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Online Reputation Management: Part I - The Basics

online-reputation-management-basicsRegardless of what business you’re in, how large or small your business is, or what services and products you offer, you will most likely at some point be on the butt end of bad, sometimes ugly, publicity. We love it when we are talked about positively, but what if it’s negative speak? How should you respond? What is Online Reputation Management (ORM) really?

In this three part series, I’ll give you the basics of Online Reputation Managment, or ORM as it’s sometimes referred to, some tips and advice on how to respond to negative reviews/bad publicity, and finally, some free tools to help you monitor and manage your reputation online.

What is Online Reputation Management (or Monitoring) (ORM)?

Wikipedia defines ORM as “…the practice of monitoring the Internet reputation of a person, brand or business, with the goal of suppressing negative mentions entirely, or pushing them lower on search engine results pages to decrease their visibility.”

In simpler terms, it’s listening to the buzz about your business online and taking action if/when necessary, especially for damage control.

Why You Can’t Afford NOT To Do It

Did you know you can lose business because of what someone says about you? Surely you do!

This is why it’s highly important to monitor and manage your reputation online.

You need to:

  • Listen, monitor, and track the conversations about your business
  • Protect your brand
  • Change perceptions (if needed) about you or your brand to the public
  • Respond to both good* and bad commentary

*A note about the good commentary – I’ve heard of, and have personally experienced, cases where companies reward customers with coupons and the like who have provided great reviews and/or comments online. It’s just common sense to thank those that support you as much as you would respond to and handle the opposite!

Let’s take the simplest example. You go to the movies and are highly disappointed with it for whatever reason. You tell your friends not to go see it. What happens? They DON’T go see it! Some of my friends and I have very similar tastes in movies so when one of us says a movie is bad, we will never watch it. We just have her tell us why it was so bad and we move on to the next movie.

On the other hand, if one of us highly recommends a movie, the rest of us are geeked and can’t wait to watch it!

Similarly, someone (upset customer or client, a blogger with incorrect information, etc.) can say something bad about your business on a blog, in a video, on Twitter or anywhere else on the Internet and with the social world we live in, hundreds or even thousands of people can see that one little not-so-great comment!

This is a classic case of bad news traveling light speeds faster than good news.

It may be false, true, a bit of both – but nevertheless, it’s out there, which leads me to my next note…

Next up: Part II – Responding to Negative Reviews/Bad Publicity

So what happens if you receive some bad publicity or negative reviews in the web-o-sphere? How do you react? Should you even do so? Stay tuned for our next post on responding to negative reviews about your business.

Your turn…

In the meantime, do you monitor your online reputation?



  1. Melissa - Reputation Management

    A good tip is not to wait until negative feedback or comments have been posted about your company. Proactive rep management might seem like it is not necessary but today with all the outlets available for disgruntled employees and client to post negative info anonymously, it is only a matter of time before something pops up. You want to have positive items ranked way before any damage can be done.
    Melissa – Reputation Management recently posted..What is a 301 Re-DirectMy Profile

    • Kesha

      Hey Melissa, thanks for adding this gem! You are right, proactive management is the best management :-)

  2. Search Engine Reputation Management

    Thanks for posting this, I must admit its quiet important and valuable information that you had presented here! We completely understand the value of your business and we are there to help in reputation management for your business.

  3. Brian Kinkade

    It is rightly said that, when reputation is lost its very difficult to gain it back again. Whichever type of business, the techniques of dealing with clients remains the same. As businessmen we should be prepared to handle situations such as negative reviews and bad publicity.

  4. Kate Brown Wilson

    This information is so much valuable specially for those people who work online. at first I really don’t know what is the sense of having a reputation online, but I guess I am wrong cause Google is the one responsible for all source of the internet. how we gain reputation and how to rank.
    Kate Brown Wilson recently posted..Baby EagleMy Profile