Why The Hype About Online Reputation Management?

By Chinyere Otuonye

The creation and sharing of knowledge has evolved over the years. This knowledge-space has evolved from the pre-writing or age of orality through the age of writing, the age of print, the industrial age and presently, the information age. The uniqueness of the information age is the enabling factor of communications technology which has connected the world seamlessly.

Anyone can share information to everyone through the internet. This information can be bad postings, negative/illegal blogs, horrible testimonials in popular forums, unrealistic scam allegations and product reviews. Sometimes good people and good companies get a bad reputation from miscreants, disgruntled employees, competition and persons with malicious intent. It is a pain given by the negative/illegal press who never feels the misery which that individual faces whose reputation is now destroyed and income affected.

As a result, Online Reputation Management was created. Simply put, Online Reputation Management (ORM) involves improving or restoring your image or your brand’s good standing by influencing information available to the public. This is done by countering, weakening, eliminating the negative material found in the Internet and overpowering it with more positive material to improve your credibility and customer’s trust in you.

The importance of having a positive image and prevention of negative/illegal content has become a necessity in this global era cum information age. Some people call it branding however, branding is a subset of online reputation management. ORM is a one stop solution for all internet branding and marketing needs.

ORM has evolved as a result of the internet’s increased power among users. For any individual or organization, the internet has provided an important means of communication to followers, loyalists and the competition.

The wealth of information available on the internet has given users power to research and interact with anyone, anywhere. The information obtained online can prove useful for leads, sales, recruitment, investor relations, opinion poll, education, financials, intellectual property, governance and so much more.

The strong perception of the internet’s reliability and credibility of information it provides has made it inevitable for any entity to ignore its usefulness. Many people use Google to search online because it gathers a wealth of information from every corner of the web and, perhaps more importantly, filters all of that information to provide the most relevant, reputable, and useful links first.

In fact, Google does this so well that people have come to trust the 10 links on the first page of search results significantly more than those on subsequent pages. A staggering 93% of all the links that people click on in Google search come from that first page.

Even if only one of those ten links is negative, such as a poor review on Nairaland, an embarrassing blog post by a disgruntled former employee, or an unflattering article in a local newspaper, the damage to you or your company’s reputation can be devastating.

There are three broad options in online reputation management.
1. Remove negative content from internet including online complaints, negative reviews and comments, negative PR news, Google suggest, videos from Google and the internet, negative images from Google and the internet.
2. Branding: This covers building positive online brand, submitting citations to web forums and review websites, rebutting complaints posted online, reviewing and managing online posts, submitting press releases, promoting videos and movies online, creating posts on forums, granting interviews, and advertising on TV, Radio and Newspaper.
3. Control your reputation online through agile monitoring of search engines, online forums, social media and networking sites, article submission sites, major review websites and blogs.

Who should use ORM?
Executives, Hotels, Travels and leisure, Clinics, Doctors, Restaurants, Retail Stores, Ecommerce, Lawyers, Politicians, Businesses, Celebrities, Schools and products. If you cannot afford to have your image tarnished with negative/illegal information so prominently displayed for anyone and everyone to see, then ORM is for you.

Benefits of ORM
• The anonymous service enables you to be firewalled while your reputation managers do the work of cleaning the web.
• Results guaranteed – Reputation managers keep working until the negative/illegal information is removed, not just moved out of the first page. The best part is that success is guaranteed in less than 30 Days, so you and your business can get right back on track.
• Maintain positive image/brand on the internet when prospective buyers and investors visit the web looking for your reputation
• Businesses can generate qualified leads that pays itself for the service
• One stop solution for all internet branding and marketing needs
• You control the message. That way you can be certain of exactly what kind of information is circulating about you on the Internet.

The Key highlight of online reputation management is the seamless integration across various platforms including traditional media, new media and evolving media with consistent communication and messaging.

Chinyere Otuonye is a Research Consultant, Business Strategist & Instructional Technology Coach, and Managing Director, BlueCircle International, an ICT and professional skills development company.

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