November 24, 2020 | Article | Online Reputation Management
Proactive Online Reputation Management: Take Control of Your Brand
It’s estimated that over 5.5 billion Google searches are conducted each day. With so many eyes on the search giant, the first page of results for your brand can quickly define your online reputation. Your first impression matters, and you have one page of search results to make it.
Traditionally, brands associate a need for online reputation management (ORM) services with having a negative reputation. And while there’s an obvious benefit to improving your online reputation, the payoff goes beyond brands already in crisis mode.
As search and consumer behavior have evolved, it's not just brands with a bad reputation that need to act. Proactive ORM is more of an overall branding effort working to build your brand and strengthen the presence of owned content in the search results.
Proactive vs. Reactive Reputation Management
Proactive and reactive – before and after, right? In summary, yes, but the details of why and how are important.
Reactive ORM is a response to an existing issue. While it often implies that something negative has been published online about your brand, the word negative is open to interpretation and could mean anything that might differ from the reputation you want to have. The bottom line is that this perception already exists, and the reactive action is taken to change it.
Sometimes coupled with other crisis management initiatives like public relations, reactive ORM work includes the creation of new content from your brand’s perspective and optimization of owned content to help boost the rankings of favorable content in the search results.
Proactive reputation management on the other hand, is more about building and developing your brand’s online presence. Even if you don’t have a negative reputation, a lack of reputation overall is problematic.
The Value of Brand Management
Google your brand and evaluate what the first page conveys:
- Are the results about you, or someone else with a similar name?
- Does your website rank #1?
- Do you have relevant social profiles? Industry-specific listings?
- Have you claimed the knowledge panel or your Google My Business listing, if applicable?
- Do you have reviews across relevant platforms?
- Does your brand project authority in your industry?
If you don’t come across as a legitimate entity, users may not trust the results and are more likely to seek out a competitor. Your online reputation and presence extend far beyond your website; you need to think about the other places where users interact with a brand and make sure these outlets exist, are optimized and are active.
Actively managing your brand online can also serve as a buffer in the event of a future crisis. Should you need to react, you’ve already invested in building trust with your audience and you’ve worked to solidify the presence of your owned properties in the search results. You can’t prevent third-party content about your brand from being indexed and ranked by Google, but you can get a head start on telling your side of the story, too.
Googling your brand to survey the results is your first step toward active brand management. Think like your audience and use this mindset to determine opportunities that will help build your brand and strengthen your online presence. A few key items to consider include:
Your name is on your website, and it’s probably in your domain too, but this alone isn’t enough to guarantee rankings. Ensure your site is technically sound and that you are presenting unique, high-quality content.
Like it or not, social media is hugely influential in today’s world. Determine the appropriate social platforms where customers may interact with your brand – anything from Instagram to LinkedIn – and create, optimize, and use.
You can’t exactly control your reviews and taking action to facilitate reviews can get tricky, depending on the platform. What’s most important is that you claim these profiles, optimize as much as you can and then actively monitor reviews to stay on top of any potential issues.
What other brands or outlets say about you can have a big impact on your own reputation. Seek out appropriate opportunities for coverage based on your industry or offerings. If you don’t have these connections yourself, PR services may be a good solution.
Online reputation management isn’t only for companies and individuals with negative content appearing online. It’s a marketing practice that all brands and individuals should consider to maintain and protect their reputation.
Interested in learning more about our proactive and reactive online reputation management services? Reach out to us via the form at the bottom of the page.