PR and marketing professionals know just how easily and quickly public opinion about a topic or a person can change. A poorly worded statement, new details that are released voluntarily or leaked, and so many other small and big things could completely shift the public’s view of something.
💡 Read Brand Reputation 101: Monitoring, Analysis, and Management Tools
This is precisely why public figures and organizations need online reputation monitoring and management. We mainly get information from the online world. And this is also the space where the public discusses it. Without further ado, here are the seven key benefits of online reputation monitoring and why it is crucial for public figures and organizations alike.
#1 Monitor Your Audience’s Perception of Your Brand
The first and most important reason why you would want to start monitoring your online reputation is to know about your audience’s perception of your brand. The brand could be yourself or that of your organization. Asking people on the street what they think about your brand is one thing. But going online and consistently monitoring your brand’s reputation will give you a much more complete picture.
Again, the Internet today is a space where we share and discuss information. While you often can’t control which information gets shared, you can still evaluate the narrative. That very narrative that is being constructed about you and the common sentiments present in online discussions about you.
In most cases, there will be different opinions about your brand. You shouldn’t try to appeal to absolutely everyone – it is impossible. But you should at least understand what your brand’s image is specifically among your target audience members. Because if your customers are not happy, then your organization could suffer greatly.
Read Meeting Customer Needs: 7 Ways to Get to Know Your Customers Better
#2 Evaluate Whether Your Branding Is Effective
Once you have evaluated the online reputation of your brand, you can evaluate whether your branding is effective. Whether you are trying to brand yourself or your organization, you likely have a strategy for creating a specific kind of image you want to show publicly. Here are some questions you can ask to check whether your branding has been effective in achieving that public image:
- What are online users saying about your brand (you or your organization)? Are these things negative, positive, or neutral?
- What do people associate your brand with? Is it what you want your brand associated with?
- How has your image changed over time (if you have been monitoring your online reputation continuously)? Is this the kind of change you were pursuing?
- Do you see the predicted results of your branding activities according to how much you invested in your branding? (For example, did you invest more or less than or exactly what you expected?)
- How does your brand image differ on different platforms? Did you expect or intend these differences?
#3 Understand Your Competitiveness in the Market
In addition to evaluating whether your branding has been successful, you can also better understand your brand’s competitiveness in the market. In other words, you can see where your brand is in your niche or industry compared to other brands. These can be both public figures and organizations.
For instance, you can check how experts have been positioning your brand on the market compared to other brands. You can also assess what regular online users are saying. These are the same people who are or could be your own customers. You can then check what kind of narrative the media prefers to construct about your brand.
Keep in mind that your competitiveness in the market (at least, in the sense of your online reputation or image) is not the same as your revenue compared to the revenues of other organizations. Things like your long-term reputation, achievements, influence, authority, and more can all indicate how competitive you are. Even global brands that are earning billions of dollars every year can have a questionable reputation online due to their scandals.
Read Competitive Analysis: All You Need to Know
#4 Assess Your Image on Multiple Online Platforms
As mentioned earlier, one of the things you can do when monitoring your online reputation is to assess your image on multiple online platforms. Your reputation likely won’t be the same everywhere. Moreover, it can be different in different spaces that are all located on the same online platform.
For instance, Reddit’s subreddits can be very different from each other. In this sense, different communities could have people with completely opposite opinions about your brand. Even on platforms like Twitter where discussions are seemingly open, most users curate their timelines. They create a bubble where they only hear positive or, on the contrary, negative opinions about a specific topic or person.
Then there’s also the fact that different media outlets could have different narratives. One online newspaper could be constantly praising your brand while a different one would be posting nothing but hit pieces. This is precisely why you need to monitor your online reputation carefully and take into account the multiplicity of opinions that you will find.
#5 Learn What Experts and the Media Say About You
Speaking of media outlets, online reputation monitoring allows you to learn more about what experts and the media say about you or your organization. Industry experts are figures with authority and influence in your niche. So there will be a lot of people who will be listening to what they have to say and agreeing with them.
While traditional media no longer have the kind of power they used to have in constructing narratives, online media outlets still have some influence. A lot of people still read them. And they also have the choice of publicizing or concealing certain news or information. If you don’t want to get into serious controversies or scandals, you need to react quickly to any negativity in the media before the issue blows up.
Read 6 Steps on How to Monitor Trends & News in Your Industry
#6 Identify Your Flaws, Weaknesses, and Mistakes
Online reputation monitoring is definitely useful for understanding the positive perceptions of your brand. But it can also be used to identify your flaws, weaknesses, and mistakes. It’s not always easy to see these from the inside. So listening to opinions from the people online who aren’t your employees will help you see these negative aspects.
For example, you can see which weaknesses your brand has compared to other brands in your niche. Moreover, you can also learn about the things you did that were seen as mistakes or poor choices by the public. It can be quite jarring to learn about these things, but it is necessary to fully understand what your online brand reputation is like.
That being said, you don’t always have to listen to what online users are saying. They could be in the wrong too. Most importantly, all of these decisions have to be carried out on a case-by-case basis by a dedicated PR team. To make the whole process easier you can use the online reputation monitoring tool Determ. It will gather all mentions, allow you to filter them by sentiment and focus on the negative ones. This will give you an overview and a clearer picture of whether you should react or not.
#7 Plan Your Online Reputation Management Strategy
Last but not least, online reputation monitoring is actually the beginning of something much bigger – online reputation management. By monitoring your online brand image, you can better plan out your management strategy to change and control that image accordingly through a variety of means.
For instance, hiring brand ambassadors for your company could help you improve brand awareness, spread a positive image of your brand, and attract more customers. Having a good relationship with different industry experts or media outlets could help you control the narrative. This is especially important when you get in hot water and need to urgently handle a burning issue, controversy, or scandal.
It goes without saying that you can never fully control your online reputation. But you can still use a variety of techniques for directing the online public discourse in the right way. That will help you maintain a more favorable image. Once again, a good PR team is necessary for this. But external relations of your brand with key actors (media outlets, experts) could be critical too.
At the end of the day, online reputation monitoring is just a way to assess the public’s perception of a specific topic or person. The next step is to actually change and control that perception correctly through online reputation management. A dedicated PR team is therefore essential for public figures and organizations who want to be in control of their identities.
Lillie Jenkins is a creative copywriter and content writer. She has worked as a copywriter since graduating school, so her writing skills are well-honed. At the moment, she is working as a copywriter at the popular writing center BestWritersOnline and as a proofreader at the custom writing company TrustMyPaper. She writes publications in such fields as marketing, business, education, and personal life. More than writing Lillie loves to travel and read professional literature.