Individuals and companies that want to take control of their online image often wonder how online reputation management really works. They may already have a general idea about the importance of a good digital reputation for their career and business, but they’d like to know more details about what makes ORM successful.
Online reputation management metrics are multifaceted. They cannot be compared to those involving hard numbers (number of visitors, number of sales etc.), but there’s still something to say about this. Even though we can’t produce an exact formula, some aspects must be taken into account when analyzing the outcomes of great reputation management campaigns. Let’s see five critical metrics every ORM professional should consider:
#1. Your digital wall
We’ve said many times that your real business card is what people see when they search your name online. The first 2 or 3 pages of results showing up after people type your personal / brand / product name is what really makes the difference.
Making a good or bad impression is a matter of minutes, in some cases seconds. Is your name associated with negative posts? Do your main sites look amateurish? Can we quickly get enough relevant material on you, or are you semi-invisible online?
ORM professionals know this can be directly put into numbers but represents the first metric to take care of when working to improve clients’ reputation and business, mostly via proactive reputation strategies.
#2. Online reviews
Googling your name is not the only way potential partners and customers can get an idea about you. Especially for local and service businesses, the influence of user-generated content is enormous. What people say about your products and services might end up being the #1 deciding factor for potential clients.
Such an important metric should be treated with the highest ethics standards: from the online reputation management perspective, the goal is not to silence the critics, but rather make sure no illegal/incorrect information is posted online, and allowing the business to get feedback / start conversations more proactively.
#3. Pagerank and SEO metrics
Google PageRank (abbreviated PR) is a 1-10 number assigned by Google algorithm to define the importance of your website, according to the authority of people linking to you and other factors.
Although it is first of all an SEO metric, it actually relates to your level of credibility, recognition and reputation, so it represents one of the factors to consider when devising an online reputation management strategy.
#4. Social media activity
Reputation management is not social media marketing, but this doesn’t mean Twitter, Facebook and other social venues should stay out of the equation. When it comes to the basic social media metrics for a good reputation, we can boil it down to 3 factors:
- Size of audience: does the image you’re projecting match your numbers? An award winning marketing agency with 35 Facebook fans would look suspicious, as well as a little local bakery with thousands of Twitter followers.
- Quality: are your fans really engaged? There’s no reason to have big numbers (or any number at all) if your audience does not interact with you or it looks uninterested.
- Social media management: what about you? Having a following is not enough. What’s the impression we make by taking a look at the way you share, comment and respond?
#5. Google Autocomplete
One of the most overlooked online reputation management metrics is probably Google’s autocomplete function, suggesting ways to complete your search as you type. Google algorithm is based on what users actually search, so one can learn a few things by typing the beginning of a question like “Can man…”, or the name of a brand/VIP/product.
That is part of your online reputation, especially when negative associations arise. In some cases it’s possible to have autocomplete suggestions removed directly, in other cases it will be necessary to deal with Google Suggest defamation via long-term strategies, involving search engine optimization and promotional activities.