Online Reputation Management & Online Marketing: What’s the difference?

Online Reputation Management & Online Marketing: What's the difference?Businesses nowadays look for cost-effective ways to expand, and yet many don’t know the benefits of promoting on the web. Still, there are good things and bad things about building and managing your brand on the Internet.

Your online branding is as important as your physical office. Why? Because prospective clients can find your business faster (and easier) by doing a Google Search. They will have the ability to find reviews on your products and services, as well as what is being said about your business online.

And, let’s face it: people trust what other people say. This is called “word of mouth”, and it’s important on & offline. So, how can you take control of what is being said about your business?

How can you effectively monitor and manage your brand online?

First, let’s get into the technical terms that you need to know in order to protect & manage your online brand. Wether you’re a person or a corporation (or even a celebrity), you need to realize that reputation management on the web is all about taking control of your (or your business’) online marketing.

Online reputation management can be defined as the combined knowledge of techniques and tools that can be utilized to promote goods & services through a variety of media platforms on the web 2.0; it’s taking control of what is being said by influencing the conversation on the web (and having a great internet content strategy).

But, is the meaning of the term “Online Marketing” any different from the term “Online Reputation Management”?

Online Reputation Mangement (ORM) is supposed to be a different approach to public relations; it’s thinking outside the box when it comes to personal and corporate branding. Besides, the rules are different outside the traditional way of doing media relations.

Maybe this can be called “brand hacking” (if you’re doing ORM in unethical ways, like censoring negative comments & complaints or using SEO to trick Google and influence search results). So, if you’re actively trying to affect search results to mantain and protect your brand’s reputation, then you’re doing ORM.

In other words, the Internet and Social Media have changed what once was a must-know public relations issue, into a practice of utmost importance when it comes to search engine results (and everyone is doing it).

On the other side, Online Marketing (Social Media Marketing & Search Engine Marketing) is also a way to influence the conversation and make it skew in your favor. Doesn’t that make you think? Maybe there is no real difference between these two terms…

So, is the “best defense” a good “offense”?

This is a very popular saying that can be applied in almost all areas of human life, including recreational games and war. Overall, this idea is about creating a strategic advantage, and it’s something you should be preoccupied with when it comes to the Internet.

Lee Haney, US bodybuilder, once said: “PR is extremely important, and being able to use it in the right way means everything. You have to market your success.”

Marketing can be defined as the ongoing process of communication between the public and the brand, where the value of a product or service is promoted to a business’ customers. It’s also about building long-term relationships between the customers and brands. This type of communication is bilateral in the web 2.0, and it’s all about monitoring the conversation; that means, “listening” is as important as “talking”.

That’s why a content strategy is always useful in both online marketing and online reputation management. You can start by building and managing profiles in Social Media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Then, you can continue your SEM and SSM efforts by buying a domain name (such as www.yourname.com or www.yourbusiness.com) or starting a blog, to build your personal & professional brand on the web.

However, the web 2.0 still represents a challenge even to the most skilled Online Marketers and Public Relations Experts. And, whether you’re interested in protecting & managing your brand, or actively promoting a good image of you or your business, you must know the difference between ORM and OM.

But, in order to keep things ethical when it comes to influencing the conversation in this platform, you must think of Online Marketing & Online Reputation Management in a holistic way, taking in account that both practices are active ways of monitoring and protecting your brand on the web.

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