Public relations professionals have worked to protect their clients’ reputations for more than a century. The basic concepts of how to do this have remained relatively consistent, but the methods have changed over the years.
Case in point: Online and social media.
Back before the advent of the Internet and social media, a story critical of your company in the morning paper or on the local news might be relatively short-lived. But in today’s environment, that negative story lives on forever online. Add in online reviews, social media sites, and digital forums — and your reputation can now really take a substantial hit.
In this day and age, you need a good online reputation management (ORM) strategy.
It’s important to remember that the purpose of ORM strategy isn’t just about projecting a positive image for your company, it’s also about understanding the negative things being said about your company so you can address issues quickly.
Make no mistake: Customers are in control these days. With a smartphone or a laptop, they can share information critical about your business with just a few clicks and keystrokes. One of the best ORM practices you can adopt is to respond to every online review. If someone gives you a poor review, apologize to the customer and then find out what went wrong and how you can fix it. Customers will appreciate a response because it shows you care about their opinion. If you treat every online reviewer with respect, you can retain more customers, and strengthen your reputation with potential customers.
This same principle applies to bad reports on news or blog sites. If you don’t respond or participate in the conversation, your side will never be presented. You should take a proactive approach, and address the issues that are raised. In addition, you should always be creating new, compelling content that promotes your business. This content can be blog posts, new sections to your website, social media posts, videos, etc.
Understanding all of this is easy, but sticking to it is hard. When you’re faced with direct criticism of your company, it’s tempting to ignore it. But it’s important to engage in the conversation – even when it’s difficult – to protect your long-term reputation.
For more information on ORM strategies and concepts, talk to us.