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How Online Reputation Management Works and The 5 Best Tips for It

protecting online reputation

Online reputation management is among the most important things any business owner can learn. But what is online reputation management?

At its simplest, ORM or online reputation management is the process of structuring (which includes building and protecting) a brand’s reputation online, thereby influencing customers’ perceptions of it.

It’s easy to see why ORM is important. So many people get their information about the world from the Web that a bad online reputation can easily harm a company.

Take negative reviews online, for instance. If there are enough of them, a prospective customer looking up the company could be dissuaded from trying its products or services.

This is where you see the benefits of online reputation management. It tries to address the sources of a brand’s negative reputation and thus do damage control before the problem gets worse.

There are many techniques that fall under ORM. Below, we’ll go over 5 of the most effective tips for it. In the process, you should learn how to do online reputation marketing effectively.

1. Leverage existing materials for ORM

building blocks stacking

In all marketing, there are three main building materials: earned, paid, and owned content.

Each of these components helps shape an organisation’s reputation. This is typically done with a combination of PR, SEO, and of course, ORM.

Now, it’s easy to start thinking that ORM is something you generally do on “owned” channels (your website, your blog, your social media, etc.).

But you can actually do some form of it with both “paid” and “earned” content too.

For instance, third-party reviews that take place off your “owned” channels technically belong to the “earned” content category.

You can still perform ORM with them, however, by responding to the reviews on the platform where they were posted.

In the same vein, “paid” content like ads can become part of an ORM strategy.

For example, one of the keys to maintaining a strong reputation online is to ensure that your own content is most prominent when people search for your brand.

Using search ads on Google can help you ensure that, as it means that the top entry (usually an ad) on a search results page for your brand will belong to you.

If the top organic (non-ad) entry on that same page also belongs to you, you’ve effectively beaten everything else to the punch in the conversation about your brand for a consumer still discovering it!

2. Be careful what you publish

publishing a content

Digital footprints are forever. As even Beyonce found out, no one is immune to the Streisand Effect on the World Wide Web.

Put simply, the Streisand Effect means that efforts to delete, suppress, or hide information online are often futile as well as likely to backfire. It's a breeze for others to copy, save, and forward information now.

So, a lot of what you do and say online may well live on even after you delete it.

As such, it would be wise to do a careful review of all content before it goes live. Before publishing, check the content for sensitive or controversial material.

This is because some of it may damage your brand's reputation or draw criticism once others see it. By the time that happens, the damage will be done, even if you can potentially do further ORM to address the problem.

To that end, refrain from posting inappropriate or sexually provocative images and comments. Be wary of stating anything that may be read as politically problematic or tone-deaf too.

It’s best to through a few rounds of screening and approval. Get multiple confirmations and assurances from screeners.

This way, you can be certain that the only thing you display to customers online is what you actually want them to see of your brand.

3. Track and monitor your brand closely

keeping on track

This step is absolutely necessary. Regularly check your various social media channels and other sources of info online to track what is being said about your brand.

A company must keep an eye on all the materials, advertisements, and websites that are related to its own. Social media is particularly important – think Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and Google.

You want to pay close attention because one bad review can prevent hundreds or thousands of people from buying your product or services if it gets enough traction.

So, set up alerts on Google or software like Hootsuite and Brand24. These notify you of brand mentions so you can check out what people are saying about your brand online.

Among other things, this means you can react quickly if a negative testimonial gets published… which brings us to the next tip.

4. Let your voice be heard


Your business may suffer heavy losses if a negative content or a bad customer experience goes viral. Bad publicity can do a lot to bring down a brand.

So, seize every chance to turn bad publicity around. Do it as soon as you notice something that could become a problem, e.g. respond even before a customer ends up writing a bad review.

You see, a lot of dissatisfied customers start out by seeking a company’s support or help. They don’t always leap to leaving bad reviews or putting the brand on blast in social media.

So, do what you can to help them before they’re dissatisfied enough to ruin your reputation. This is an absolute must if you don’t want other customers concluding that you will disappoint them in a similar way.

Always respond to feedback and concerns immediately. Provide service recovery if necessary.

Make your voice heard in a way that clarifies to customers that your goal is to ensure they leave satisfied. Do your best at all times to resolve any complaint or negative feedback.

You can do it privately or publicly, based on the situation. If the complaint has already gone viral, you can post it on your social media to apologise and explain the situation as well as remedies you’re proposing.

Resolving such matters amicably will help boost consumer confidence in your brand. They will see it as one that cares about customers, which will improve its credibility and reputation.

5. Get active on social media

phone with like, heart, and favorite

As implied by the “Online” part of ORM, having a strong online presence is crucial. Fortunately, social media can do a lot to get you started.

If you have good social media presence, people can quickly search for your businesses online. This serves as social evidence of a business’s existence, which helps its credibility and thus, online reputation.

Related to that, remember our previous tip about letting your voice be heard. Engage with your loyal consumers on social media because it can have amazing benefits for ORM.

Again, it makes you look dynamic, fluid, and active. It tells people that you’re willing to meet them on their level and that you care about the people who buy your products or services.

Social media is actually excellent for this, which is why so many companies have support and chat agents on their social media accounts. It reduces the communication gap between the buyer and the seller, making it possible for customers to get in touch with brands easily.

For instance, the IG DM function makes it easier for customers to contact businesses and ensures that their issues or inquiries are addressed promptly.

This applies to a lot of other platforms, which can also be used for private messages that see to your ORM.

Get started on your online reputation management

ORM is clearly something most business owners should think about once they go online. It’s hard to control what others say about a brand, but companies can still do a lot to prevent negative publicity from spiralling out of control.

If you’re uncertain how you should begin your own online reputation management, we can help. We’ve handled various campaigns that helped our clients with their images online and can do the same for your brand.

Simply contact us for a chat for your digital marketing needs and we can talk about what may work best for you.


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