According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, 18% of small businesses close within the first year. This is primarily attributed to the lack of finances, inadequate management, and marketing mistakes, which may be due to the lack of ORM strategies for small businesses.
ORM, or online reputation management, is an approach that positively structures a company’s online presence through several techniques. This guide will discuss ORM in detail and share ten cost-effective strategies that small businesses can leverage to protect and enhance their online reputation.
What is ORM?
Online Reputation Management (ORM) refers to the practice of shaping and managing the online perception of a business or individual. It involves monitoring, influencing, and responding to online content to maintain a positive reputation and minimize negative exposure. ORM incorporates various strategies and tactics to ensure that a business’s online presence accurately reflects its desired image and brand values.
Why Small Business should Focus on Reputation Management
Small businesses can benefit from ORM due to the following reasons:
- Better online visibility: By actively managing their online reputation, small businesses can improve their search engine rankings, making it easier for potential customers to find them online.
- Competitive advantage: A good reputation can help small businesses stand out from their competitors and attract more customers.
- Improved customer relations: Reputation management involves actively engaging with customers and addressing their concerns, which can improve overall customer satisfaction and retention.
- Increased revenue: A positive reputation can lead to increased sales and revenue, as customers are more likely to do business with a company they trust.
3 Common Challenges Small Businesses Face With ORM
Implementing ORM strategies requires a comprehensive understanding of customer understanding as well as the digital landscape. Here are a few challenges businesses face:
- Focusing on the Wrong Areas: Small businesses often struggle to identify the most critical aspects of their online reputation that need attention. They may waste resources on irrelevant platforms or fail to address significant issues.
- Not Understanding the Audience: To effectively manage their online reputation, small businesses need to understand their target audience and their preferences. Failing to connect with the right audience can result in miscommunication, leading to a negative reputation online.
- Not Measuring the Success of Their Brand Reputation Campaign: Small businesses may overlook the importance of tracking and evaluating their ORM efforts. Without any success metrics, it’s challenging to understand the impact of reputation management strategies and make necessary adjustments.
10 Budget-Friendly Online Reputation Management Strategies for Small Business
1. Respond to Negative Reviews
Negative reviews can significantly impact a small business’s reputation. Therefore, it is essential to respond to negative reviews promptly and professionally, even if they appear fake. By addressing concerns and offering solutions through effective community management, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to customer satisfaction.
For example, Mazda effectively handled a poor review by reaching out to the customer multiple times, showcasing their responsiveness, and casting doubt on the credibility of the negative post
2. Start a Referral Program
Research conducted by RewardStream reveals that 93% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product recommended by someone they trust.
Considering this, you can benefit significantly from a referral program. A referral program uses the power of satisfied customers to expand a small business’s reach. By incentivizing customers to recommend products or services to their friends, family, and colleagues, businesses can attract new leads and convert them into loyal customers.
3. Use ORM Tools for Assessment
ORM and SEO tools can automate the monitoring of a brand’s online presence across multiple platforms. These tools provide notifications when the brand is mentioned on social media or websites, enabling businesses to respond promptly and address any negative feedback. Some popular ORM tools include:
- Reputation Defender
- Google Alerts
- Social Mention
- GoFish Digital Complaint Search
- The Brand Grader’s
4. Use Content Marketing for Reputation Management
Content marketing is a cost-effective way for small businesses to enhance their online reputation. By creating and distributing valuable and relevant content, businesses can attract their target audience, establish thought leadership, and build trust.
Content marketing and ORM strategies can produce content formats like blogs, videos, podcasts, and emails. With an effective content strategy, you can easily answer customer questions and showcase the brand’s expertise.
5. Maintain a Posting Schedule
Consistent posting on social media and online platforms can significantly improve a small business’s online visibility and increase its follower base. According to Hootsuite, daily posting can lead to four times faster growth in online visibility and followers.
Utilizing relevant hashtags and keywords can further enhance the chances of the brand’s content being noticed by the target audience, thereby boosting the brand’s reputation. You can also use social media monitoring tools to track the engagement of your posts and make relevant modifications to your posting strategy.
6. Enhance Company Culture
Positive company culture plays a vital role in building a strong online reputation. When employees feel supported and engaged, they are more likely to share positive feedback on online forums and platforms.
Businesses can revamp their company culture by:
- Seeking employee feedback
- Implementing recognition programs
- Promoting positive experiences
- Offering autonomy to workers
These actions improve the work environment and contribute to a positive brand image.
7. Promptly Respond to Your Audience
Timely responses to customer inquiries and messages are crucial for maintaining a good reputation. You can use automated tools like Buffer Reply to address basic customer queries promptly. This initiative shows that the business values customer concerns and cares about their satisfaction.
Essentially, quick and helpful responses contribute to a positive brand image and build customer trust.
8. Leverage Positive Reviews
Positive reviews can do wonders for your business’s reputation. Therefore, you must encourage your customers to post a review about your brand online. You can do this by:
- Offering incentives to customers that review your business
- Requesting customers to fill out feedback surveys
- Sending a follow-up email
However, simply having reviews is not enough. You must also take measures to promote all the positive reviews that customers post about your business. Some review management tips include:
- Display positive customer feedback on your website.
- Turn a review into a case study.
- Share reviews on social media channels.
9. Revamp Your Company’s Culture
A company’s culture consists of your organization’s values, beliefs, and norms. All employees must follow and respect a company culture to create a positive working environment.
With an employee-centric and positive company culture, you have higher chances of attracting quality hires and showcasing that your organization is trusted in all aspects.
A supportive work culture encourages employees to share good feedback on online forums, creating opportunities for potential customers to learn more about your values.
You can revamp your company culture by following these tips:
- Take employee feedback to build a strong relationship
- Create an employee recognition program
- Promote positive worker experiences
- Offer autonomy
10. Influencer Marketing
You can also collaborate with popular influencers with a wide audience online. As digital influencers inspire their followers, they can effectively influence their audience’s purchasing decisions. They can share features or opinions about your brand to spread brand awareness and help bring in more leads.
The low-budget marketing method can be of great use for small businesses and can be one of the reasons for your growth.
Managing online reputation is crucial for small businesses, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. By implementing these ten cost-effective ORM strategies, small businesses can protect their reputation, attract customers, and establish a positive brand image in the digital landscape. With careful planning and execution, even businesses with limited resources can effectively manage their online reputation and thrive in the competitive market.
If you’re in search of a cost-effective ORM provider, look no further than Digital Caterpillar. We have an in-house team of ORM specialists who can boost your online reputation in the digital realm. Chat with our experts today!
How can small businesses benefit from ORM?
Implementing ORM can increase customer trust, gain new users, give a competitive edge, and enhance credibility.
What are some common ORM mistakes that small businesses make?
Some mistakes that small businesses may make while implementing ORM strategies include:
- Failing to examine ORM feedback
- Not using advanced resources
- Being unable to identify your target audience.
What are the best practices for implementing cost-effective ORM Strategies?
Some of the best ORM practices for small businesses include responding to negative reviews quickly, automating replies to save time, and hiring a professional agency to handle the firm’s ORM and professional SEO services.
If you are looking for services specializing in ORM for small businesses, reach out to our experts at email@example.com