First and foremost, the reputation management firm should be willing to work hand-in-hand with your customer service team or department. Establishing a long-term program to protect and defend your company’s brand and image involves not only internet wizardry, but a proactive approach to customer feedback and complaints.
Once the need for such a working relationship is understood, an ORM company should provide most or all of the following services:
- Reputation Audits and Reports: comprehensive surveys of your company’s online profile, determining how you are positioned online and recommending courses of action.
- News and Social Media Monitoring: continual monitoring of all online mentions of your company name and brands, to facilitate a quick response whenever it is needed (or to promote positive reviews and articles).
- Negative Review Monitoring: continual monitoring of review sites, including (but not limited to) Google, Yelp and Angie’s List, to facilitate proper responses.
- Design and SEO Consulting and/or Services: maximizing positive company exposure in the search engines’ results pages, through proper website design and search engine optimization.
- Social Media Consulting and/or Services: developing a strategy for proper company promotion on social media, and crafting systems for a quick and responsive reaction to negative comments.
- Strategic Positive Content Publication: writing and placing authentic, positive content online to further your company goals and brand image.
- Takedown Services: issuing the proper takedown notices in order to remove libelous or defamatory comments about your company on websites or social media.
- Inoculation: constructing a strong plan for ensuring continuing positive reviews and mentions of your company, including (but not limited to) gaining additional search engine listings for your company in order to “push” any negative sites or comments outside the first search results page.
Online Reputation Management Scores Explained
Increasing concern over negative buzz on the internet has given rise to a number of tools designed to give businesses a snapshot of their online reputation. Most of the top tools use a ranking system of 1-100 (with 100 being the highest), but each score has a slightly different meaning. Here are two of the most important metrics:
- Klout, perhaps the most widely known score, measures the influence your business has online based on social media activity, number of followers and Wikipedia mentions. The three ingredients of your score are the number of people you reach (true reach), your influence (amplification) and how influential your followers are (network).
- PeerIndex relies on how highly your social media content is valued by followers, in order to determine how much of an authority you are in your industry. The three key factors for your score are the number of people you reach and impact (audience), how often your content and shares are used by others (authority), and how active you are, how many communities you’re a part of (activity).
Internet Reputation Management Statistics
Anyone who has spent enough time online intuitively understands the need for online reputation management. But research done by a variety of academics, including some at Harvard Business School and the University of Michigan, makes it crystal clear that ORM is crucial for any serious business:
- 79% of consumers put as much trust in online reviews as they do in recommendations from friends and family.
- A Yelp rating increase of one star produces a company revenue growth of 5…9%.
- 73% of consumers trust a business more after reading positive reviews, 77% make a decision after reading five reviews or less, and 85% research a product or business online before deciding on a purchase.
- More than 50% of people surveyed in a recent study said that the online reputation of a doctor or dentist matters most in their decision-making process.
Under these circumstances, it is clear that maintaining a clean online reputation is critical in today’s environment.