When reputation management (RM) became the latest trend for online companies looking to manage their brand, people who looked into what it’s about and what it can do wondered why it hadn’t risen to prominence before. Of course industries like travel and hospitality had to keep tabs on what was being said and written about their products and services to stay on the cutting edge for some time before the explosion
of RM, but now there’s a cross section of industries looking to capitalize.
The question is why now? The answer, depending on who you talk to, is in social media. These days the power of making a comment on goods or services lies in the hands of anyone with a smartphone and the various social media sites make it almost too easy to criticize or even be vindictive. A recent survey points to the fact that 22% of people that have had a negative experience will comment about it online while only 9% will do the same with a positive event.
What Exactly is Reputation Management anyway?
With more people looking into reputation management than ever before, its important to get a clear understanding of what it is first. Many people consider ORM as just another form of SEO… but it’s actually much more.
To take a deeper look at the different factor of reputation management and how we can break it down into section, we can reference ReputationRhino.com’s “what is reputation management?” page.
- Monitoring online mentions of an individual or brand and coordinating a thoughtful, rapid response
- Publishing professionally written content on trusted web sites with high search engine authority and maximum visibility
- Interlinking high impact positive web content
- Optimizing existing websites and social media profiles to rank higher in the search results for select keywords
- Contacting the source to edit or remove negative content
- Filing a formal complaint with the search engine or webmaster
As you can see, ORM is more then just SEO… however, the concept of SEO still plays a major influence in how most ORM’s rank their clients web sites, content and articles for branding purposes.
It all comes down to the fact that negative reviews have a direct impact on sales. Sure companies need to learn from their mistakes and can use Tweets and other social media commentary to improve, but clients with an axe to grind and some seo knowledge can hurt a business unnecessarily. Businesses that find themselves in this position need to pick the social media sites they want to target and launch campaigns to counter the negative impacts caused by vindictive posts.
Keywords are important here as well. If the person looking to harm your firm has done enough research to have found your highly targeted list of keywords, you have two different options.
- Spread out on social media by focusing on the same keywords and positive reviews in the hope of drowning out the other influence or,
- Start another campaign with a new set of keywords that have better value.
You’ll need to be open minded here and be able to differentiate any constructive criticism from a vengeful tactic. Remember, while you generally won’t be able to reason with a person who is only out to ruin your firm, legitimate complaints should be responded to and the lessons learned incorporated into your business model.
These same tactics can be applied to local businesses and protecting their brand online. SearchEngineLand did a write up on ten ways local businesses can better protect their brands online — referencing to not neglect social media accounts, implementing authorship where applicable, creating a blog and not getting into online arguments with angry customers or complaints in open forums.
Generally RM isn’t something that can be done on a part time basis. You’ll need someone dedicated in your company to handle the job, or have it outsourced to have the job monitored properly so you can ride out any negative waves that are hurting your business.