If you are new to online marketing or are thinking of doing business online, then you should understand the importance of protecting your online reputation. Even if you are an online business veteran or have a high profile image that needs protecting, take notes on what I am about to say. It could save your image and business from a major disaster.
What is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?
The most simplistic definition I can give of ORM is this: Taking control over what is seen or said about you or your business online. The strategies and techniques it employs can be proactive or defensive. Either way, both strategies make sure that people find the information you want them to find when they look you up online. If done correctly, online reputation management puts you in a positive light in the eyes of the online world and protects you from misleading detractors.
Why is Online Reputation Management (ORM) so important?
When it comes to the Internet, your reputation is forever. Being an online entrepreneur myself, I have seen many a successful online business go down in a matter of days because of negative comments. It wasn’t so much from the comments themselves, but the lack of defensive rebuttals that led people to believe that what was being said was true.
Online reputation management keeps you on your toes. It keeps you aware of what is being said about you or your business and puts you in a better position to protect and defend yourself. I knew a guy who never got any job acceptances just because of some false rumors floating around the Internet. The rumors were completely false but the poor guy could not defend himself because he did not even know what was being said about him. His online reputation affected his offline one!
So how can you keep tabs on what people are saying about you online, and more importantly, what steps should you take to correct any misleading information you come across?
Here are three simple ORM steps that I use to protect my online reputation:
Search and track your online brand: Two places where you can find out about the latest gossip are Google Trends and Social Mention. If you come across any positive feedback regarding you or your business, be sure to give thanks. If you find some not-so-nice things being said about you, then address them and assure everyone that the info is wrong or that you are working on a solution to fix the problem.
Hire ORM professionals: Trust me on this one. I know how hard it is to monitor every little thing that is being said about you and your business on the Net. That is why I employ the services of online reputation management agencies who specialize in creating and protecting online reputations. It costs me a bit more money to run my online business but I sleep better at night knowing its reputation is in the hands of the experts.
Be positive when dealing with customer complaints: Never, and I mean never, fight fire with fire! Responding to negative customer feedback with more negativity will just make you look worse in the eyes of your customers. Instead, try to see the customer’s point of view. Do your best to make amends and come up with a solution that satisfies all parties. If the problem can not be fixed, then apologize and move on without leaving a bad taste in anyone’s mouth.