online reputation management, social media listening, media monitoring

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More businesses consider online reputation management critical, a new survey reveals. More than a third of businesses (35 percent) plan to allocate more resources to online reputation management, according to a survey by Clutch, a third-party reviews website for B2B agencies. More than half (54 percent) of digital marketers consider online reputation management “very necessary” to their company’s success.

The survey also reveals that:

  • Businesses monitor their online reputation frequently: 42 percent monitor their online reputation daily and 21 percent hourly.
  • Businesses use social media most often (46 percent) to monitor what’s being said about their brand online.
  • Most (70 percent) prefer in-house employees to manage their online reputation.
  • 25 percent of companies say the biggest benefit from investing in ORM is increased sales. Another 23 percent cite greater brand recognition.

Companies usually understand that negative comments and media mentions can damage their reputation – especially when gone unanswered. Positive reviews and other forms of favorable mentions increase trust in the organization.

“When people search for brands online, they tend to search for stamps of credibility,” said Simon Wadsworth, managing partner at Igniyte, an online reputation management agency in the UK, told Clutch. “If they find anything negative, that could end up being a significant amount of leads that the business won’t get from people who are put off from using the service.”

Social Media Monitoring Most Popular Method for Online Reputation Management

In addition to social media, other platforms for monitoring reputations include review sites, (23 percent), Google search results (23 percent), and news websites (4 percent). Experienced PR professionals realize that Google Alerts does not offer dependable online monitoring and that paid media monitoring tools offer the only viable option. Google Alerts doesn’t monitor social media or television or radio broadcasts and lacks analytics and integrated media monitoring.

While low-cost options offer self-service tools, some media monitoring services and measurement services have experts on staff who can help companies nail down their keywords, set up monitoring dashboards, and offer other types of customer service assistance. They also offer social media measurement services with advanced metrics to measure media impact.

Most businesses surveyed (70 percent) rely on in-house employees to manage their online brand reputation. About two-thirds also use online reputation management tools, and about half use third-party review sites, social media listening software, and external agencies (which may use their own media monitoring tool).

Some See Value in PR Agencies

While social listening tools allows a company to become aware of media coverage, a capable PR agency knows how to resolve any issues caused by media coverage, Wadsworth says. They can identify target audiences, determine keywords to monitor, and analyze sentiment.

Concerned about managing their online reputation, more than 40 percent of businesses plan to hire a PR agency this year. Some decide to hire an agency after suffering the unhappy consequences of a negative media mention or online review. Cost, cited by 54 percent, is the largest concert preventing businesses from hiring an agency.

Another survey by Researchscape International found that social media monitoring is one of the leading factors in determining business executives’ satisfaction with their PR firms, Businesses consider only the standard PR service of developing earned media coverage as more important. More executives (57 percent) use PR firms for social media monitoring than other services.

Bottom Line: Most businesses view online reputation management as essential to their success. Many are turning to social media monitoring tools and PR agencies to protect and improve their online reputations.