• Amulya Sangamnerkar

Online Reputation Management 101

Online Reputation management is strongly influencing the impression of your business in the mind of the consumer. With the alarming increase in the number of companies providing similar products and services, it is vital to develop an unbreakable bond with the consumers to stay relevant in the market. This bond can be nourished by being present at every level of the customer journey and answering their queries. Companies can pay to appear on different platforms, by display ads or influencer marketing to drive traffic to their own website. They can be organically ranked by Google based on the relevance and quality of their content if their content is updated regularly. The striking thing is that this content is easy to understand, useful, and can be shared by consumers among themselves.

Humans have a natural tendency to learn from the experiences of others. Reviews on the website provide a platform to read and share the same. This helps to build trust in the brand as it is recommended by people who have already experienced it. A survey by BrightLocal in 2019 states that 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. That clearly shows that your brand is being looked at everywhere! Loosely, it can be called as Word Of Mouth Marketing (WOM) in a digital format, and we all know that WOM is the best kind of marketing.

A brand which engages with their consumer always wins. Personalized Birthday and Anniversary Messages, Consumer Loyalty Programmes, Purchase Specific Discount Offers, are all-time tested ways to remain at the top of the mind of buyers.

Today's consumer has a choice to pick one brand from the countless other brands available in the market. The company that acknowledges their requirements and is ever ready to help them out always grabs their attention.

A brand should make a detailed Online Reputation Management plan which describes in detail the image they want to achieve, expectations of their Target Audience, Innovative ways to engage with them, Rules and Regulations, Transparency Policy they will follow to ensure that they successfully retain consumers. Companies should be ready to respond to all the negative comments which will come its way, comments made with the intention to degrade the brand should be handled strategically and with class.

A structured approach towards a great online reputation bears fruits like no other. Start by becoming more and more aware of what people are saying about you on different online platforms. You may employ alert systems such as Google Alert, Social Mention or Tackle, to track and discover people’s perception of your brand. This is called “Sentiment Analysis”. But is knowing and analyzing enough? NO.

ORM Practice by Zomato

ORM Practice by Amul

The next step is to reach out to the ones writing about you, whether positive or negative! Approach the positive reviews and share your joy and appreciation. Approach the negative ones and try to understand why someone experienced such inconvenience, and then address them empathetically. Confronting a negative review shows that you care.

The final step that leaves a forever shining impression about your brand is to create and recreate new engaging content that reflects on your positive stance and assists customers

and prospects in developing an optimistic brand perception. One can use Blogs, PR articles, Press Releases, on various platforms like Facebook, Linked In, Instagram, depending upon the nature and type of business.

ORM is not a one-time tool. It has to be monitored, tracked and reinvented continuously. It is very important to address your own online presence goals in order to work towards making it a reality. Practising ORM is a cherry on the top to your business operations and adds sincerity to your brand communication.

“It takes 20 years to build a REPUTATION, and 5 minutes to RUIN it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” -Warren Buffet

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