With continued reliance on online searches and social media, which have largely replaced personal experiences and recommendations from family and friends, a company can no longer build its reputation based on word-of-mouth referrals. A prudent company retains a service provider with expertise in online reputation management (ORM) to manage its standing online.
For small, locally-owned companies based in Michigan, it is essential to retain an ORM services company in Michigan for the search process to be local and personal, even though the customer base may extend beyond a physical location.
The Growth of ORM Services
Before the internet, a company controlled its messaging with marketing platforms for print and media ads, and the company’s reputation hinged on market perception. With the shift from the customer’s reliance on personal experience, or that of family and friends, reinforced by print and media ads, to its reliance on internet searches enhanced by referrals. However, personal experiences will not happen if search engine results are negative. The growth of ORM is the natural extension of public relations as online search results affect a company’s reputation offline, too. Choosing to ignore effective ORM is a considerable risk, and damages from a negative search result may not be recoverable.
The Benefits of ORM Services
A company’s search for an ORM services company conversant and experienced in the digital space, matched with knowledge of the impacts of social media, will complete the scope of the public relations platform. The benefits derived from ORM services are:
1. Tagging of company-published white papers and positive customer testimonials
2. Drowning negative comments with portals and websites containing positive comments
3. Monitoring websites, of the company and its competition
4. Initiating requests for takedowns with the company falls victim to libel or copyright infringement
5. Securing sites and quotations on websites with high Google search rankings
6. Responding proactively to negative comments
The Necessity of ORM Services
An essential service of an ORM company is the interpretation by the public of the company’s messaging, as the ineffective communication may generate negative comments. These services will not be performed by the public relations firm retained to manage offline branding and messaging unless the firm has a department dedicated to ORM. Positive and proactive online services need to be performed and launched by a professional ORM provider with knowledge and expertise in the interpretation of, and response to, web content.
Pay attention and give care needs to ensure the ORM services are ethical. There are no disclosure laws or regulations regarding paid bloggers on third-party websites writing positive, or negative, experiences that never happened. The building of synthetic public consensus where none exists, and the manipulation of search engine results, are not unlawful – but are well within the gray area of ethics. Any unethical actions of an ORM provider need to be monitored by the company, and a reputable ORM provider is sensitive to any unethical actions of, or instructions given by, a client company.
A Michigan-based company’s search for ORM services MI is essential to keep the working relationship local for references and personal contact. New and repeat customers hinge on their experience of a web search. A professional ORM provider will be open to sharing the progress of ratings and reviews and will be considerate of the fact that bad reviews have a direct effect on sales and image.
Pearl Collins is a freelance journalist and copywriter. Her work has been published in the International Business Times, The Guardian, and CNBC. She’s also written for startups such as Focal Point etc..