What Is Online Reputation Management And Why Does It Matter

The need to find a way out of the puddle created by bad reviews, comments, defamation, and rumors gave birth to Online Reputation Managers

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By Pooja Agarwal

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What's common between the Facebook pictures your friends tagged you in 2010 and the negative reviews left under your product on Amazon just yesterday? You really wish they didn't exist. The Internet is a place where the good and bad always do not appear in equal measures. Even though you can take down a lot of it, you always won't be able to tackle every bit of unfavorable information.

The need to find a way out of the puddle created by bad reviews, comments, news articles, defamation, and rumors gave birth to Online Reputation Managers — a blend of PR specialists and tech experts who scour the internet to bury everything bad and layer it with lots of good about you. By monitoring activity around a brand and controlling it by the quick response and remedial action, ORM highlights the favorable aspects.

ORM's Actual Role

If you're wondering what does an ORM specialist actually do, here's the answer in the words of Varush Chadha, Director, SEO Experts India: "An Online Reputation Manager works to safeguard a brand's reputation across the internet by controlling information that people can view, whether good or bad. It starts with responding to comments from dissatisfied users, ensuring that their problems are addressed at the earliest and trying to take down any information that is adversely biased towards a brand or a person."

On a more technical note, Monica Gupta, Director, Interactive Bees Pvt Ltd said, "We conduct a comprehensive research on keywords that populate negative search results for a brand or an individual. Once the research gets done, we suppress the influence of negative content on the brand's reputation by targeting those keywords in an ORM content strategy. We then publish positive content related to the brand optimizing for those keywords, and with time their ORM content outranks the negative content."

ORM is here to Reclaim your Rights

So does it mean that brands become total control freaks and scrub all traces of negative reviews or start to post something negative about a competitor?

"First, ORM isn't about others, it's about you. Either you do something good for yourself, or you do nothing at all. The focus here is never on erasing anything because nothing can ever be taken down from the internet once it's online. So the real task here is to reclaim your right to accentuate your qualities and achievements," said Chadha and added, "Just taking things off the first page of Google and all social media timelines work as good as erasing them."

Reputation is something we all care about, be it celebrities or politicians or job hunters. Over 70% of recruiters admit about searching job candidates' social media profiles before hiring them. It's a chance to put your best foot forward by showing what you really care about, giving a guarded insight to people who matter.

A Healthy Online Presence to Begin With

Maintaining a healthy online presence can begin even if you don't have a designated ORM expert. "Start by switching on Google Alerts for your business and yourself and think of ways in which you can contribute to your industry. Blogging, tweeting, or discussions on online forums, you choose. Make sure to be consistent and focused. Address consumers' grievances before they turn into news and keep them hooked by sharing helpful content to keep them positively engaged" said Nitin Bhatia, Managing Director of Meltwater India.

Sharing his own experiences in reputation management for the past eight years, Bhatia said, "We use ORM Softwares with smart crawlers and a sophisticated alert mechanism to ensure they listen to the internet diligently and identify threats and eliminating them before they go viral or beyond control. Brands can pick up an ORM activity at any time, however, to be effective they need to dig in retrospectively and check the comments/articles/complaints written about them since their existence on the internet. So the bigger challenge is to tackle the history, maintain the current and prevent the future."

Get a Professionally Written Bio

Delving deeper into expert insights, Chadha gave a tip. "One can start by getting a professionally written and edited bio for the brand/personality and make sure that it shows on the top of search results and on social media profiles. Maintaining consistency throughout platforms is the key to a consolidated brand identity."

A Note of Caution

The internet's a more difficult and darker place than most of us realize, with everyone from review sites to cyber extortionists cashing in on opportunities to charge a fee or extort money for taking down critical opinions to defamatory content. A person wanting to do any kind of damage online will find very few obstacles but as they say, "prevention is better than cure", therefore, a proactive digital strategy can be the cushion to minimize damage in case of future crisis.
Pooja Agarwal

Freelancer, Entrepreneur.com

Spends the day scouring updates on Technology, Social Media, and Startups for Entrepreneur India and reads books in the night. Also worked as Social Media Manager and Content Writer for over 25 brands across industries.

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