The rise of the social business has seen brands adopting Social Media personas through which they engage with consumers on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This voice is one of the many appealing elements of involving your brand in the Social Media space, as it allows you to effectively communicate the various characteristics attached to your brand and ultimately breathe life into it.
But it’s short-sighted to think that what consumers are saying about your brand is confined to your own Facebook wall or Twitter profile. Online Reputation Management (ORM) allows you to take a step back and get a panoramic view of your brand’s reputation in the social space. It allows you to more accurately measure the effects of your Social Media efforts against your business objectives.
A social business is based on a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship with the target market on social networks. An ORM tool is the system that can capture and analyse the customer insights and monitor the brand’s reputation – both key elements in maintaining that relationship.
Before I get into why I feel it’s invaluable, it has to be said that an investment in an ORM tool is probably not for all brands. Your brand has to command a certain level of equity, with a fair level of online conversation for it to truly add value.
The Value Of ORM In Creating A Social Business
1. Gauge Your Equity In The Online Space
The primary function of most ORM tools is usually counting mentions based on a finite number of keywords.
While an overview of day to day mentions of your brand might make for interesting reading, the real value of a mention count, from a Social Media point of view, will be unlocked once you start to push the functionality of the tool.
One way is to use an ORM tool to measure your brand against certain traits that you’re either trying to move towards or away from. This will provide a snapshot of whether the values you attach to your brand span the wider Internet community. For example, a brand sells a range of environmentally friendly cleaning products, but public perception about cleaning products is that they are toxic. The brand can monitor the associations between ‘eco friendly’ and their brand name to track the perceptions around their products. This will help them gauge whether their Social Media efforts have been successful in changing perceptions, and then allow them to feed this back into the business as actionable insight.
When running a campaign, particularly on Twitter, one of the major shortcomings is the inability to gain analytical data that offers any real value. An ORM tool could plug this hole and allow you to accurately measure, for example, the number of times a hashtag is used during an ‘adopt-a-hashtag’ campaign. You’d also be able to better differentiate between the credibility of the adoptions, or the sentiment attached to the campaign. On top of this, your brand mentions are saved for use or reporting further down the line.
2. Assess Online Sentiment Towards Your Brand
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.” – Warren Buffet
Apart from gathering mentions, most ORM tools can rate and sort these mentions based on their sentiment. This allows you to effectively test the temperature of the online community’s feeling towards your brand, which can then guide any future action.
With the world becoming more and more social, ignoring sentiment will be at your own peril.
The Internet is stacked full of social media disaster stories that could have been softened or avoided entirely had the business in question been listening to the conversation. Try your best to avoid any crises. However if you need to, leverage Social Media to make your business’s or brand’s voice heard in the event of a brewing disaster.
The Internet is the most flammable platform on the planet; to understand the power of Social Media one need only consider the involvement of Social Media in the Egypt uprising.
3. Speed Up Customer Services
ORM tools are the social business’s best friend. They allow certain mentions, even those not directed at the brand, to be tagged and escalated based on their designation. For example, social mentions related to new product ideas can be tagged as such and escalated to the relevant department, in this case the product manager, while grumpiness over product breakage can be escalated to customer services. This allows for a more informed and swift response which should result in a happier consumer.
Ultimately, by wrapping your Online Reputation Management in a Social Media layer you allow yourself to respond to the query or complaint in real time, from where it took place - the social space.
Additional Bonus Uses Of ORM
While ORM can be used as outlined above, it can also be great for:
- Proactively sourcing opportunities to engage with consumers who are talking about your business or brand or the category you operate in, as opposed to only responding to mentions that are directed at you
- The curation of content for conversation plans or possible opportunities - you can identify topics that consumers want to hear about
- Drastically reducing reporting time - instead of manually counting interactions on Twitter, you can set up a mention search and automate this, complete with a graph
- Understanding the value of credible members of the Social Media community - ORM tools can save you time and effort in sourcing influencers specific to niches
Lastly, an ORM tool can quickly and easily source link building opportunities to inform an SEO strategy. Unlinked mentions are often a relatively quick and easy link building tactic – let ORM find these opportunities for you.
So there you have it, a good couple of reasons why I’d recommend leveraging the power of ORM in building your social business. Remember that a social business understands its eco-system, leverages its customers as marketing advocates and gives as much as it receives. ORM data can be analysed by social businesses to enhance end to end work processes identified as problematic by its customers, or to enhance product innovation. How are you leveraging ORM?