Are you still treating your online reputation as an afterthought? Here are 13 reasons why it’s time to seriously consider an online reputation manager.
Do you want to make headlines?
That’s great! The media loves a PR disaster!
But if it’s good publicity you’re after, it’s time to get serious. Leaving your company’s online reputation to chance is asking for trouble.
That’s where the online reputation manager comes in.
Still not convinced? Below, we’ll be looking at 13 reasons why you need an ORM.
Help Your Customers Understand You
Marketplaces are crowded with products now. In a busy online world, you only really have a few seconds to establish your credibility with potential customers. Especially if your product is new or innovative, you might struggle to be understood.
Even with a mainstream product, you want your customers to understand what makes you different to the competition.
An online reputation manager can ensure that your unique sales pitch is being heard. By carefully managing the communication you send out, they’ll ensure your target audience understands what they do. They can also combine your USP with a suitable call to action for the one-two punch.
An ORM is also there to answer questions from your customers. Even better, these questions can be answered in a public forum which other potential customers can then read.
Build Credibility and Trust
Psychologically speaking, people would rather hear a recommendation from a person than from a faceless block of text.
By showing a public human face for your company, an online reputation manager can increase trust and credibility in your brand. Think of it this way: you’re faced with two identical companies. One has an approachable name and face to go with its brand. The other is a faceless organization.
Which of these two do you want to do business with?
Particularly online, this added credibility is a huge advantage. There are plenty of sites online with poor reputations or which outright trick customers. Online shoppers tend to be a wary bunch as a result.
Having this trust allows you to draw in customers that might otherwise be wary of your brand, especially if you’re not well known yet.
Give Your Company a Public Face
We’re in an age where people are getting sick of robots, canned responses, and call centers. An online reputation manager gives your company a public face that customers can engage with.
A customer with a query or problem can approach your ORM to resolve their issue. This is a huge improvement on losing them to frustration.
This kind of public approach humanizes a company. People automatically prefer to engage with humans over machines, so it gives your company a leg-up on your faceless competition.
The reputation of a humanized company also spreads well through word of mouth. In our fast-paced world, it’s common to hear only negative feedback – happy customers often don’t have much to say! But customers are a lot quicker to pass on positive stories that involve good service and a human touch, because they’re so different from the impersonal norm!
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Why would you want your potential customers to see anything other than your best?
An online reputation manager can control the way your customers see and engage with your business. They can choose to highlight all the positives of the experience. By engaging with the customer as a trusted representative of the company, they can make the company look approachable.
This goes double for sales and other promotions. Your ORM can be sure they’re communicated clearly, efficiently, and on the best channels.
The hidden benefit is how organized this makes your company look. Customers will get a subconscious sense that your company is put together well. This feeds right back into trust and credibility. A company that has itself sorted is a company which can be trusted to do its job.
Increase Customer Satisfaction (And Your Prices!)
Think of an ORM as a first responder to customer dissatisfaction. They can be ‘on the scene’ to mediate and remedy any issues your customer may encounter. This is absolutely key in gathering good feedback.
The majority of customers understand that problems occur – but what they will judge a company by is how they deal with these problems.
An ORM can be the difference between flipping a customer to a positive reviewer and leaving a customer with a complaint that others will soon see.
But carefully protecting your reputation in this way has another advantage. In most markets, you’re at risk of being lowballed by competitors. Good reviews give you a genuine bargaining chip when it comes to setting your prices. With good reviews, customers know they may be paying extra, but they’re paying it for quality.
Spot Trends Early
Even if your company is present on social media, it’s not the same as having someone out there in the field.
An ORM can keep their ear to the ground to gather the latest trends in your industry. It’s their job to pay attention to your customer base, and doing so will clue you in. They can warn you of changing tastes, demand for a product, and other trends you can make huge gains on with the right timing.
You can also be aware of sea changes in your industry. If a huge competitor is gaining traction or a new piece of technology is about to change the game, you’ll be one of the first to know.
Without an ORM, you might only find out about it when the effects are already in play. By that time, you won’t even have created a strategy, let alone taken steps toward deploying it.
Having an online reputation manager in the thick of things can be a great way to gain insights from the online community.
In a modern PR world, you can’t afford to ignore – or badly handle – what people are saying about you. But before you can create a strategy, you need to know what people are saying about you in the first place.
An online reputation manager spends time in the same communities as your customers. They’ll see what your customers are saying about you, giving you a chance to come up with the right response.
Even better, you’ll also see what your customers are saying about your competitors. This is the kind of insight you can use to target your business right at the weaknesses of your competitors. That means you can pick up customers who haven’t found satisfaction elsewhere.
Eventually, you’ll even benefit from insights offered directly to you. With a strong enough reputation, your customers will be more than happy to offer feedback on your chosen niche directly to you. They’ll offer suggestions and point out what competitors are getting wrong – all great opportunities for you to capitalize on.
Make the Most of Social Media
There’s no overstating the power of social media right now.
Your social media presence could be the biggest difference between pulling ahead of your competitors or falling behind forever. And we don’t mean passive social media, here.
Social media isn’t a web page. It needs active, constant engagement to be effective. If your Facebook is a static page about your company, you’re making a huge mistake.
An online reputation manager can turn this around. They can transform passive social media into an active tool to engage with the customer base. Customers expect more transparency and more accessibility than ever. ORM-controlled social media is the way to do that.
If attempts by your customers to reach out are met with silence, you can expect silence to be your company’s only reputation.
Build a Bigger SEO Presence
The SEO presence of your company is bolstered through social media.
But if your social media is a passive system, then you’re wasting its potential. Facebook should be more than just an extension of your website. By engaging with customers on social media, you’re boosting the SEO profile of your entire brand.
Once again, this could be the difference maker in a crowded industry. Better SEO means more visibility. In turn, more visibility means better SEO. You have every chance to snowball into a huge brand through effective use of SEO.
Your SEO should be an all-encompassing strategy that does everything it can to boost the business. By sacrificing the extra potential of an ORM, you’re hamstringing yourself. In a competitive world, it’s hard to justify missing out on such a big cornerstone of effective SEO.
Keep Your Company on Message
A company is always made up of individuals. So, it can be tough to keep on one consistent message.
All the training and company handbooks in the world won’t stop an occasional conflicted message creeping through. This is where an ORM comes in. They can act as a kind of filter, ensuring public messages match the tone and content you want to represent your company.
If the message does break down for any reason, your online reputation manager can also be there to smooth over the cracks and resolve any conflict.
This is huge when it comes to getting a leg up on your competition. If you can keep your company on-message, you have an advantage over your competitors. Without an online reputation manager, it’s easy for a message to be obscured by the general hubbub of your marketing and off-the-cuff customer responses.
This is also a case where prevention is better than the cure. Trying to iron out your company’s message after the fact will be messy. You might never manage to straighten it out in the minds of your customers. Invest early and save yourself a headache later.
Handle PR Disasters Early
An active online reputation manager is a great way to handle PR issues before they become major disasters.
It can take as little as one or two major incidents for a company’s reputation to be severely damaged. It’s your ORM’s job to work inside the larger community, so they can see these issues as they arise.
Handling PR incidents early can be the difference between a solid company reputation and becoming a headline. The idea that all publicity is good publicity died with the rise of the internet.
Conversely, your company can gain a lot of respect from a well-handled PR issue. The gains from an online reputation manager working to manage an incident can outweigh the initial problem.
Know When and How to Make a Statement
If the worst should happen and a PR disaster spins out of control, your ORM can help.
With their intimate knowledge of your brand and customer base, an online reputation manager can advise whether a statement should be issued and how it should be worded. They can work closely with your PR team to smooth over cracks in your company’s reputation.
There are also positive scenarios where the same applies. If customers are crying out for something, or a major competitor has let down the community in a major way, you can be there to make a statement. Taking this kind of initiative can show solidarity with your customer base.
Dialogue Is the Future of the Internet
This point relates to the bigger picture, but it’s no less important.
As the huge social movements sweeping Twitter and Facebook have made clear, the future of the internet is based on dialogue. Plenty of companies have had their reputations damaged or improved by the way they handle customer dialogue.
Social media gives customers a platform like never before. Now they’re not limited to telling friends and family about their experiences.
By hiring an ORM, you’re not just securing the present of your company, but the future, too. Without a way of handling this dialogue, you’re at the mercy of public opinion – which can undergo sweeping changes from just one mistake.
It’s Time to Employ an Online Reputation Manager
As you can tell, the case for working with an online reputation manager is almost ironclad. If you want your company to have consumer goodwill on its side, you need an ORM. If you want to use the latest marketing techniques, you need an ORM. So, get looking for one!
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