Inarguably, selling products or services to customers back in the old days was easier than it is today. Unlike today, customers had little options to voice their opinion or give feedback with respect to their experience. This advantage alone made sales extremely easy for companies.
But the days of traditional marketing is over. Now static brochures have been replaced by dynamic websites and two-page long feedback forms are replaced by a limited character tweet or post. Ironically, these short feedbacks have a greater impact than those long forms.
Today, it is important for companies to ensure that their brand has a positive influence on the consumers, and they do this through ORM.
In simple terms, Online Reputation Management, also known as Internet Reputation Management or Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM) is ensuring that internet talks positively about your brand.
What’s on the internet stays there forever. Therefore, ORM must be taken seriously. Irrespective of whether you’re a startup or an established brand, you cannot afford a negative reputation for your product.
Online Reputation Management (ORM)Has Been Long Misunderstood
ORM is not just social media monitoring nor does it deal with just public relations. Online reputation management encapsulates maintaining your brand sentiment everywhere across the world wide web. Period!
Fret not! It is not even half as scary as it sounds. Whether you are a big enterprise or a small team trying to make your name in the market, managing online reputation is possible, in fact, it is a must-do activity.
While the common notion is that ORM is time-consuming and requires a good investment, the truth is that all it needs is a consistent effort. There are various ORM tools that make it extremely easy to ensure that your brand is floating in safe waters.
The Pillars of Effective ORM
Effective and futuristic ORM stands on 9 strong pillars. These 9 principles are what makes or breaks your online reputation management.
Be transparent with your critics & customers. Be open to negative feedbacks. Not responding to criticism is the biggest mistake. Take the feedback and try to turn it around to be your strength.
Example: An apt example of transparency would be Mc Donalds, Canada. For long they fought with negativity over their beef burger making process. They took time to understand the public sentiment and started a campaign in late 2014 where customers could ask questions directly from Mc Donalds and get answers with facts to dispel rumors. It garnered more than 42,000 questions and answers with over 3.8 million visitors reading the questions and answers. They went a step further and shared a video footage from inside the Canadian beef processing plant to show that the beef patties were actually made from real cows.
2.Earn Respect for your Brand
Trust is an asset that’s hard to gain and is easily perishable. It is important to make people respect you as a brand and ensure that the respect earned is not lost. Today, everything that shows on the Google search is considered to be true, so if your brand is a name taken with respect and has a positive outlook, it helps you in accentuating your returns across marketing, HR, and sales considerably.
3. Keep a track of what people say
4.React quickly and politely to criticism
Whenever a problem is brought to your attention, it is better to reply promptly. But be careful, prompt is not always right. You have to measure what you reply. It should be polite and not sound rude.
In today’s digital age, it is imperative that you keep a track of what people say about you. The following example shows how important it is for you to keep a track of what’s being said. This happened to David Willis at the Waterstones store.
5. Take Google’s 1st page very seriously
If your brand name on Google search engine is associated with negative reviews, scams, or complaints; everything is not right. Any results that are displayed on page 1 of Google is taken very seriously. If you know anything about the Google Rank Brain algorithm, you’d know that there’s no way a brand can afford to have bad listings on Google first page.
6.Understand why your critics say what they say
It is important to understand your critics’ point of view. When Taylor Swift announced a boycott of Apple Music for not paying singers during the trial period of a customer using their song, Apple quickly apologized and agreed to pay singers even during customers’ trial period. The effect of it was that Swift ultimately promoted Apple music.
7. Never spare your illegitimate attackers
When you find that you are being attacked illegally, you must fight back. This was exactly what Dominos did when in 2009, Dominos Pizza employees posted disgusting videos of playing with its food at an outlet, on the internet. It fired the employees and got them arrested. Also, when you find that false information has been posted defaming you, you must take legal action to prevent them from repeating their behavior.
8. It’s wise to learn from your mistakes
With respect to ORM, learn from your mistakes and if possible quickly. In 2017, Pepsi initially defended their “global message of unity, peace and understanding” advertisement featuring Kendall Jenner. Later, because of the widespread criticism from viewers who believed the advertisement trivialized the Black Lives Matter movement. Ultimately Pepsi apologized, but to Kendall Jenner for putting her in that position which led to a further backlash.
Though Pepsi was right in apologizing, if it would have apologized in the right manner and to the right people (the community), it could have avoided or cut short the PR crisis.
9. If you are not sure, ask for professional help
If you think your efforts towards ORM is not enough or you lack the resources to do so, ask for professional help. There are people out there with good experience of both active and passive ORM.
The demand for online business is increasing exponentially each day and customers are extremely vocal about what they think of a brand. So don’t wait for something to go wrong with your brand to take action. Start now, work on building a good repute online and enhance your business growth.
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