10 Steps for Effective Online Reputation Management

cover-crisisProtecting the reputation of a brand has become a difficult task. Internet has made it possible for customers to talk directly both to the companies and to their audience by using social networks and other online channels. As a result negative comments for a particular brand can affect the online reputation of the company and if they are not handled properly they can lead to “no control” situations. In this post, we will share with you 10 steps on how to deal with online reputation management for a brand or organization.

Online reputation management (ORM) is a set of actions that must be done before and after a communication crisis event, to protect a brand, a person, or an organization from reputation damage. Here are the steps that you must follow to prepare yourself for a crisis event:

1. Be prepared

The subjects of online reputation management have to be prepared to react on any possible reputation damage. This can be achieved by defining a crisis team to co-operate fast and effectively when the crisis event occurs and efficiently manage the online buzz.

2. Define spokesperson & Channel

Make sure you define the spokesperson and the media that you are going to use. It is very important this person to be trained (media training) to speak to the public and to respond to questions from the press. It may sounds “traditional media” but this person can reply with a blog post, a tweet or even a video on youtube.

3. List the possible risks

Create a list of all possible risks drawing different scenarios for each case depending on your industry field. For this, you can brainstorm with the heads of all departments of the organization or to advise an insurance consultant.

4. Publicity list

The Publicity list is a very important tool for every communication professional. It must be kept up-to-date and include the channels related to the industry and the general sector, the on and offline channels, the bloggers and the other opinion leaders of your field etc.

5. Brand monitoring

Brand monitoring is the second most important step, after the preparation because it will help you protect your image. Daily monitoring will help you identify a communication crisis from its start. There are millions of tools for brand monitoring across the web, covering news and other websites along with social media conversations. One of the tools that have been released recently is the Brand Watch. Brand Watch is a very user-friendly and easy to use tool that allows you to monitor conversations across the web and evaluate your social media reach.

brandwatch

Nevertheless if you can’t afford a brand monitoring tool, you can simply do a search using your brand name as a query and read on daily basis  all the industry news along with the CGM (customer generated media) of your field (i.e forums or product-review websites). This is more time consuming but still it will help you detect a communication crisis from its start.

6. Allocate a budget for crisis event

During the communication crisis event it is certain that you will need additional funds. They can be used for various services, including renting meeting rooms or using press release distribution services or placing ads on news portals.

7. Reputation management and Search results

Within online environment, all brands have a common threat: the fast moving news and the fast indexing of Google. Since there is no way to ask Google to remove negative content for your brand (because it is useful for the customers), you can “push” the negative results down by sharing your position before and after the communication event. On the one hand you have to upload your positive content proactively and on the other hand you must respond to people and to the questions of the press and also share the honest truth and your brand’s official statement.

8. Share proactive content

Share your brand’s story in various types of media. Make sure you use the official website, social networks, email campaigns and press releases.

9. Blogger relations

Same as conventional media relations, bloggers are the “journalists” that will probably cover your story and influence your audience. Create a list of the most important ones and build long term relations sending them information and exclusive news about your brand.

reputation-management

10. Setup accounts for communication services

Create accounts for communication services including an Adwords account along with online press release distribution services. This is very important task that will enable your “crisis team” to act effectively and place the official voice of the brand or organization, a step ahead of the press.

Communication crisis and reputation damage are terms that should be very clear to your communication team. During a crisis event all negative publicity can and will communicate the wrong messages for the brand or the organization. The key to take advantage of the online environment is to be prepared and to react as soon as possible. Finally don`t forget that SEO, Press Releases, Ads and Social Media are tools that can help you reach your audience and resolve the crisis, thus make sure you use them properly.

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  • Vfrankz

    A marvelous way to explain the marketing strategy of online reputation management with the solutions to beat the crisis.
    All are valuable and fruitful stuff………!

  • Olivier Riviere

    Good list but a very classical one with most of the tips being not specific to social media. The “technical” part of monitoring what’s going on on the web is crucial but many tools just float you with data, without being able to detect in real tilme which sites/comments have a real influence and can become a danger.

    I would also add the following (stating the obvious to some extent):

    - Being ALWAYS authentic in what you do and say is the best protection against attacks on your reputation

    - Engage in a sustained way with all constituencies of your ecosystem and and try to build and maintain a network of advocates (if well focused, this is also possible for small companies).

    - Don’t oversetimate the real power of negative comments. There will always be some. HOWEVER, if some of them turn nasty AND very visible, you need to react facts and in the right way.

  • Mark Tamis

    Although these recommendations make sense, they are in essence tactics. You’re readying to ‘fight’ a classic warfare scenario, whereas the ‘other side’ has many means at their disposal for guerrilla attacks – including means to coordinate actions rapidly in many different locations.

    What would be a better approach is to anticipate the issues, integrate customer needs and expectations and collaborate with your them to meet these. Which is more of a ‘hearts and minds approach’, and in case of attacks on your brand, your customer communitites and fans can battle alongside you, with better results.

  • noida online

    its nice… online reputation means, we can promote our business or website through internet like SEO, SMO, SEM… it is right…!

  • seo analysis

    A fantastic way to explain the web marketing strategy of online reputation management.Share our brand’s story in various types of media it will good for taking on-line presence

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  • waithash

    This is very useful information for brands. Most brands apparently here in Kenya do not Monitor what happens online.Especially with Social Media being very viral it is very important that brands have dedicated persons to listen / monitor what happens in the online space

  • Reputation Management

    This is a great information that I can use in my medium sized company. We have quite a big problem with reputation management, and the tips you provided are really helpful. I’m a bit confused with “Publicity List”, can’t really understand what should be done in that area.

  • Google Mania

    Brand Monitoring is most prior. One best way for brand building is social media in short time. My analytic showing me top performing keywords are mostly brand relevant and the top traffic source is direct. Organic way is the best way for brand building but now social media becomes more powerful. Best example here is WEBSEOANALYTICS it self. Me and my follower like you on twitter.

  • Chatmeter

    Online reputation monitoring is key to managing your brand. I agree that you need to be prepared to react on any possible reputation damage. Great advice on listing all your possible risks. Thanks

  • Susan

    Website reputation or online reputation is a great thing in this time because day by day hackers and malicious web sites are coming and cheating us on WWW.

    Thanks!!

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  • M Ali

    This is very useful information for brands. Most brands apparently here in Kenya do not Monitor what happens online.Especially with Social Media being very viral it is very important that brands have dedicated persons to listen / monitor what happens in the online space

  • JC BINETTI

    Nice summary with useful information. We already integrate all these schemes in the web application crcm.eu (crisis team and crisis roles, scenarios and tasks, contact list for emailing, monitoring information related to crisis,…) It’a a good idea to integrate also the brandwatch results. They propose an API (included in the monthly rate).

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