Nikita Prokhorov – Choosing an Online Reputation Management strategy for your business
- Reputation management strategies
- The benefits of having an ORM strategy
- The basics. Dominate search results
- Social media
- Be transparent & interact with clients
- Managing listing on search engines
- Removing negative search results & taking legal action
- Creating positive content
Reputation management strategies
ORM strategies by Nikita Prokhorov
What is an ORM strategy?
Many people mistakenly believe that Online Reputation Management is mostly connected with social media monitoring. The truth is that ORM has actually got to do with absolutely everything that happens to your company on the web. An ORM strategy is all about monitoring, controlling, and influencing what Internet users see when they come into contact with your brand.
In a nutshell, an ORM strategy is a complex of measures aimed at improving or maintaining a company’s online reputation, which is usually quite a time- and financially consuming. However, you will definitely not regret investing in ORM in the long run. The reason is that your brand’s online reputation greatly influences the influx of new clients and profit. At the same time, remember that even one negative review can become a decisive factor for hundreds and thousands of people in their search for a product or a service, so it can do real harm to your reputation and business in general.
Today it’s impossible to prevent customers from sharing their opinion online, but you can motivate them to leave positive feedback. Make sure that your clients feel heard and welcomed. Help them share their experience with others and contribute to raising your online credibility.
Nevertheless, customer satisfaction isn’t the only thing that influences a brand’s reputation. Not anymore. Not in the digital age. This is where reputational agencies and services come in. They use a variety of tools and ORM techniques to monitor and control your reputation or, as a matter of fact, your competitors’ reputation too.
Using reputation management services as an investment
The results of ORM may not always be seen straight away. That’s why one might say that doing a reputation management plan is an investment in the future. No one knows when you’ll become a target of your competitors or your own business flaws will damage you, so you need to be prepared.
If your company has got into a sticky situation, regardless of the reason, you will need a solid action plan that will help you regain lost reputation and strengthen your brand’s reputation positions online. Reputation House specialists are trained to do just that. Headed by Nikita Prokhorov, the agency specializes in monitoring, implementation of ORM strategies, and prevention of reputational attacks. They provide a large variety of tailor-made services, from working with negative reviews to offering a reputation-enforced promotion of your brand, its goods, and services.
The benefits of having an ORM strategy
There are a number of reasons why devising an ORM strategy today may be the best option. Don’t wait until a crisis strikes, have a look at what a sound ORM strategy can influence today.
First of all, monitoring your information field, i.e., blogs, posts, social media, and other information sources may not only aim to find negative feedback about your brand. ORM can also be used to find positive feedback. Use it to identify and enhance your strengths. Share positive organic reviews with your audience to emphasize your advantages.
The next point is that, according to different studies, over 80% of Internet users read reviews before making a purchase. This highlights just how crucial it is to work with reviews. Your sales may drop if someone has left negative feedback. This shows how “tangible” your reputation may be. However, without monitoring the situation properly, you wouldn’t even know where the negative reviews were left. So maybe keeping your ORM in check constantly could be a good idea, don’t you think so?
The basics by Nikita Prokhorov. Dominate search results
To build a good and reliable online reputation, your brand needs to be trusted by the public. The perfect final result of an ORM strategy is when your clients choose your brand among others. They would write positive reviews, give helpful non-toxic feedback, protect you from any attacks from the outside, and so on. This means they would be really willing to trust you.
The first little step towards that perfect outcome is to manage search results related to your company. You need to control what customers see when they search for information about your company, products, services, management, etc.
If your SEO is done well enough, you can make sure that your brand’s content dominates the first results page. According to different sources, over 90% of users only visit the first page and never go to the second one. In a way, your first search engine results page is your online “face”.
In order to make sure that you look great on the first results page, SEO might just not be enough. The best way to ensure that you really are in control of your SERP is to create a few key social media accounts for your business and fill them in with information. If you already have social media accounts, don’t forget to check your old publications and delete any that may seem controversial and harm your image.
Last but not least, one of the basic online reputation management techniques you need to apply is to differentiate between dangerous negativity and tolerable one. Even if you are planning to outsource ORM, having this skill will allow you not to panic and continue working on your reputation with a cool head.
For example, negative feedback on Facebook in the form of a comment may be something to worry about. However, under ordinary circumstances, it won’t be much of a reputational threat. On the other hand, imagine a whole website or a giant blog post criticizing your brand on the first results page in Google. Sounds like a completely different story, doesn’t it? Learn to grade threat levels and set priorities.
It’s time to move from words to deeds!
As we already know, very few users go past the first Google results page. So, if a blog post or an article with a negative review about your brand has gotten to the first page, it spells bad news for your reputation (and your sales, remember?). What do we do in such cases? We dominate the first page! How? With SEO and other tools, of course. Long story short – SEO is needed to make sure that you control that first page for any related search query.
There are two ways to improve your SEO. The first one implies optimizing your website. Another one is posting valuable information on your website and driving traffic there via social media. Such updates will force search engine algorithms to give more value to your website and thus push other unwanted links down.
Integrating SEO into your ORM strategy is a long and troublesome process. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of factors that affect your website’s performance in the search engine. Moreover, nobody really knows all the factors for certain and they are constantly updated. What is clear is that optimizing as many SEO factors as possible will allow search engines to crawl your website better and thus rank it higher.
There are 3 main parts to SEO: on-page optimization, off-page optimization, and technical issues monitoring. Keep that in mind if you don’t know where to start.
Dark SEO strategies by Nikita Prokhorov
Yes, SEO can also be used against competitors. Actually, a lot of companies resort to that, despite it being treated as unfair play. If you fail to defend yourself from such attacks, some really negative posts and websites may be making their way toward your first Google results page.
Nikita Prokhorov, one of the leaders and trendsetters of the ORM industry, recommends doing an online reputation audit in such cases. It’s always beneficial to be aware of your reputational standing, but it’s especially important to know what’s going on when something unpredictable happens and you face a lot of negativity on the web. Reputation House specialists will provide you with a top-notch reputation audit and give advice on what to do in order to defend your brand from an attack.
Creating social media accounts isn’t enough. You actually have to maintain them!
Using social media as a reputational tool is an online reputation management technique as well. It is usually used as a brand-controlled review platform with customer support. Customers need to see that your brand is open for discussion and to be sure that their questions will be answered in a professional manner. In order to do that, you will have to be active on social media and show your presence. Social media is also a very good place to hire and nurture brand ambassadors.
Social media platforms aren’t made for criticism only! Remember that you can also complement, encourage and inform a large part of your audience there. Build trust and show your transparency to your clientele. Such platforms are the best way for your potential clients to see how you interact with the audience.
One of the professional tips would be to establish communication with opinion leaders present on your Facebook channel. Doing a project together will help to create a sense of trust and community among the rest of the members.
Be transparent & interact with clients
We’ve already mentioned how important it is to be transparent, but what does transparency actually mean for reputation management planning?
In short, transparency is about being open with your clients regardless of whether they are satisfied with your service or not. Being ready to hold a discussion in public, especially with a disgruntled client, may seem like a risky strategy, but it will definitely become fruitful over time.
In other words, being transparent means:
- Being open to criticism
- Being able to hold a constructive discussion in public
- Being able to find opportunities in negative feedback
- Dealing with complaints publicly
- Not hiding or deleting unwanted messages
- Initiating the conversation
If something went wrong, it isn’t humiliating for a brand to mitigate the negative consequences of its mistakes with some free perks, such as gifts or discounts. Remember that service quality is one of the unique things of each brand that helps to stand out.
One last thing worth mentioning here is that communication with customers should be professional. This is an important part of any reputation management strategy. Communication has to be of high quality. The team that does online communication with your clients must complete training before getting to work. There should be rules saying what kind of comments should be answered, how long should it take to respond to a comment or a message, and so on. Transparency and openness don’t mean a lack of discipline and politeness.
It’s often the case that reviews and opinions are only left by dissatisfied customers. Meanwhile, those clients that have received the best service you can offer remain silent. Don’t let it slide! Encourage your customers and clients to post reviews about your brand and products. Let them know how they can rate you on rating platforms and websites. Inform your customers and motivate them to post online reviews about your company.
Managing listing on search engines
A quick and rather easy way to up your game in terms of online reputation management strategy is to get listed on search engines and platforms where your brand can be found. It’s usually a free service that any business can enjoy. Being listed on search engines such as Google means your customers can see your brand card when searching for your company or any businesses on maps. Being in control of your business listing means that you can set information about the brand, working hours, address, phone number, photos, as well as customer reviews for everyone to see. Also, keep in mind that by not having the things mentioned above, you leave your potential clients misinformed.
Removing negative search results & taking legal action
This strategy doesn’t always work, but it’s worth trying. If the information published on a website is malicious or contains your personal information – you can ask the platform to delete it. Do keep in mind that, anyway, the Internet always remembers everything, but at least a clearly abusive article won’t be in your client’s field of vision.
As an extra move to reinforce that reputation strategy, you can write a statement on behalf of the brand highlighting the key aspects important to you. Send that statement over to the website and ask the owner to post it. Also, use it to explain everything to the public on your channels and social media.
How can you find out if your rights have been violated? Let’s take Google as an example. Google has online reputation management tips written on its support page. There are only 3 of them, and they all come down to you having a right to remove any personal information about yourself on Google. Not exactly the most helpful tool, but still nice to have in your toolbox. Other search engines work in a similar way.
Taking Legal Action
Sometimes you may face situations when the complaints and reviews you receive are so serious and potentially harmful that you may consider applying to the court to defend your reputation. Brands rarely resort to this strategy because it’s very difficult to execute correctly. The reason is that this process needs to be quick in order to be effective. In real life, though, it will take ages for the process to come to an end. Moreover, sometimes a brand can lose the court procedure it initiated along with the time and financial resources spent on it. So, consider going to court as your extreme measure.
Creating positive content
Another popular reputation strategy that you will practically be forced to use at some point is creating positive content. You will need it for two main reasons, which basically can be called defensive and offensive.
The defensive ORM strategy is needed to create a positive information field around your brand. This will allow you to keep clients and followers well-informed and active. Also, you will start appearing more frequently in search results. All these will build trust, and reputation and establish a two-way dialogue. This strategy is especially crucial for companies providing intangible goods and services.
The offensive ORM strategy implies creating a lot of positive content in order to hide an unpleasant piece of news about your brand or to secure your position on the first page of the search results.
Search engines generally tend to be favorable towards newer pieces of news. If you publish new content on a regular basis, search engines will treat that as one of the factors when indexing information related to your brand. This means that if you update your platforms with positive content, it will likely be placed higher than old content, which may contain negative mentions.
By the way, positive content doesn’t necessarily include praising your company. Quite often it implies that your company is good to do business with. Such content may include posts with an apology to an unhappy customer or an article that explains some difficult topic.
For those businesses working with tangible goods, producing positive content about their products is equally important. This is due to the fact that new customers always look at the reviews left by other customers. Since there are usually quite a lot of them, it might be best to start producing positive content even before you start receiving reviews in general.
Reputation House CEO Nikita Prokhorov
I believe that Online Reputation Management is about good, prosperity, and well-being. Fight for your reputation and make others talk about you. A better reputation means more customers. More customers mean more money. More money means faster development.
— Nikita Prokhorov, Reputation House CEO
How long does it take to see the first results of a well-executed reputation management plan?
– There is no universal timeframe for every strategy at once. The result can be seen within a few days after implementing a strategy. As for big changes, they shouldn’t take more than a year to be seen in the reports. As you see, the terms vary greatly. Actually, it all depends on the strategy, the team, the analytics, and, of course, luck.
So, to conclude. What is an ORM strategy in simple terms?
– Strategic reputation management is about how your brand is perceived online. An ORM strategy is an action plan aiming at building or improving a brand’s online reputation.
Which steps and ORM strategies would you recommend to every brand regardless of the specifics of their activity?
– Those would be:
- Conduct an online reputation audit
- Create an ORM strategy.
- Dominate your SERP.
- Produce positive content both by yourself and via the reviews and messages from your clients.
- Confess your mistakes and work with them instead of ignoring the issues.
(Disclaimer: Devdiscourse’s journalists were not involved in the production of this article. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Devdiscourse and Devdiscourse does not claim any responsibility for the same.)