ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT – THE BIGGER ‘SIMPLIFIED’ APPROACH

In our earlier blog post, we had seen how ORM comes into the digital marketing landscape and the various ways through which you can monitor your brand/company online.

In this post we will go into the details of How precisely to do it?
 
As mentioned in the earlier blog post, Being Visible and Sharing Domain Knowledge is further explained below:
 
1. Be at least Socially Present, if not active:
 
In many cases for individual reputation management, older generations of people are hesitant to have a basic Facebook/Twitter/Google + profile for themselves. However when reputation is on the line, it is recommended to have such a page created with the basic elements and some amount of content present with privacy settings made public. This will not only boost one’s online visibility, but also assist in consumer engagement and this if done exceptionally well might also create possibilities of “business through the network” in the long term.
 
2. The LinkedIn Network:
 
LinkedIn, I would say is one platform that each business professional/business entity should be present on, irrespective of ORM or not. Primary reason being: LinkedIn is usually always present in the top search results for individual keyword search queries and greatly assists individual/brand visibility – May it be for an prospective employer or potential customer
 
The few things that need to be taken care of while creating a LinkedIn profile to rank faster are:
 
 
Ensure the Custom URL feature is enabled and make modifications accordingly.
 
A basic portrait picture aids cognitive recognition and helps create connections faster
 
A one line summary for each educational institution attended helps add more content
 
A brief profile/page summary to add more relevant content to the page
 
Joining select niche groups on LinkedIn helps in adding a social appeal
 
Adding key skill sets that are visible to the general audience 
 
Adding publications/book recommendations etc. also come in handy at times
 
3. Google Places for Business:
 
People might think of Google places as somewhat of a sophisticated business listing service; which is partially correct, but they miss out that unlike Yellow Pages this is owned and provided by Google. Simplifying the jargon; this ranks pretty well and enhances visibility and in the process will also push away some amount of negative chatter from top rankings.
 
Giving a crude example of this: A SERPs listing for “wells fargo washington” will look something like the below snapshot. The places listings usually occupy top search positions.

Online Reputation Management

4. Get the offline brand value; ONLINE:
 
Many brands, especially in digitally developing nations like my home country India have a very high brand value in the real world. However, due to gaps in the Integrated Marketing Communications approach only the PR activities come online because the print media publishes the content on its website also. Giving a real life encounter of this, The TATA Group is probably India’s most respected and ethical brand. I had gone the other day to evaluate a phone for buying from one of its outlets in Mumbai and asked the 
sales rep a question that most of us normally ask “Will this phone spoil and if so, how will you compensate?” The answer I got, compelled me to purchase the phone. He simply said “Sir, We are TATA!”(Brand Value Matters Everywhere!) Now, if I were doing the same purchase online, I would probably have resented the purchase by getting influenced by some negative UGC out there. Validation and verification of this UGC would still be uncharted territory.  So, brands need to duplicate this offline brand value through addressing the consumer online in the same way as they do it offline. How to do this? A: The best approach to do this is how Ann Handley  of MarketingProfs.com correctly puts it – Content Rules ! – Through a dedicated and continuous Content Marketing/Online Branding effort.
 
5. Tackling UGC
 
Specifically Online Reviews:  Online Reviews is something no brand/organization can control. In most cases the stuff is usually negative (Be it as a consumer or a disgruntled employee). The psychologically proven reason for it: Happiness is usually confined to a select few; Negativity, especially something that has happened after you have paid or lost $$$$ for it needs to be vetted out somewhere. That somewhere is 90 % of the times on online review portals. No matter how hard you try, creating URLs upon URLs to hide those listings on Google won’t help that much(If however, someone gets lucky; please do share it with us) A good way to control this is to have your own review mechanism in place. Samsung Reviews[http://reviews.us.samsung.com/7463/allreviews.htm]is one good example of this approach. Many other big brands like Wal-Mart too have their own moderated review mechanisms in place. The dual benefit of this is that, bad feedback can be also addressed effectively and in time. For other growing companies, having their own blog works in a similar manner irrespective of the business being B2B or B2C.
 
6. The Wikipedia Effect:
 
Wikipedia has off-late been growing by leaps and bounds. The advantage of having your company/product/service/key executive profile article on Wikipedia is that it is an instant trust booster among the online audience. Key thing to remember here is that Wikipedia is not a marketing billboard but an informative encyclopedia. Working within its limits also is a considerable step forward in boosting online positivity.
 
 
Summarizing everything that I have spoken about, ORM needs to be a mix of REACTION and PROACTION when it comes to maintaining reputation online. This can be done in many ways even by staying above the ethical boundary. Reaction will help neutralize threats while proaction will help prevent future mishaps. After all, its REPUTATION and TRUST that drives bottom lines.
 

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