Online Reputation Management
Online Reputation Management
While common in the west for a while online reputation management (ORM) is becoming more of a concern for Indian companies these days as more and more people access the web to get and share information. As internet penetration grows, India is pegged to have a huge and growing ORM market.
Online reputation management is now an integral part of the media plan of most aggressive advertisers, and companies are spending anywhere between ₹ 30 lakh and ₹ 2 crore to invest in their online image building. Some names include Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone India, Virgin Mobile India, ICICI Bank Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd, Tata Motors Ltd, Infosys Technologies Ltd, Microsoft Corp, United Breweries Ltd. and Kingfisher Airlines.
Social networking sites and blogs have emerged as a potent medium for consumers, who so far had no means to be heard, to communicate their views on companies and brands, like any other issue. These people have ensured that corporate/ brand communication is no more a one-way process managed by the company or it’s brand managers.
The web is where reputations are made and broken, where buying decisions are made and broken. One bad customer service experience can spread through the Internet in a matter of hours. Isolated incidents that used to be ignored or dismissed now live forever on social media sites and blogs. Ignoring people makes them mad and now they have tools to fight back and make their voices heard.
It takes a very long time to build positive reputation and image for a business, but it can be ruined just by a single negative post or feedback easily in just few minutes by anyone. Reputation of several good companies is damaged by unscrupulous competitors through blogs and social media sites and review websites, by posting false comments and feedback. Though legal action is possible, it is a time consuming and expensive process and meanwhile you can lose a lot of business. If timely action is not taken, you could easily lose millions of ₹s. As a result, online reputation management is becoming a new discipline at some companies both as a way to monitor and do damage control if needed, but also to build positive buzz on the Internet.
Online reputation management is important for businesses of any size. It’s about creating a positive Web presence to make your brand one that people trust and want to engage with. Because, it doesn’t matter how great your product is – if people don’t trust you, they won’t be interested in it.
ORM – Essential for Business Leaders
Are you aware of what your customers are saying about you? What about your competitors? Is there enough buzz about your brand in the online world? How do your current and to-be customers perceive your brand?
For business leaders, it is enormously important to actively listen to what is being said online, even if the messages are negative. Listening creates the opportunity to resolve, improve and even deal with malicious information, which can negatively influence your brand’s personality.
Equally important is the need to create a buzz about your brand. ORM helps in providing more visibility to your brand enabling your brand to be perceived as a market leader in its space.
THE ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT PROCESS
A dedicated team typically surfs the web and gathers all instances where the company or its brands find a mention. It participates in blogs, forums, discussion boards, wikis and social networking sites on behalf of the company, though not always identifying itself. Such efforts could also involve creating own forums and blogs to disseminate positive news and also to counter sites that may be causing damage to the company’s image. In addition to image management, such efforts can also help push sales.
Remove Negative Search Results
Some online content can be removed by getting the content owner to either remove it, or place special HTML tags on the page so that search engines no longer include those pages in search results. What cannot be removed is suppressed to pages further back and replaced in search results by strong positive web content. Since up to 95% of searches only take place on the first page (about 42% in the first place alone), negative content suppression can be as effective as removal.
Reposition (Move Up) Positive Search Results
A sentiment analysis shows how a company or individual is perceived in search results in either a negative, neutral, or positive manner. The most positive search results are often on page two, three, or further back – where they are not often seen. By identifying positive reputation search results and aggressively promoting them over time, the first page of search results changes to reflect the best information possible. By simply repositioning positive search results online perception can be dramatically altered.
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