Online review management, or ORM, is becoming more and more critical to small business SEO. However, it is just as important to the day-to-day operations of every small business out there. They say that any publicity is good publicity. For Hollywood that might be true, but for small business – sometimes it is not. Think about the last time you shopped for a birthday gift or tried to decide on a restaurant to eat at. You probably went online and did some research. You checked out the reviews of the various vendors, looked at the number of stars on Yelp, asked your friends on FaceBook or compared products on Amazon. In each of these situations you relied on other people’s online opinions of the product or place. Millions of people all over the world leave their ratings and comments of places, products and businesses, creating free publicity all over the internet. This is exactly where the term ‘Online Reputation Management’ or ORM comes from.
Online Reputation Management is the process of handling all of that online information about your business and it is never, ever complete. ORM requires a well thought out plan based on your business model, goals and current situation. It starts with laying out what your current online publicity looks like. Is it good, bad or nonexistent? Then you must determine how your current situation is affecting your business. Is it helping and you want to expand or is it bad and running customers away? After a full assessment of your current details is complete, then you must look at how your clients or customers are using online reviews, ratings and social media to learn or talk about you. Finally, you create a game plan and determine the exact sites and conduits you want to use to get your message out – and these are just the planning steps. Beyond planning, there is the actual implementation and constant monitoring of your ever changing online appearance.
Online Reputation Management is the new Public Relations or Digital PR, and digital PR can be a nightmare if not handled or addressed correctly and timely. There are tricks, tips, shortcuts and must-dos that can save time and headaches. In coming posts we will try to outline as much as possible to help you understand and implement your own ORM road map for your small business. For more detailed information, feel free to contact us to see if we can help.