Why Businesses Need to Focus on Online Reputation Management (ORM)

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As the digital landscape continues to expand and evolve, it’s becoming more and more important for businesses of all shapes and sizes to devote more attention to online reputation management (ORM). And when we speak about ORM in this context, we’re referring to a healthy combination of search engine optimization (SEO), content creation, and online branding, all working together strategically and in harmony to bolster your brand’s online presence.

Here are 8 points to support this assertion:

(1) The growth of the Internet is staggering!  According to Google (via Search Engine Land) Google is aware of 130 trillion web pages as of 2016.  Wow! The competition for eyeballs and web traffic is growing by leaps and bounds.  Don’t let increased competition stand in your way. Fight the good fight, and get your target customers to visit the web pages that you’ve worked hard to create for them. And once you get them there, it’s critical that your brand and the content that represents it must resonate, deliver value, and lead to conversions.

(2) First page search results are critical to business performance. According to Social Media Today, the average traffic share generated by the sites listed on the first page of Google search results is 91.5%.  The average traffic share of the first organic search result is 32.5%.  These numbers speak volumes: Being at or near the top of page one is critical. If your business model can’t rely exclusively on word of mouth referrals, pay-per-click conversions, and other lead generating tactics, you need to devote time and energy to bolstering your organic results on page one of search.

(3) Chances are your competition is investing more in SEO. According to a recent survey done by Borrell Associates, SEO spending in the US was at $65 billion in 2016 – it’s supposed to reach $79+ billion in 2020. Notice a recurring theme here: Competition. Now is the time to get ahead of the curve, and follow the ORM model for success: A healthy dose of smart SEO tactics, premium content creation, and sharp, consistent brand messaging.  Get your site to rank on top of page one, and keep it there with smart, proactive strategy.

(4) Search engines are doing a good job! Think about it: There’s a reason that using search engines have become second nature for us.  Both the technology platform and formula for success are working. As a result, consumers trust what they find in searches. Per a recent study done by Clutch, 64% of consumers trust search engine results more than any other source of information, and 39% of purchasers are influenced by what they find in search. Doing well in search is playing into the hands of the trusted.

(5) Social Media merits daily attention.  The focus can’t be all on search: You simply can’t ignore the HUGE role social media plays in forming your online reputation. If you’re not paying dedicated, daily attention to it: Repairing, building, and protecting your turf on social, you’re not only leaving your brand in jeopardy, but you’re missing out on an opportunity to proactively share the value that your business has to offer, and interact directly with your customers. The worst thing that we hear from clients is that they don’t have enough time or resources to devote to social media. Our response is simple: You either have to make the time, or hire somebody that can help.

(6) A bad online reputation will impact your ability to hire top talent. According to a recent joint survey by Corporate Responsibility Magazine and Allegis Group Services, 69% of job seekers will reject an employment offer from a company with a bad online reputation.  Losing the battle to attract the right talent can be fatal.

Business leaders must factor in work environment into the overall ORM equation. If there is an absence of any listing or content that speaks to your workplace environment, use this as an opportunity to create the positive story right now, and stay ahead of the curve!

(7) Businesses are seeing positive results from ORM Investment:  Contrary to common perception, ORM is not only about putting out fires, repairing damage, and monitoring reviews. According to the aforementioned Clutch Survey, there’s a solid ROI story here:

  • 25% of businesses saw a growth in sales as a result of ORM investment
  • 23% saw a greater level of brand recognition
  • 18% said that ORM gave them the ability to stand out from the competition.

(8) A significant majority of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.   According to a recent Bright Local survey, 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.  It’s time to take inventory of your online review situation, and to set up a strategy for getting your best customers to write good reviews for you. You can read more about online review management in another one of our recent blog posts.

Admittedly it’s hard to write a post like this without coming across as completely self-serving. But the reality is simple: You create a business because you believe passionately in both the service that you can provide at present, and the potential to help others down the road. In the ORM space, we here at Repceptional have an opportunity to help our clients’ businesses grow today, and signs are pointing to ORM playing an even bigger role in securing their success in the future.

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