An Apprentice’s Guide to Online Reputation Management

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When building a business from the ground up, there are undoubtedly plenty of things to consider. Perhaps close to the top of the list (outside of the actual services of the company), would be the overall relevance and reputation of a company online. When a startup owner has to simultaneously deal with similarly ambitious companies of the same size alongside businesses that are large enough to overshadow them without so much as blinking, Online Reputation Management (ORM) is an extremely crucial part of business management.

For most startup owners who are still learning their way around their industry, an online reputation is basically how the public perceives any type of company when they search for it online. That said, the keyword is search, as most — if not all — will be using a search engine such as Google to get the job done. Considering that two-thirds of the clicks are within the first two pages of the results in a typical Google search, most strategies involve making use of tactics to help push preferred content higher on the list.

How Online Reputation Management operates outside of the search engine

While most strategies make use of the aforementioned search results, it is not the only use of ORM. After all, no matter how much anyone might try to help their company excel, there will always be negative business reviews. Unfortunately, even a single negative review can have far-reaching effects. It is the reason why ORM is often utilized to help manage potentially negative reviews.

ORM is also used as a means to help and encourage those who are happy with a business to leave flattering reviews that might just be the push other people need to give the company’s services a try.

Deciding on what a business owner wants when it comes to perceived image

While it would be ideal to go for excellence all across the board, it is generally the better idea to focus on a company’s strengths and utilize it to market their services. For example, some companies might want people to perceive their services as a reliable industry leader. Others still might want people to see them as the type of company that can relate with the masses.

While it would be ideal to go for a positive image, there are many different types of positive images to use, which is where Online Reputation Management comes in. A company that wants to be known for their excellent customer services will take steps not just to improve customer service, but to encourage others to talk about it as well. There is also the potential of turning things around when encountering specific negative reviews, as the business owner can make changes based on their feedback, letting the consumers know that they are being heard.

How to assess the current state through Online Reputation Management

Once the startup owner has decided on the type of online image they want, the next step would be to gather as much information as possible regarding the current image. It would be ideal for the entrepreneur to ask as many people as they can, from family members and friends to coworkers and even industry rivals. Most will find that their digital presence can often differ from how people within an online network see their business, which provides invaluable insight when it comes to figuring out the next step. Fortunately, there are plenty of different tools available that can help collect reviews online, known collectively as reputation management software.

On the topic of a social media policy

With regards to how a business is perceived online, the next step would be to ensure that the ensuing social media policy is geared toward meeting the requirements of their desired reputation. It will not do for a company’s employees to say anything they like regarding their company or that of their peers, as it could effectively cause tension among other businesses. Keep in mind that an employee acting poorly reflects onto the company, which is why those who speak out of line often lose their jobs as a result.

There are far-reaching consequences for those who are not careful when it comes to how they protect their online reputation. Even newer businesses could end up suffering under negative stigma if they lag behind when it comes to Online Reputation Management. In today’s world where a single opinion can bear great weight, those who take the time to carefully manage their ORM have a much higher chance of overall success.

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