Managing an online reputation isn’t easy in the wild world of social media.
Reputation management has always had a place in the business world.
Your reputation is the unmeasurable metric that drives new business. Reputation is word of mouth, people talking, and sharing opinions about their experiences with your brand.
In the age of social media, however, your reputation is moving from something abstract into something concrete. Social platforms give everyone a soapbox to shout from, publicly voicing positive and negative opinions about your service. A single post can reach thousands of eyes, and negative feedback can be brutal.
According to the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer, 65 percent of Internet users view online search as the most trusted source of info on companies and people, with 79 percent trusting online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
With that in mind, just imagine the negative impact that a poor online reputation can create. It doesn’t matter how good your service is if your customers aren’t willing to give you a shot.
How can companies juggle their business goals with online reputation management?
Outsourcing Reputation Management (ORM)
To tackle the burden of keeping your good name clear, many businesses have turned to Online Reputation Management (ORM) services. These outsourced providers offer numerous benefits to a business’s online reputation:
- Organic search review to ensure that results accentuate the positive
- Social media account management and responses
- Damage control for negative media coverage and scathing online reviews
- 24/7/365 around the clock listening, monitoring and management
For overworked businesses with more to worry about than online gossip, choosing an ORM provider can be a great way to handle your digital reputation.
Doing It In-House
Many businesses see outsourced services only as an expense, and opt to keep their reputation management in-house. This can be effective with the right strategy and a trained team to back you up, but it’s not always as easy as it seems. Plenty of businesses have attempted to manage this on their own, with disastrous results. Data by LocalVox showed that on average, businesses only respond to 30% of social media feedback. This could hardly be considered quality social media management.
Comparing the Pros
There are pros and cons to doing it yourself, just as there are pros and cons to outsourcing:
Pros of DIY
Benefits of managing your social media reputation on your own include:
- Cost – Though many ORM providers are affordable these days, lean business models may have a tougher time justifying the increased cost.
- Visibility – Keeping the work in-house gives management full transparency of how the work is being handled.
- Fewer Points of Contact – Outsourcing adds a separate team into your reputation management equation. This usually translates to time lost from communication of project goals, questions, and emerging issues. Keeping the work in-house ensures a fast response to any problems that may arise.
Pros of Outsourcing
- With these benefits fresh in our minds, let’s compare them to benefits of outsourcing:
- Quality – Handing the reins to seasoned reputation experts guarantees quality; their team should have the experience and insight necessary to do the job well.
- Efficiency – Aside from doing the job right, outsourced teams can do the job fast. With strategies and specific protocols designed around problem resolution, outsourced firms can tackle issues more efficiently than your internal staff who may have other competing priorities and cannot always provide 100% focus to the role.
- Comprehensive Coverage – In addition to 24-hour coverage, ORM providers in many cases have a more robust infrastructure than your in-house team doesn’t. This gives them the flexibility to address reputation concerns across a wider range of platforms and with a stronger set of tools than your own team can likely manage.
The Outsourcing Advantage
While both in-house reputation management and ORM providers offer unique benefits, most businesses find that the quality and efficiency of outsourced service providers make them well worth the investment. Like it or not, social media management has become an inseparable part of building your business. If you Google search your brand and you aren’t exactly thrilled with what you find, consider hiring an outsourced reputation management provider to bring you back into the clear.