How to Get Started With Online Reputation Management

Reputation Staff Writer


There’s no getting around it: Managing your online reputation is critical to a successful marketing strategy, as well as to the health and continued growth of your business.

According to recent research, 87 percent of Americans say they trust online reviews to help them choose which local businesses or services will receive their hard-earned dollars1. What’s more, eCommerce agency Corra found 88 percent of consumers have avoided a company because of a bad review2.

As consumers increasingly rely on online reviews, businesses that leave their online reputation to chance are at a severe disadvantage versus those with solid Online Reputation Management (ORM) programs in place. But where do you start?

What You’ll Learn in This Guide

Online Reputation Management is a discipline that you can take on easily — step by step. This guide will take you through the basics of launching an ORM program in your organization.

Related: How to Collaborate Across Teams to Scale Online Reputation Management

You’ll learn about:

1 Findlaw
2 Corra

Online Reviews Are Important. Now What?

First, Define Your Goals

Your goals for your ORM program will depend on the current state of your online reputation. For example, if you have very few or no online reviews, either because your organization is new or you haven’t been requesting reviews, you’ll need to build review volume. Or, if you have hundreds or thousands of locations, you may decide to start auditing your business listings to make sure customers can find you.

Here are some questions to ask as you define your goals for improving your online reputation:

  1. Is the business receiving a healthy volume of online reviews? Are they stale or fresh?
  2. What is the average star rating for the overall business? For individual locations?
  3. How do we raise visibility in local search to attract customers?
  4. How do we raise brand awareness at the local level?
  5. Are all business listings associated with my organization up to date and accurate?
  6. Do we actively capture feedback from customers through online reviews and surveys? How can we capture and apply that feedback to optimize the customer experience?
  7. Are we actively engaging buyers to build community on social media? What sites are our customers using, and are we posting regularly to those sites?
  8. Do I need help synthesizing and reporting on the data and text from reviews and comments?
  9. Would it make sense to outsource this, or can we manage it in-house?

Thinking through these questions will help you focus your efforts on the areas that yield maximum return.

Related: Online Reputation Management & Your Budget: Make Sure Your Marketing Spend Pays Off

An ORM platform vendor can help you determine the current state of your online reputation through audits and in-depth analysis, to help you decide where to focus your efforts.

Next, Strategize

Now that you know your goals, it’s time to decide how to achieve them. Here’s a quick summary of key areas to focus on:

Depending on your needs and budget, you may decide to start with one, several, or all of these initiatives. Serious ORM platforms offer a modular approach that lets you start with what’s most critical, then build out your strategy over time.

Related: Why NPS No Longer Provides a Complete Picture of Customer Experience

1 Gartner

Finally, Get Everyone Onboard with ORM

Effective ORM is a cross-functional endeavor. To get rolling, executive buy-in, as well as support for all the teams involved, will be essential for success.

Establish Key Partnerships

Setting up key internal partnerships helps ORM implementation go smoothly. What partnerships you establish will depend on what aspects of Online Reputation Management you start with. Here are some that may be essential:

Defining Roles and Responsibilities

Once you have identified and established key partnerships, determine the following:

Related: The Complete Guide to Reputation Score and Online Reputation Management

Need Help? Managed Services May Be the Answer

If you have a small team or one that’s really busy, you can outsource the ORM work to a provider. Doing so can save you time and headaches, while providing peace of mind that your reputation is in capable hands.

Choosing the Right ORM Platform: What to Look For

Not all ORM solutions are equal. To maximize your investment, you should qualify your options carefully and consider the following attributes:

If you would like to explore Reputation’s Online Reputation Management platform, contact us. We’ll be happy to give you a demo.

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