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Online reputation management (ORM) is crucial for businesses to be regarded positively in search results and on social media.

ORM is loosely defined as a practice or strategy where the public perception about an organisation, individual or entity is managed by influencing information on the web. This can be through positive or negative reviews, opinions and experiences about a business and its products or services.

The main purpose of ORM is to drive more customers to a business, so it is important that every organisation pays close attention to how it is represented online.

According to ORM experts such as BirdEye, SaaS reputation management tool, the key to protecting your brand or business’ reputation online is to monitor the reviews and optimise the content appropriately.

Below are some tips to help your business manage its online reputation effectively.

Read next: How CIOs can create a personal brand on social media

Monitor search results regularly

Search results are probably one of the most positive ways to pick up your business, yet can also be the cause of headaches if not monitored regularly.

It is a good idea to search your company name and services monthly to identify how well (or not) it ranks. If you work for a big-name organisation that appears in the news regularly, then increase how regularly you monitor this to weekly or fortnightly.

Research from BrightLocal found that 97 percent of consumers search online for local businesses, and 12 percent of consumers do so on a daily basis. 

You can use Google Alerts to monitor keywords that relate to your business. This provides regular alerts as and when any new content about your business is posted online, and can help to quickly spot anything negative before anyone else notices it.

Build a social media presence

Having various social media accounts for your business is a useful form of marketing, however it is equally as important that you stay consistent with posts and interaction.

A lot of customers tend to search social media to see what others are saying about a particular brand or business, so it is a good idea to build a social media presence to ensure you can answer questions directly.

Use platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to share major moves in your business to help improve your influence and engagement among competitors.

Depending on the industry your business is in, neglecting your social media can be a downfall for customers which can then lead to negative reviews.

Engage with customers

Similarly, it is important to engage with current and potential customers regularly. Respond to their queries and make an effort to take note of all feedback, whether positive or negative.

Address all their concerns, and ensure customers that you will take the time to work on whatever they have said.

Social media is a good way to engage with people easily. You can consider sending out regular polls and surveys to find out what customers want, particularly for growing businesses this will help build and understand your clientele.

Be respectful online, and refrain from any disputes that will put people off. If you receive a complaint or negative review, rather than disregarding it, show that you appreciate their comment and provide evidence that you are working on improving.

Encourage customers to leave positive reviews

However, it is also important to encourage customers to leave positive reviews. If they have had a good experience, or are happy with a product or service they recently bought, then encourage them to share that online.

You can easily request this in communication with them, or when they purchase something advise them to offer feedback.

Reviews hold a lot of weight on the reputation of your business online, so it is a good idea to fill the internet with as many positive reviews as possible.

Make regular updates

Be consistent with website updates. If you want to rank highly on Google search, then ensure your business website has every reason to land high up on Google search’s first page.

One way to achieve this is by regularly updating your website with new products and services. If you open a new site or move office, make sure this is updated in good time.

If people have complained about a slow or crashing website in the past, make sure you fix this to avoid more complaints. Customers are very likely to go to another website if yours takes too long to load.

Optimise press releases

Consider sending out press releases about key company information such as quarterly revenue, new product launches, acquisitions and partnerships.

A lot of customers and potential partners take interest in this type of news, so it's a good idea to be transparent and share the information that people want to see.

These releases can also help you rank highly on Google for a while, just be sure to use the right keywords when writing them.