As more individuals use social media and post online reviews, online reputation management
is necessary to the success of a business.
Corporate America has embraced media monitoring. With the growing popularity of social media, third-party reviews websites, blogs, and other digital platforms, maintaining a solid online reputation is necessary for businesses. Media monitoring provides public feedback on the company, its brand, products, and customers and can help head off any public relations crisis. This could potentially save a company’s reputation online and in the public eye.
Clutch, a third-party reviews website for B2B agencies, surveyed 224 digital marketers above the age of 18 and located in the United States. Survey respondents must be employed by a company of more than 100 employees, responsible for day-to-day digital marketing activities, and allocate time and financial resources to online reputation management.
So what can we learn from this survey?
1. Digital Marketers Recognize Online Reputation Management as Necessary to Their Business
54% of digital marketers consider ORM “very necessary” to their company’s success. But according to Ryan Goff, chief marketing officer and social media marketing director at MGH, Inc., an integrated marketing communications agency in Maryland, 100% of companies should dedicate their attention to ORM,. “I was shocked to see that only 54% of executives thought that online reputation management was a necessary function of their business,” said Goff. “As someone who’s played in this space for 11 years, I see it as beyond very necessary. I see it as absolutely critical.”
Online reputation management is critical for businesses to maintain a positive brand identity in the eyes of consumers. As more digital marketers understand the value of ORM in growing their business, they choose to devote more time and energy toward monitoring their brand online.
2. Businesses Monitor Their Online Reputation Frequently
More than 40% of digital marketers monitor their companies’ brand daily, while 21% monitor their online reputation every hour. Because online content circulates rapidly, how people perceive brands can change within seconds. For this reason, businesses always should track what’s being said about them online.
A single negative media mention can damage how people perceive their company. Simon Wadsworth, managing partner at Igniyte, an online reputation management agency in the UK, points to negative media content as a reason why brands lose potential customers. “When people search for brands online, they tend to search for stamps of credibility,” said Wadsworth. “If they find anything negative, that could end up being a significant amount of leads that the business won’t get from people who are put off from using the service.”
By frequently monitoring media mentions, companies can avoid the potential loss of a significant amount of new business leads.
3. Businesses Consider Social Media Most Important Platform for Online Reputation Management
Although there is a plethora of outlets that businesses must be aware of when monitoring their brand online, 46% view social media as the most important platform for monitoring online reputation. Social media gives individuals free-reign to post about their experiences and opinions and this freedom limits the control companies have over their brand reputation.
“You can do everything in your power to boost your reputation on standard search engines like Google or Yahoo by building domain names and creating content. Social media, however, is uncontrollable,” said Juda Engelmayer, president and partner of HeraldPR, a full-service public relations and communications agency in New York. “People can tweet whatever they want, or they can go to Yelp or Facebook to post about a bad experience. This can have a huge effect on search engines.”
However, the rise of social media also presents some benefits for businesses. Social media gives companies the opportunity to converse firsthand with customers, according to Shannon Wilkinson, CEO at Reputation Communications, a reputation management agency in New York. “Social media enables companies to participate in conversations about their products, services, and industries. It also enables them to monitor those conversations to ensure they can be a part of them,” Wilkinson said.
With social media, businesses are able to react and respond quickly to consumers’ inquiries or comments, enabling them to take part in a conversation that might not be available on a blog or reviews website.
- Businesses Must Devote Resources to Online Reputation Management
To mitigate the threat of damaging their brand reputation, businesses must devote resources to ORM as a part of their digital marketing strategy.
- In-house resources are a preferred option for monitoring online reputation because employees are familiar with their company and can devote time to spreading a positive online brand image at a lower cost to the business.
- Online reviews sites also are an important resource to collect positive feedback from users who have experienced their product or services. Half of the businesses surveyed (50%) rely on third-party, online reviews sites to monitor their brand reputation.
- Social listening tools, many of which are free, are another way for businesses to monitor their online brand reputation. Tools such as Google Alerts, Reputology, and Yextcan be set up easily and at no cost to businesses that simply are looking for a tool that will notify them when their brand is featured negatively online.
- Businesses derive the most value from allocating resources to ORM when they work with a professional agency, according to Andy Beal, the “Original Online Reputation Expert” at Reputation Refinery, a boutique online reputation management firm in North Carolina. “It comes down to expertise. External agencies are experts in knowing where to look, helping you understand who your influencers are, which channels to focus on, what keywords to monitor, and what types of sentiment to look for,” Beal said.
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