative material by adding or diluting it with positive and neutral content. This will in turn help improve your credibility and customer’s trust in you and your brand.
The Impact of Social Media
Social media has made it easier for people to express their opinions, both positive and negative. For many, social channels provide the opportunity to vent and be heard – whether justified or just out of malice. We have seen companies almost brought to their knees and their stocks take a plunge when a group of disgruntled customers decided to take advantage of the internet to cause maximum damage.
Transparency and the ability to monitor and respond to customer comments is one of the many advantages of social media. However, not everything that is posted online is fair, accurate, or true. Unfortunately, it is often impossible to get false statements removed from the internet.
Therefore, businesses and individuals alike need to be vigilant about protecting their online reputations. This is done through Online Reputation Management (ORM).
Increased risk due to growth of the Internet
These days it is mandatory for just about all businesses to have an online presence. Now more than ever, consumers are making decisions based on what they read on the internet. Before someone makes a purchase, he or she is more likely to search for products reviews – just to be sure they are making the right choice.
What the search engines reveal will depend on what others have written or posted about your brand or company. It, therefore, goes without saying, negative reviews and social media comments can and will negatively affect your brand – this makes ORM important. Hence, all businesses and individuals for that matter need to be aware of the dangers and possibility of an online attack on their reputation.
In this case, what an effective ORM strategy will do is to ensure that all the negative material is neutralized by regular positive content shared through the various online platforms. All the negative comments and blog posts will be pushed downward once positive content is shared.
Whether true or false, negative content appearing on the internet can have adverse effects on a company’s online reputation and more importantly, the company’s bottom line. Therefore, it is prudent for businesses to have an ORM checklist or blueprint at hand to mitigate such issues.
Avoid Unethical Measures
Many companies have devised shortcuts as part of their ORM by using bots, fake social media accounts to flood the internet with positive material with some degree of success. Resorting to unethical measures is certainly not the way to way to go. Instead, an effective ORM strategy is one that is anchored on best practices as it shapes the best reputation for your brand or company.
Have an ORM Strategy
Your PR Agency or department might do a superb job of increasing your brand’s visibility, but in the absence of ORM plan, all it will take is a tweet or blog post, to cause unimaginable damage to your reputation.
With these kinds of threats to brand reputation, companies now need to include ORM in their overall crisis management strategy. In this day and age, any crisis will now be an online reputation threat thanks to the speedy nature of social media.
It can become a lot more expensive, difficult and sometimes almost impossible to restore a reputation after negative comments emerge online, some of which spread like wildfire than it is to be proactive.
It is clear that lack of an ORM strategy leaves brands and companies vulnerable.
If you have not yet done it, now is the time to think about and plan on how to respond when your online reputation is attacked.