Back in the day, businesses had to rely on word-of-mouth and print advertising to get their service out there. If people frequented their services and liked them, businesses had to hope that they would tell other people about their positive experiences. Today, if you don’t like the chilli cheese fries at that new restaurant you tried, you can just fire up Zomato or Yelp and give them a piece of your mind. What’s more, other people who are looking at the business listing on these apps will see that you didn’t like those chilli cheese fries. As a restaurant, this kind of publicity is toxic and can scare a lot of potential customers away. So what are business to do?
Online Reputation Management doesn’t mean squashing or deleting every negative piece of information about your business. Quite the opposite in fact. How you deal with your staunchest critics is a huge testament to the authenticity and trustworthiness of your brand. As a brand, you have to be a part of the conversation surrounding your service and contribute in a real, related way so that you can manage any potential problems.
It is easy to assume that ORM only involves replying to user queries on Twitter and Facebook. Sure, social media is important, but it’s not the be-all, end-all of ORM. Building a good reputation begins by constructing a user experience that is fundamentally worthy of praise. Ergo, your website shouldn’t look like someone slapped together a bunch of templates from 2009 and copy-pasted something from Wikipedia on every page. In addition, if you’re a startup with a team of five, don’t make yourself look like you’ve got hundreds of employees and a flat screen TV in every cubicle of your gigantic office. Sounds obvious, right? Well, you’d be surprised.
Building a good reputation online is a constant, iterative process. You can’t just run a bot that auto-responds to user queries and hope to have people flock to your business. With that in mind, let’s delve deeper into the tricky waters of ORM and learn how to navigate them tactfully.