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Online Reputation Management

The internet is a great place to let people know who you are, what services you provide, your strengths and achievements. However, it can also be a double edged sword. Adverse comments, remarks or plain abuse can overwhelm search results that come up when people google your name and all your hard work and inventiveness can suffer badly.

Reputation is legally defined as a person or group’s credit, honor, character or good name. News travels incredibly fast in the online space. Any search engine will pick up on all mentions of the product or industry you specialize in. While Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Optimization (SMO) aim to optimize the gains you receive from having a presence on the web, Online Reputation Management (ORM) employs proactive strategies to make your genuine good reputation stand out among the pile of dirt that slanderers may try to throw at you.

So Why Do You Need to Manage Your Online Reputation Anyway?

Companies that choose not to use Search Engine Optimization or Social Media claim that they don’t have any problem making their presence in the online space felt. You may not be the target of spam, abuse and negative reviews now but this attitude tends to be short sighted. You may be making use of the internet but it is not working for you.

People today, can lead whole lives in the virtual space. Companies can build complete business models without having a true brick and mortar facility. There will always be a few dissatisfied clients or former employees who might want to strike back at you by publishing or posting damaging material. Legal recourse too, may fail to provide you with a solution. Google search’s page 1 listing will only give you just that – a listing. The program will not distinguish relevant search results from potentially hurtful ones.

The very characteristics that make the online space freely accessible, convenient to use and democratic can, if not handled with care, pulverize your sales and bottom line.

This is where an Online Reputation Manager steps in.

Their duties straddle Public Relations and technical expertise. Very often their strategies utilize pushing back negative results to pages further behind and promoting positive searches that highlight the business’ desired online image and goals.

What Does a Reputation Management Professional Do?

ORM specialists aim to give you the greatest control over how people perceive you and your brand when they type in a relevant keyword into a popular search engine such as Google.

ORM utilization has, of late, become an integral part of all modern businesses. These methods optimize your presence and image online as well as in the hearts and minds of your target customers. The first and subsequent impressions you make on your client can make or break relationships and adversely affect sales conversions. ORM combines both SEO and SMO strategies as well as some unique methods to handle bogus information about you with great effect.

Advantages of Using an ORM Professional

If you are a client that wishes to showcase a unique or premier product to a global audience then focus can get very intense and attention has to be managed very minutely to draw the client’s eye towards your best features.

You can make the online platform work for instead of leaving your reputation to the mercy of economic vagaries and blind luck. Letting fate control how much you earn is no longer a valid excuse.

ORM is a proactive tool rather than a passive one, examples of the latter being an SEO or SMO service.

Advanced ORM procedures require deep technical expertise. Some tools that are commonly used may be trademarked or patented. Unless you wish to develop your own ORM research lab it can be very resource consuming, even for a seasoned tech expert, to engage in managing search results.

Typical examples of businesses for whom ORM can play a pivotal role include: Local Businesses, New product launches, online sales, finance or investment services, fitness or nutrition services, brand awareness departments, market research firms, designers of mobile apps, gaming portals, monetization websites, start ups and those merely looking to identify opportunities in the virtual space.

How Do I Select a good ORM Professional?

While choosing a Reputation Management firm, one should first look at the reputation that this firm enjoys both online and in the market for this industry. Look for certifications such as Google Adwords, Google Analytics Google Search, Display, Shopping and Mobile Apps certifications as well those from Bing and You Tube. Some clients may choose to be open about their identity and testimonials. You can follow links to their sites and search their name on commonly used search engines.

A good ORM firm will have a mix of both marketing and technical professionals who have relevant experience in their fields. A cursory glance at their clientele will give you some idea of how successful the firm has been in the past. This is a very good indication of how they are going to do in the future.

Finally, your chosen ORM firm must share your vision for your brand and where you want it to be in the predictable future. Talk to their representative and get a feel of their depth of expertise and how they intend to address your specific concerns.

Some Tips for Preventing Online Reputation Damage

When you use social media to project your image and brand and let users reply without monitoring responses for relevance or abuse, you are exposing yourself to unnecessary controversy and libel.

Don’t allow users more access to your social media profile than is necessary to hear a fair comment or assessment of your product. Actively delete profiles who abuse their relationship with you online.

Also don’t post too many personal or social photos on your business website because you are exposing yourself to being identified in public and adverse events could harm your professional reputation across all platforms.