What is ORM? What & Why Do I Need to Know?

ORM stands for ‘Online Reputation Management’. Without teaching you to suck eggs; it’s how brands and businesses monitor, influence and respond to any opinions expressed, usually by customers, on various online mediums, such as review sites, forums, social media and even blog posts.

It something most businesses do without realising, some do it amazingly well and others… not so much! Businesses can literally be made or ‘thrown to the lions’ on how they shape up online.

In this instant access, smartphone, social media age, the way in which reputation can spread, for better or for worse – the old fashioned ‘word of mouth’ – has completely changed!

The Why Hasn’t Changed… it’s HOW. (Let’s Get Social!)

The basic goals of ORM don’t differ that much from the pre-internet days of reputation management, ‘word of mouth’, customer relations and just staying abreast of public opinion. It’s a case of how customers/clients choose to interact and the implications that has on a business.

Nowadays the first port of call for complaints, raising grievances, making suggestions and sometimes even praising a business is invariably Social Media – primarily Facebook and Twitter.

As shopping habits continually adapt and evolve, it can become a real measure of how businesses reply and interact with their customers on various social media sites.

The fact that some businesses (still) don’t have a social feed or generally don’t populate or post to it, can be just as hampering.

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Ten years ago – this woman may well have made an enquiry via an email, telephone call or gone into a store. Now customers can make enquiries on the go. Whilst she is being vague – a little time responding has resulted in a more positive response…

Taking care of these comments in a timely and professional manner is becoming more and more paramount to your business. It can be the difference between making that large booking/purchase or not. An ever increasing influx of new or potential customers rely on the feedback or reviews of their peers.

I.e. You’re out and about and have a pang for a coffee… you pull out your smartphone and look at coffee shops in the surrounding area.

– ‘Java The Hut’ Coffee Shop has 5 star rating based on 100 reviews.
– ‘The Daily Grind’ has an average of 2 star review based on 100 reviews.

It’s a no brainer where you go for that caffeine hit.
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What Else NOT To Do.

Interacting with customers is great, whether they’re singing your praises or even ‘hatin’ on you’. However, be vigilant – there are many things to consider when managing a corporate Social feed.

Namely, avoiding:

  • Arguing with or insulting customers – it’s probably best to take any differences of opinion offline.
  • Being way too product or business centric… or acting ‘too corporate’.
  • Using an inappropriate “hashtag” or commenting on unconnected subject or news. e.g. speaking about politics when you’re a bakery.
  • Not being serious at the right times or making light of a negative situation. (see below example)

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In the midst of political upheaval/protests in Egypt circa 2011, clothing brand Kenneth Cole tweeted this. An apology and eventually a deletion of the tweet, unsurprisingly, swiftly followed.

Whilst you must heed these things, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be social! Comment or share things to break up your business focus or to stir up conversations – Social can be a great ‘soft selling tool – but do remember to be engaging and friendly.

Pro tip: Remember to always do your research too:

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Written by Tony Conte

Founder and Owner of Brave Agency, an Integrated Agency transforming businesses through design, digital and marketing, helping you, our clients to get results by applying the right strategy.

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