What is ORM and Do I Need It?

ORM is Online Reputation Management, and it marks the difference between a company producing a really cool, intelligent social account, and creating a laughingstock of itself. Word of mouth marketing and customer relations have changed almost beyond recognition since social networks like Twitter and Facebook came along. Ask yourself, if you were going to complain about or to a company, where would you go first? Probably Facebook or Twitter, right? Well, that’s what the majority of people do these days, and it’s why businesses need to practice ORM.

What In The World Is ORM?

ORM, or Online Reputation Management, is a fancy way of saying “not making a fool of your company on social media”. The basic idea of ORM is to make sure that your business always looks as best as possible to the public. Is someone complaining about you? Don’t start a public argument with them like you’re Kanye West. Instead, reply to them publicly to say that you will contact them in private. Divert negative conversations away from public view. Actions like this will both help verify your good reputation as a company while hiding any further details from the public view; allowing you to maintain a professional company image.

So ORM Is Just Customer Relations?

Not really, no. Customer relations is a large part of Online Reputation Management since complaints can be damaging to your reputation. However, there are also so many other ways that you could accidentally make your business look bad on social media. Here are a few examples;

  • Arguing with customers
  • Hijacking a “hashtag” without researching it properly
  • Accidentally making light of an otherwise negative situation
  • Acting too corporate
  • Acting too personal

And yes, those last two are opposing statements, but there is a reason for that. You don’t want to treat your business’ Facebook page as your own profile; that means no pictures of your cat doing backflips whilst your child laughs and giggles. However, there is also a very simple rule that any Facebook page needs to follow; “social should be social”, meaning that you need to be accessible and friendly; build on owning a personable company reputation.

Do You Have Any Real World Examples of Bad ORM?

I thought you would never ask! There have been so many examples of bad ORM throughout the years. In fact, I have already mentioned one of the biggest culprits earlier in this post. But here are a few others.

Luton Airport Shows Itself As Uncaring

Back in 2013, Luton Airport’s social media masters thought it would be a great idea to show that they keep you safe in bad weather. Great, right? Well, when you put a real-life picture of a plane crash in your otherwise lighthearted post, it can make you look more like an uncaring fool than a clever marketer.

DiGiorno Hijacks #WhyIStayed

DiGiorno is a pizza restaurant that, like many other businesses in the world, wanted to get in on the action of a trending hashtag on Twitter. Everyone does it; the level of exposure can be extraordinary. However, DiGiorna made the fateful mistake of not actually researching the hashtag they were about to jump on.

#WhyIStayed was a very serious topic discussing issues with abusive relationships. DiGiorna, not knowing this, posted a tweet using the hashtag before having to publicly apologise. 

Kitchen Nightmares – That Bakery

You cannot discuss ORM or social media fails without mentioning “that bakery”. If you don’t know what bakery we are talking about, just look up Kitchen Nightmares and you soon will. Basically, the owners took to Facebook to argue with people who complained about their food or service, before having an utter mental breakdown.

We won’t go into too much detail about this, because there are far too many posts and rants to read through. Instead, let’s just say that we can all learn a lesson from these guys who are now out of business.

Ways To Manage Your Social Reputation 

  • Decide on the reputation you wish to build. Do you want to be seen as cool and forward-thinking? Or prefer a comforting, compassionate vibe? The text that you upload to the accounts that you follow will all be ‘judged’ by prospective followers who will make the decision of how you are seen.
  • How do you stand currently? You must assess your social identity to see how you look. There are many reputation management tools online (such as The Brand Grader) that you can use to determine your social strengths and weaknesses.
  • Create a set of guidelines to ensure all members of the team responsible for social are singing from the same hymn sheet. This should be updated and modified as the digital world continues to grow and evolve.
  • Provide the continued maintenance that you would your website. Keep a close eye on what works really well on your social media channels while reflecting on what does not. 

Over time, with close care and attention, your rigorous ORM will pay off and you will be rewarded with a powerful, clear social presence. 

Written bybrave

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