I’m frankly stunned that Wikipedia is out of date with Online Reputation Management.

You need to know what it really means because it relates to your brand’s potential well-being every hour of every day.

Online Reputation Management (ORM) used to be a merely close cousin to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In English, it basically equates to checking up on Google search results for a particular brand name or keyword(s) to see if there are any negative reviews. If there are, it amounts to creating more positive content in an effort to choke out the bad review or post, and even asking the appropriate webmaster to remove the offending content.

Check out Nestle's Facebook Page Fracas

Once upon a time online (before social media networks became mainstream) tracking links and performing damage control made more sense. These days, however, a major brand’s image can be brought down in a matter of hours, (yes, hours!) and take months, if not years to recover from the savagery if not handled wisely and effectively.

Effective Online Reputation Management

means getting involved with social networks, monitoring there (rather than depending on Google Alerts), and responding as quickly as possible in the event of great breaking news or crisis.

These days your Online Reputation Management is very different!

For one thing, people do most of their socializing (and talking about brands) on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Tumblr, to name a few frontrunners. Your best bet is to be positive and proactive. Start by:

  1. Claiming your brand on these networks.
  2. Posting quality information and/or entertaining content there
  3. Monitoring these networks
  4. Responding warmly to visitors
  5. Repeating steps 2-4 on a regular basis.

It’s that simple unless there’s a crisis.

The biggest difference between Wikipedia’s definition of ORM and mine is that within just a few hours a major brand can suffer a devastating image setback if they don’t respond or, worse yet, respond poorly to the challenge. See “Lady Chinky Eyes” for a great example of what NOT to do (as an employee) and what TO do as a smart brand leader.
As you and I move forward, the strongest brands will be those who listen to what people are saying about their brand and related issues and who respond with a message that shows they’ve been listening, they understand the issue, and they go so far as to validate the commenter’s view. People want to be heard and understood online more than ever. Smart brands recognize this and make room for it in their approach to Online Reputation Management.Ford Model T
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