MANAGE perceptions, don’t try to CONTROL them
A positive reputation brings trust, confidence, and sales, which are ultimately reflected in revenue growth and profitability. Negative perceptions can lead to a decrease in consumer confidence, and, in turn, a reduction in revenue and profits. Fact is, what you can’t control, you need to manage.
- Consumers make buying decisions by going online to research, read reviews and get opinions from other consumers. If they come across negative information about your brand during a search, it may adversely affect your brand reputation.
- Online Reputation Management (ORM) enables you to protect and manage your online reputation by becoming actively involved in the outcome of search engine results. It combines marketing and Public Relations with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Monitor, Influence and Lead your Reputation Online
Don’t take negative publicity lying down. Increase your overall positive web presence by becoming actively involved in the outcome of search engine results.
First, MONITOR what’s being said about you, and then, positively INFLUENCE the results of online searches.
- Monitor what’s being said online. Monitoring the information that relates to your brand on a daily basis will help you track negative publicity before it can seriously affect search rankings.
Use Internet monitoring systems to inform you of news and information about your brand:
o Set up Google and Yahoo Alerts to track the mention of your company / brand in the news
o Use sites such as Feedster and Technorati to watch your brand in blogs
o Customize RSS readers for brand tracking
o Track for all names including brand names, company names, product names, and key employee names
o Monitor industry-related sites and directories
- Influence results. Your online assets are the sites that you have control over and can use to dominate the search engine rankings. These include corporate sites, sister sites/ micro-sites, product sites, corporate blogs, employee blogs, partner sites (supplier sites, recruitment sites) and corporate communications (press releases, articles).
Identify the most influential sites for your industry and get actively involved by becoming a regular contributor to relevant blogs and forums. You may also want to empower a member of your organization to
participate in these.
- Lead the conversation about your brand
o Engage with contributors to blogs and forums and attempt to build a relationship with them. Make these two-way conversations and use the comments sections to get your viewpoint across.
o React positively to consumer complaints and encourage satisfied consumers to post their comments.
o Ensure top SEO listings for your corporate site and associated sites.
o Develop your own corporate blog to support marketing and customer service.
o Encourage employee blogging, which can then be search engine optimised for your brand.
Free Online Reputation Monitoring Tools
Use free online tools to monitor what’s being said about your brand online.
- Blog Monitoring. BackType, BlogPulse, Google Blog Search and Technorati are some search engines indexing millions of blog posts in real time.
- Twitter Monitoring. Monitter, TweetBeep, Socialoomph, Twitter Search all search Twitter activity for keywords, links or user activity in real time.
- Link Monitoring. BackTweets (provides an engine to search for specific links mentioned on Twitter) and WhoLinksToMe (tracks back-links and makes them easy to sort) can help you monitor links to your websites and associated sites.
- Other Tools. Google Alerts (monitors keyword search results), BoardTracker (searches discussion boards and forum threads), Naymz (a social network focused on reputation, personal branding, and identity verification) and Purewire Trust (an online portal to verify reputation related information) are some other free tools that can help you track online activity about your brand.
With consumers and investors getting more and more Internet savvy, it’s really crucial to have a good online reputation. ORM can restore a damaged online reputation, by moving out the negative search results and replacing them with positive ones.