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Per a Digital Information world article, you likely are aware of online reputation management (ORM), but there are many misconceptions about it floating around. Some businesses assume that it’s all about monitoring a company’s social media accounts, others believe it involves public relations, and some have never heard of it and have no idea what it can do for a business.

Customers Like Transparency

Businesses are shifting their focus from being closed down and unapproachable to being transparent. One study showed that customers are 94 percent more likely to have loyalty to a company that is totally transparent. Additionally, 73 percent of people say they’d pay more for products from a company that’s honest about the product’s capabilities. Being transparent allows a company to handle both positive feedback and criticism effectively, as long as it embraces ORM and learns how to work with it.

So, what does transparency mean? It includes things like allowing your employees to publicly talk about your products and services, asking for feedback, addressing any criticism publicly, and establishing a one-on-one channel of communication. This can be a difficult concept for many companies to grasp, but this is where online reputation management companies excel.

Understanding Why Online Reputation Management Is So Important

The Internet gives people a platform to voice their opinions in a way they’ve never had. This includes posting good and bad reviews. No matter how good your business is, you simply won’t be able to please everyone. When you get negative reviews, you must address them in a professional and courteous manner, and this can be difficult if your products or company are being attacked.

Since 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from their friends, it’s extremely important that you quickly manage any bad reviews or comments. There are generally two broad categories for negative content that an online reputation management company can help with:

1. Social Media Platforms

The first category is fielding and dealing with negative commentary on social media networks. These comments or complaints are usually relatively easy to address, and they typically don’t pose a huge problem for your company unless it already has problems and you haven’t addressed them.

2. Reputation Bombs

On the other end of the spectrum, there are reputation bombs. These are things that can do significant damage to your company’s sales and reputation. They are far more powerful than the social media platform comments because they have the potential to show up on the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) when a potential customer searches for your business.