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.”

These broad issues are covered in a strong reputation management program:

  • 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.

Should we launch a review and ratings improvement initiative?

100% absolutely yes – no matter what business you’re in. The difference between strong and poor review click through rates are huge. If you’re a franchise, this impact is multiplied.

This study showed [good reviews] can boost CTR by as much as 35%, and for both surveys we showed a >97% chance that the treatment with review stars had a significantly higher CTR compared to the treatment without. As Google search results page is getting busier in general, and it’s harder and harder to rank #1, review stars is a great tactic to increase your CTR. They invite attention and clicks because they are a form of social proof, causing the user to focus on them more seriously for longer amounts of time.  ConversionXL Study

Kill them with kindness

Other times, it pays to get involved in the community where the negative posts are occurring 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 dissatisfied 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
  • Persistence
  • Person to person authenticity
  • Compassion
  • Patience

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