Online Reputation Management – The Bigger SIMPLIFIED Picture – Part 1

Intro Summary: Online Reputation Management is a marketing effort that keeps on adapting to a dynamic online environment. The article below provides a comprehensive view classified into the following points:

  1. A background explaining ORM!
  2. Pointers covering the aspects of UGC(User Generated Content)

Many of us might be awareabout Enron Corporation. Let's do one small exercise? Query "enron" on Google and check out the results.

It would look something like this.

As you can see from the above snapshot, negative stuff posted online has a huge opportunity to amplify itself. This amplification of content online is a two edged sword. If this stuff is positive it enhances the brand image and the marketer can make the following statement to the client/boss "Sir/Madam, our content is going VIRAL. The brand image is receiving personified visibility. Sales will skyrocket!" on the other hand; something unfortunate happens which is picked up online; well, the bigger the brand the worse it gets.

Herein Enron's case, things were legitimate. Nevertheless, there are many brands/companies/individuals/products/services that face a similar problem out there even though they might be completely judicious. That's precisely where Online Reputation Management or otherwise known as ORM comes into effect. – More on this is in just a few moments.

Negative reviews/blog posts/articles/stories etc. are essentially data sets that come under the umbrella term "User Generated Content (UGC)". UGC is something that forms the crux of Web 2.0! Another point to look at is that content in its various forms influences the user which in turn creates a perception. This perception becomes the backbone to influence a consumer decision.

There might not be issues that are as harsh as Enron for many brands and companies; however if proper action is not taken, looking at the very nature of the web, this could snowball into something that might detach consumers/customers from a brand in a big way.

To put things in perspective: A study by Cone Communications revealed that '4-out-of-5 Consumers Reverse Purchase Decisions Based on Negative Online Reviews'.

So as marketers, how do we tackle this ever increasing problem?

ORM mostly steps in when something bad has happened and got translated into all that content being transferred online. Now; search comes into the picture, specifically Google. Even if all that stuff has been put up on some obloquy XYZ.com, Google will push it up and showcase it for the world to see.

The answer to containing all this acrimonious content while showcasing the actual facts and conjectures to the consumers is for ORM to work in synergy with the overall IMC (Integrated Marketing Communication) strategy.

This strategy would need to incorporate the following approach.

Listen Online – Listening to online chatter is one very important aspect of Online Reputation Management.

There are many free tools and paid tools that are available in the open market that can be used to do this. Since we all love FREE things I'll stick to the free ones.

  1. Google Alerts - The best tool to use to track online mentions: Be it, news, blogs, website content additions etc. Just punch in the Keyword and get the new mention in the form of an alert through the mail on your Gmail ID.
  2. Google Reader – The second in command for keeping track of activities that happen on Wikipedia and regularly updated blogs. It is helpful to keep track of routine mentions about your brand/company/product.
  3. WhosTalking – A Great Social tool that helps you to keep track of the social chatter that is going around about your brand/company or individual.
  4. Social Mention – Social Mention is another great Social Media Monitoring tool that helps you accurately track social mentions in REAL-TIME.

Apart from these, there are many other tools that are freely available on the internet to help you listen on the Internet.

Once you know where your true targets lie, the necessary action can be taken.

Taking action is a part of Being Visible and Sharing Domain Knowledge which is explained in detail in the next blog post.

Till then, Happy Surfing.

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