ORM, or online reputation management, is a strategic process whereby your reputation is monitored at all time, with the goal of making sure negative comments are pushed down the search engine results, and positive comments are pushed up. The rate of growth in demand for the services of a good online reputation management company is one in the fastest in the world. In fact, between 2009 and 2010 alone, there was a 40% growth in the market, being valued at around $200 million.
Why Is ORM So Popular?
If you are trying to understand why there is now so much demand into ORM, you have to get to grips with three factors:
- Reputation is key to everything. Look, for instance, at the Gulf of Mexico Spill and BP. Nobody is going to work with your business if, when they type your name in the search engine, only negative things start to come up.
- The internet has made it easier than ever before to enable individual people to share their opinions and views. In fact, the use of social networking and costumer review sites, forums, and blogs, has gone through the roof. People can tell others what they think, whether they are right or not, wherever they want!
- Once something is online, it cannot be erased, with some exceptions.
How to Protect Your Online Reputation
There are three main things that you have to do in order to protect your online reputation:
- You have to know what people are saying about your business, regardless of where they say it. An ORM company can do this for you, tracking Social Media Search Tools and creating Google Alerts. Plus, they will check what shows up on the top of the search engines about you at all times.
- If there are negative reports, you must figure out whether you can respond to mitigate the damage. Edits could be made to the comment, particularly if there are inaccuracies. You could also speak out publicly, particularly if the complaint is slanderous. If it is a genuine negative comment, you may be able to apologize and come to a resolution.
- Make sure that there are far more positive stories than negative ones out there. You can do this through search engine optimization, creating engaging and positive content. Post blogs, articles, make observations, engage those who leave positive reviews, promote those pieces of content, and so on.
What You Shouldn’t Do
When a negative review is posted, it is all too easy to panic. However, you must take a strategic approach to addressing this. Three key mistakes not to make are:
- Not listening to other people’s opinions. There may be grains of truth in there that you can learn from.
- Being disrespectful in your replies to negative comments, which gives people all the more reason to believe the bad stuff out there.
- Creating fake positive reviews, which people will see through very quickly.