Online Reputation Management (ORM) has become one of the biggest talking points of the online marketing industry of late.
The irony about ORM is that it is everything that is done offline that affects your online reputation. What is quite key about this is that people using Online Reputation Management tools and monitoring need to realise that online reputation management by itself is useless. It is great to say that my company has been monitoring the sentiment of over 1 000 web listings and we have a 43% positive sentiment rating…! Whooppee…!! But what does that actually tell you…? Nothing…? Incorrect!
ORM tells you what is wrong.
The real value of ORM comes out of using what information it is telling you and then acting on that. Now before you jump the gun, that does not mean (to quote PR specialist Craig Rodney at the last Heavy Chef event) you need to take a water pistol and quickly squirt out the fire. Stop. Listen. See what you can learn from the information that is being spread and what you can do about it. Sometimes a guy just needs to have a rant to get it out of his system; you don’t have to reply to and fulfill each and every social media post out there about you and your brand.
The real value as I said is to be given the information about what is bugging your clients and have the opportunity to change their perceptions about your service offering.
Online Reputation Management Tricks
The truth is, there really are no tricks to online reputation management; except for the fact that the term ORM itself is a trick. To manage your online reputation you need to take action offline and ensure that you are doing everything that you possibly can to improve your clients experiences with your company and brand.
An example of this is the following story. If you Google “Absa Bank”; what you will get returned in the SERPS is a really long list of people saying that their customer service is completely useless. Today a Absa Bank Platinum Priority Services Consultant named Phumelele Mthetwa completely proved each and every one of those posts wrong. Phulelele called me this morning about an Absa Bank service, he was friendly, polite and engaging in the conversation. She could answer all of my questions and later delivered via email on all of the promises she made me on the phone. I then mailed her back with a few queries to which she promptly responded with a reply mail and then another phone call to make sure I was satisfied. I was totally impressed with her service deliver that she in part inspired this blog post.
After a bit of waffle there; that is how working on what you are putting out there “offline” as a company has influence on your online reputation. I have posted this article about excellent Absa service; which will make its way in to the search results pages and slowly help Absa change the negative attitude towards them online.
If there is one key lesson out of this lengthy post, it is that online reputation management is about listening to what is happening online and then putting management techniques in place for what is affecting it offline!