Discover The Secrets to Effective Online Reputation Management, Part 2

My mentor once told me, “Running a business would be so much easier if we didn’t have to deal with customers and employees.” While I can empathize with the statement, it is not a realistic. Since your business will always have customers, statistically speaking, a subset of those customers will be unhappy.  That reality drives the need to develop a comprehensive ORM strategy.

This is the second part of a two-part series, Discovering The Secrets to Effective Online Reputation Management (ORM), I’ve outlined three practices for companies interested in developing an ORM program that protects and enhances brands online. To learn more about this topic, attend the IABC Heritage Region Conference in Columbus Ohio, where I will be presenting Managing Your Brand & Reputation Online.

Leverage Tools

To ensure you are identifying potential issues in a timely manner, utilize monitoring tools. A good place to start is free or low-cost tools like Google Alerts, SocialMentionand Mention.net. More robust organizations may want to leverage industry-specific platforms like Revinate (for hospitality) to monitor and manage reviews and responses. Set up keyword alerts (mentioned earlier) for your company name, key executives and branded services or products. Aggregate and analyze the data to look for trends in terms of particular service or product issues to address directly or publicly. Consider creating a monthly report that tracks results for branded searches over time to gauge sentiment and progress in mitigating less-desirable results.

Set up Social Profiles

Claim and optimize social media profiles so they rank for branded searches and push down other less desirable results (bad reviews, blog posts or articles). Create, optimize and syndicate compelling content for your website, blog and social media platforms to ensure they rank well for branded search terms. Utilize the platforms for customer service and support, as a subset of your customers will prefer to communicate via platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Remember to link to your social profiles from your website (and vice versa) and make sure all important pages of your website are shareable in social media using one of the many plugins available.

Syndicate Content

While you have control over your website and social profiles, they have limited credibility and visibility in search rankings. Identify top-ranking websites, publications and blogs on which to post your own content. Third party sites offer critical validation and often perform better in search results. Offer relevant high-profile websites quality content including interviews, articles, images, videos and infographics in exchange for a link back to your website. The links will not only boost the ranking of your website and fill branded search results with favorable content, but the new content will drive direct traffic to your website that could turn into customers.

While negative reviews have damaging potential, they also offer tremendous opportunity. According to research, a single unhappy customer is likely to tell five friends about their negative experience. Those who have their issues resolved are likely to tell ten friends about the resolution, which creates significant goodwill and doubles your effective reach. In the end, delighting customers is the single most effective ORM strategy, but the seven strategies outlined above will provide additional protection of your brand.

In my two-part series, I covered six secrets to online reputation management. To get the rest of my tips for effective ORM, attend my session at The 2016 IABC Heritage Region Conference in Columbus OH October 9-11. Discover the possibilities.