Online Reputation Management (ORM)
If a powerful blog or forum ranks on page one of Google for your brand, you are at risk. This means that essentially anyone who wishes could post there can have a negative impact on your brand when people perform due diligence on you.
A negative post, true or not, can shut down a company lead funnel, even when the negative post is NOT by someone you consider a “customer.”
To conduct a strong reputation managent program, these broad issues are covered:
- Survey business tactics, public attitudes
- Survey search engine results pages
- Survey back-link profiles for problem sites
- Monitoring brand and product names
- Pro-active engagement practices for Social Media
- Repair corporate website SEO issues.
- Create micro-sites, social media profiles and blogs.
- Conduct organic SEO on corporate sites, micro-sites, blogs.
- Insert paid placements at strategic locations.
How Long does ORM take?
There is no way to know. If your competitors are weak, then a few months may be all that’s necessary. If they are strong, it can take 8-12 months or more to dislodge a negative listing. This is why it’s always better to try to deal with the issue at the source.
A Simple Phone Call (of the right kind) can be the strongest ORM tool.
I have “declawed” or removed negative posts that ranked highly for client sites with a simple phone call or a well considered email in as little as two weeks. In some cases, the post remained, but had little of the venomous content that the client was concerned about.
Kill them with Kindness
Other times, it pays to get involved in the community where the negative posts are occuring and contribute to the community in a positive way. Seek to find affiliates within the community and help them with problems. This is exceedingly difficult when emotions (or egos) are strong. Once you have a strong reputation in that community, negative posts tend to simply vanish.
A Typical ORM project timeline (6-12 months)
- survey the customer satisfaction level of the client’s customers.
- set up ORM tools to simplify monitoring.
- survey client content resources (those that can be made public.)
- identify client resources for content creation, outreach projects.
- understand the risks of disatisfied customers and consumer-created media.
- register domain names that are at risk of becoming negative sites.
- register social media profiles for client name and brand
- survey who might be using client trademarks on usernames and blogs
- survey the websites causing the problems for backlinks, purpose.
- begin a direct contact strategy for negative posts
- begin an outreach strategy.
- utilize client’s content (e.g. slideshows, photographs, whitepapers) on microsites or other aggregators
Key Success Factors
- Executive Support
- Adequate Resources
- Education of Client about ORM
- Person to Person Authenticity