TripAdvisor conducted a study recently. This study has revealed a lot about online reputation management and its current trends. Here are the three influential points you should know.
- 97% of the business owners who have an online presence believe online reputation management is important.
- 98% of the owners said online reviews are prominent for their business.
- 92% of the business owners felt social presence is vital for ORM.
From the above mentioned three points, we can conclude that pretty much everyone is aware of online reputation management and knows its importance. As a result, more and more people are investing in ORM services. With the rise in awareness and importance of ORM, many business owners, particularly new business owners, have some questions in their mind. Therefore, in this blog post, we are answering almost all the frequently asked online reputation management questions.
1. What is online reputation management?
Online reputation management, also known as ORM, is the process of controlling what shows up when a person looks you up on the Internet. In order to achieve that, a business owner or an online reputation management company makes a strategy to improve or restore a brand’s good standing. The main aim of this strategy is to counter, weak, burry or delete the negative Google review or material found on the Internet. The whole ORM process is done in three steps.
Monitor: In order to manage, maintain, restore or establish your online reputation you need to know what others are talking about you on the Internet. Only, then you can make strategies to improve your brand reputation. There are many paid as well as free tools available in the market to this job.
Promote Positivity: In this step, all the positive aspects of your business are identified and promoted across the various places such as, review sites, home page, Facebook, Twitter and email. In addition to that, quality content is created to make sure the right words are reaching the people.
Suppress Negativity: With the help of advanced ORM tools, almost all the negative materials are discovered. After that, various strategies are crafted to remove negative Google reviews, push the negative contents to the second page of the Google, and dilute the bad content with the help of good ones.
2. Why online reputation management is necessary?
A couple of decades back, things were different. People used to enquire about the products and services by asking questions to the people who have already used it. That was considered as the best method to do a research on a brand before choosing it.
Now the things have changed. We live in a digital era. The whole world has become one market. There are millions of sellers and billions of buyers. Enquiring about a product or services is still one of the good methods. However, finding former consumers can be a tedious job. It requires time, energy and efforts.
Good news is that online reviews have made this job easy. They are known as the modern word of mouth or modern personal recommendation. Just by typing a business name in the Google, one can know what others are talking about a particular brand.
Anyone can find you online and leave a negative review. Therefore, as a business owner, you must focus on what others a speaking about you and make sure the right content appears when your business is searched. That is exactly what an online reputation management firm does.
More than 90% of the customers read online reviews before buying anything online. If you are not managing your reputation, there is a good chance that your customer will see fake or bad reviews and opt your competitor over you. Just a couple of negative reviews can lead to a significant decline in sales.
3. In what ways a reputation can be harmed?
A reputation is one of the most important pillars for a business. It can be damaged in several ways. Here are some of the common ways, in which a reputation can be harmed.
Someone can write negative about you or your business in his or her blog post. Well, this is fair and common. Most of the time, criticism in the blogs are true.
Sites such as Rip Off Reports, give their users an opportunity post online reviews anonymously. These reviews are powerful, and are capable of destroying your reputation.
Fake reviews from the ex-employees, competitors, and people who have grudge on you are lethal for for reputation. Depending upon the platform, it may be easy or difficult to remove negative online reviews.
Having a business name which is same or similar to some other business, which as a bad reputation, can spoil your reputation. Identical business names create a confusion. Unfortunately, you may have to share the bad reputation of someone else.
Angry former customers may post bad things and make negative things appear when your business name is searched on the search engine.
4. Why online reputation management is time consuming?
The definition of online reputation management is simple, but the process is complicated. As discussed in the answer of frequently asked ORM question number three, your reputation can be harmed in many ways. Monitoring online conversation, finding the cause of the bad Google review, making strategy, implementing the strategy, taking down the fake reviews, doing negative search engine optimization, and burying negative reviews, usually takes time.
Most of the business owners go for online reputation management services only after their reputation is damaged, and stop once a clean image is established. However, this is a wrong approach. Just like search engine optimization, online reputation management is also a continuous process. You have to follow the best practices and implement a strategy throughout the business journey. Always remember, money spent on maintaining an online reputation is like money spent on keeping yourself healthy.
5. Is it possible to delete all the negative Google reviews?
Maintaining a crystal clear online reputation is impossible. No matter what you do, you will receive negative Google reviews. By the way, having zero negative reviews is not good according to online reputation management experts. It will make your potential customers or visitors to doubt on you. They might think you have paid reviews or the platform itself is biased. As a result, you might lose the customer credibility.
Your potential customers do not expect you to be perfect. Moreover, it is not possible to make everyone happy. Having a couple of unpleasant reviews will legitimize your business. Your customers will know the negative aspects and make a conscious purchase decision. After making the purchase, negative aspects will not surprise them and motivate them to leave a bad review. In other words, with a couple of informative bad reviews, you can avoid a lot of negative reviews.
6. Can we stay off the Internet and avoid bad reputation?
This is actually one of the common misconceptions in online reputation management industry. New business owners might think to remove their company profiles from the review sites and delete all the social media profiles to make everything go away. However, things do not work in this way.
Almost every business owner has a reputation. According to a survey, more than 80% of the people trust information they find online. That means, whenever your potential customer looks you up on the Internet, he reads what has been written about you and believe it. Staying away from the Internet will definitely work against you. So, you don’t have a choice but to address, defend or maintain your reputation online.
So either you can leave your reputation to take its own shape, or you can take the control in your hands and give a proper direction to leverage it.
7. Is it possible to remove a negative Google review?
Negative reviews are bad, and no business owner likes it. In some cases, it is possible to get rid of negative Google reviews, while in others, it is not. It totally depends upon the nature of the bad review you have received.
The negative reviews that are fake or do not comply with Google policies can be deleted. However, it is not easy always. One needs to have patience. It is better to grow your positive reviews, along with dealing the fake reviews. Doing so will dilute your negative reviews and make them less harmful.
8. How can I start online reputation management?
The easiest way to start managing your reputation is by contacting an ORM company. One can learn online reputation management, search engine optimization, and content creation on the Internet. However, it takes time, energy and patience. It makes sense to leave the job to the experts and focus on your business.
Taking the control in your hand is not a good idea because lack of experience and knowledge can do more harm than any good. Furthermore, taking all the responsibilities on your shoulder will give you less time for the job you do the best, that is handling your business.
9. How long does something stay on the Internet?
When something is posted on the Internet, it is most probably going to stay forever. That is, if someone uploads a couple of blog posts putting light on the negative qualities of your products or services, they are going to stay on the Internet forever. Although it makes us look helpless, our reputation can be still be defended or guarded.
Here what is written about you is not the problem. The main issue is what is being read about you. That is how your reputation is shaped. If a negative content is ranked on the first page of the Google, everyone is going to read it. What if the bad content is on the second or third page of Google? Hardly anyone is going to read it.
Therefore, when a negative content makes it to the Google’s first page, your online reputation management company makes strategies to push it down to the second page or third page. According to the data revealed by the Google, 92% of the Internet users do not go beyond the initial page of Google. So second or third pages of the Google are the best place to hide an unpleasant content.
10. What are the practical ways to improve reputation?
There are two easy and practical ways to improve your reputation. They are writing blog posts and leveraging social media.
Writing blog post is the best thing to do. Along with online reputation management, it enhances search engine optimization. The fresh content created by you will please Google as well as your readers. Make sure you pick the right topics, and target the correct audience. You can create content on frequently asked questions, recent development in the industry, expert advices and many more.
Have an active presence on all the popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Quora. Take out some time daily to post valuable content on the social media. Engage your audience and address their issues, concerns, complaints, and doubts. Do not forget to add your business name to Wikipedia.
11. How about taking legal action?
Getting negative or fake reviews is common in almost all types of businesses. If you want to combat such reviews via taking legal actions, you are not alone. Many business owners hate false reviews, and think of knocking the court door. However, in most cases, it is not worth the trouble.
Professionals who specialize in online dispute cannot offer guaranteed results. Furthermore, they tend to charge more than a reputation management firm, which can bring you guaranteed results. Keeping some special cases aside, legal action is often a waste of time, money and efforts. That is because personal opinions and rants are not against the law.
Taking legal action is viable when your personal and sensitive information such as bank details, social security number, or sexual content, are shared online. For the rest, seeking services of an online reputation management company is the best option.
12. How do I protect my online reputation from future attacks?
Digital world is pretty unpredictable. Market, audience, search engine algorithms, competitors, and customer behavior may change at any time, and so does your online reputation. Today you may have a clean and well maintained reputation over the Internet, tomorrow your listing may be flooded with negative reviews. There is only one way to fix this issue. That is, start an online reputation management campaign and never stop it.
An ongoing ORM campaign can give a 360 degree protection and maintain your online image and branding. A good ORM strategy creates fresh content and builds a proactive barrier around your brand name, which guards your reputation online. In the worst-case scenario, if you are under attack, ongoing ORM strategy makes damage control easy and quicker. In this way, a significant damage can be prevented.