Online Reputation Management: Why You Should Use It and How to Get Started
In today's connected world, a brand's voice is no longer solely defined by the brand, but also by public feedback — largely online. So how you manage your company's online reputation matters. It's about promoting and protecting your brand so it can be discovered, followed, recommended and even defended in a predominantly digital marketplace. And it's not as easy as simply running your own website or social media pages. You have to influence and fact check what everyone else says about your company. Doing online reputation management right is something companies should prioritize.
Digital marketing is not just trendy; it's essential.
Let's start with the facts. According to Pew Research, about 70% of Americans use social media. Let's not forget that social media is deeply embedded in the customer journey, especially for discovery and research. But social media isn't limited to just Facebook or Instagram — according to Datareportal typical social media users are members of more than eight different platforms.
Throw in the fact that 2020 has been an epically unusual year. With the pandemic, Black Lives Matter and the recent U.S. election, it's no surprise that Datareportal found that as of January 2021, the annual growth in social media users was over 13%. These staggering figures reemphasize what we know is true — today's consumer experience is influenced and often defined by what’s online.
Managing your business's online reputation is serious business...and it never ends.
Marketers know that advertising online is one of the fastest and most effective ways to reach target audiences. But what about monitoring and ensuring all digital content about your brand — including user-generated content — is accurate and appropriate? That's why online reputation management is so important. In fact, according to Weber Shandwick data ( via PR Newswire), executives believe their companies' reputation accounts for 63% of their market value on average.
Online reputation management includes having accurate business listings and relevant advertisements, staying on top of engagement with consumers on your company's marketplace and social channels, understanding their pain points and responding to reviews and surveys. Particularly for large companies, this can mean processing large volumes of data quickly, accurately and economically, including consumer reviews, surveys and social posts across multiple online points of presence, while continually making sure your content is professional, transparent, relatable and fresh.
Another area to consider is content moderation. At Alorica, we deploy content moderation experts to monitor digital content to protect clients and their customers from online abuse. This includes identifying fraudsters, fake news, illegal content, data privacy violations, harassment, hate speech and more, all of which can damage a company's reputation. It's important to monitor content to ensure the platforms you use to connect with consumers are safe and aligned to your brand. As people all around the world continue to talk about brands and their products, companies have a lot at stake reputationally and financially if they fail to make good decisions in both online reputation management and content moderation.
A combination of humans and bots can help protect your business.
As passionate consumers take to the internet to share opinions, unfortunately, brand bashing, misleading information and flat-out inaccuracies about your products will get out there. Such content erodes trust and confidence in brands. It can also put individuals and online communities at risk.
So, what can you do to counter this digital threat? You can deploy a digitally-enabled human shield that allows you to stay aware and help you control your brand's narrative on the worldwide web.
As companies rely more on online communities to deliver customer experiences (CX), ensuring a safe environment for people to interact in is paramount. But when you're regulating a virtual landscape, the importance of the human element cannot be overemphasized. While you can use AI and automation to make broad sweeps and flag obvious offenses, the subtleties of some content and context can only be detected by a well-trained team.
If your business is looking to manage and monitor online content about your brand in house, it's critical that you hire the most fit candidates up front for this type of specialized work. Deploy recruiting assessments and realistic job previews that help identify the right people — psychologically, culturally and behaviorally. Look for those with high attention to detail, resiliency, stress tolerance and emotional intelligence. Also, make sure to provide ample hands-on practice and simulations for moderating a variety of policies and topics, and change them up frequently. Introduce wellness and coping techniques in resiliency training and encourage group conversations about understanding the importance of a content moderator’s role.
Given the complexity of work and changing regulatory requirements, I believe the need for expert content monitoring and moderating is significantly increasing. Meanwhile, with machine learning, AI, statistical analysis and predictive modeling, companies are now able to increase and improve their visibility, engagement and CX online.
For companies that opt to go with an online reputation management and/or content moderation partner, look for scalability, speed and skill — and make sure you choose someone who understands your particular market and consumer profile well. Find a partner that has expertise in hiring and training a highly qualified and specialized workforce. Then deploy the right kind of safety protocols to protect the people doing this work and the content itself.
It's important to stay plugged in, protected and popular.
The world is more connected than ever, but our online communities struggle with bad actors who can sully the reputation of well-respected brands with misinformation. Like it or not, social media is the media, and the internet is the marketplace. So, it's our responsibility as brand ambassadors to keep the facts straight and our reputations going strong...because, you know, the internet never sleeps.