What Is Online Reputation Management?

Whether you are a person, a company, or a business, chances are that you’ve done online reputation management in some form or another. Ever been scrolling idly on Facebook when you discovered that you had been tagged in a photo in which you look just awful? If you say yes to that question, you’ve already got a working knowledge of what online reputation management entails.

Online reputation management is the process by which public opinion or perception of an individual, company, or organization is shifted or changed. This is done by changing the online information that exists about them. It’s a hugely beneficial process to any company that embarks upon this process. It can mean the difference between a blown out scandal like Jared’s going to jail for the Subway franchise (and that being completely associated with the company) and a relatively reined in public relations nightmare (such as with Taco Bell’s beef scandal where their beef was revealed to be only one third real beef).

Online reputation management deals in the realm of social media, facts, and search queries. Social media is a huge component of how companies are received these days, as is search engine results. Using social media analysis and other techniques, O.R.M. companies can look at what is going on with a company and then change the conversation, or plan a new campaign that does damage control.

Campaigns in particular are a specialty of many companies, conducted in order to achieve the goal of either making negative opinions less visible or bumping up how visible positive opinions are. This was the goal of Taylor Swift’s team when fans of Adele around the world celebrated Adele’s single “Hello” hitting number one, bumping Taylor Swift. They took down posts on Tumblr and other sites mocking Taylor Swift and even just celebrating Adele. Swift’s team orchestrated it beautifully by not only cutting back on the negative attention but also creating much more positive content in order to change the focus— but also make the negative perception of Taylor being ‘replaced’ far less visible.

Another O.R.M. tactic is to join in on comment threads where someone or a company is being shown in a negative light. The team counters with positive comments in an attempt to sway public opinion. Since a negative public opinion can sway perception of an individual, issue, or company, managing these opinions is effectively not only protecting the company but protecting profits as well. The activity isn’t just limited to comment sections; it applies to forums, sites with reviews, blogs, opinion sites, social media, S.E.O. and press releases. After all, reputation is just a simple word that means what people think of you. It’s the thing that determines positive or negative perception and can be very powerful in terms of revenue.

Whether Google or Twitter, Tumblr or an online review site, there are many ways to try and take back your online reputation or make it even more sterling. Search optimization and spreading positive content are two very popular ways to manage reputation. Strategies can also include positive mentions of businesses in sites that are highly ranked on web engine searches, submitting libel legal documents, flagging comments, using spam bots, writing positive reviews, responding to criticism and more. Online reputation management is all about putting a positive spin out there and minimizing the negative. Thousands of companies are doing it– are you?