Necessary Strategy Updates: The Impact of AI on Online Reputation Management

Online reputation management (ORM) is no longer a crisis play. With the digital landscape constantly demanding more attention, ORM is now a daily necessity. If you don’t know what people are saying about you – or reading about you – you’re only operating at half-speed.

The amount of information you need to track to competently manage your online reputation is massive. This is where AI-powered tools can make a significant difference.

Let’s talk about these technologies, their impact on ORM, and what you need to do to remain ahead.

Table of Contents

What is an online reputation?

Your online reputation is everything in the digital age. It is the overall impression searchers have of your brand. Are you credible? Can you be trusted?

When your online reputation is positive, brand recognition soars, sales increase, leadership reputations are boosted, and your influence grows.

But a negative online reputation leads to backlash and slumps across the board. Expect low product awareness, negative media coverage, bad reviews, poor industry ties, and PR crises.

Reputations change fast on the internet – a bad review here, poor customer service there – it doesn’t take much. One missed opportunity or wrong step can feature on the first page of Google for months. ORM must be a proactive measure, not a reactionary tool.

AI - Your Answer to Proactive ORM

Robots aren’t taking over the world – yet – but they are heavily influencing every industry. When it comes to ORM and marketing, these powerful AI technologies pack a punch, if you know how to use them.

Here are the key ways that this technology shows up:

Enhanced Monitoring and Analysis

AI tools can continuously scan the internet, seeking mentions of your brand or even your industry. This means scanning news sites, social media, review sites, and comment sections. They can compile all mentions and categorize them based on different topics. They can even identify sentiment – positive, negative, or neutral.

These automatically delivered insights give you a leg up when it comes to forming a comprehensive understanding of your current online reputation. These AI scans should be performed regularly. You want to keep your finger on the pulse of your reputation. You also want to know if and how people’s comments change after big news – whether you release a new product, work with a nonprofit, change leadership, etc. 

What did this do for your reputation? Let AI help you understand.

Predictive Analytics

This goes along with enhanced monitoring and analysis. If you are keeping track of online sentiment, you can act proactively if things start shifting to a neutral or negative majority. This could mean doing anything from responding to reviews, promoting positive content, correcting inaccuracies, or suppressing unwanted search results.

AI can even help you identify what makes sentiment – and your reputation – change. What has the greatest impact? Does something happen around the holidays? Product releases? If you know certain times that your reputation takes a dip or soars, you can plan ahead to mitigate or boost those situations in the future.

Automated Content Creation and Response

Generative AI is the type of AI that’s been in the news most recently. Think ChatGPT, Google Gemini, and Copilot (Microsoft Bing Chat). This AI technology can generate content, whether that might be responses to customer reviews or copy for ads, newsletters, or blog posts.

Generative AI can be helpful, but we don’t recommend leaning on it as your sole source of content creation. Let it be a fount of inspiration and brainstorming, but be aware of its shortcomings. AI-generated content can be biased or inaccurate. We recommend you still work with a human team for all content creation. 

If you do use AI for anything, we recommend that you disclose that to your audience. Why? One, we think it’s ethical – if you didn’t write something, don’t take credit for it. This doesn’t apply to brainstorming, but if your finished product was copy+pasted from AI, you should share that information. Two, while this isn’t required yet, it might be in the future. You may as well get out ahead and save yourself work down the road. Three, it keeps your audiences from feeling like you’re lying to them or otherwise trying to pull the wool over their eyes. Be honest about what tools you use to improve yourself and better help them. Remain authentic – that’s the way to build consumer trust and a great online reputation.

You must also keep track of the internet’s opinion of AI-generated content. Google had a few things to say about AI in its March 2024 core update.

Customer Engagement

Chatbots and AI can be a double edged sword. Some people think AI helps when it comes to answering frequently asked questions and addressing minor complaints. Others would much rather chat with a human and don’t think AI helps at all.

If you decide to invest in AI technology for your chatbot, make sure the chatbot is as intelligent as it can be, and regularly monitor its interactions and customer responses. Is AI boosting customer satisfaction, or do your customers feel like you’re ignoring them?

Bonus: How to Flip the Tables and Influence AI

Now that you’ve seen some of the key ways that you can use AI to manage your online reputation, there’s a secondary piece to consider – how you can and should influence AI.

Because here’s the thing, AI is shaping search responses and users’ opinions. In other words, it affects your online reputation. 

We discuss this in more detail in our guide Generative AI’s Influence on Personal and Companies’ Online Presence and SERPs. To sum up though, AI is trained on incomprehensibly massive amounts of data. In order to teach AI to associate your brand with your targeted keywords, you need to increase the amount of data it has access to concerning you.

How do you do this?

First, you make sure that you are consistent in how you talk about yourself. Every social media profile, Wikipedia article, byline, etc. should use the same descriptions and names for your brand.

Secondly, you create high quality content all the time. You write, you record videos with transcripts and/or captions, you speak on podcasts with transcripts, you publish in journals and magazines. The more written word you produce, the more data you develop, the better for your brand. At least, as long as everything you produce points back to you.

Your job here is to teach AI who you are and what you do. This is exactly what you do with your target audiences, only on a different scale. 

This is not a call to create trashy, useless content. That will harm your reputation and your search engine rankings. You don’t want to hurt yourself while trying to influence AI. Create great content, the best out there in your industry, and create more of it. That will boost your visibility with anyone who’s searching online – whether human or AI.

If you can’t create great quality content four times a week, don’t. Focus on creating content four times a month, or another time frame to which you can reasonably commit. Take the content you do have and transform it into something else – an infographic, a podcast, a newsletter, a video, etc. 

Whatever you do, keep content relevant, helpful, trustworthy, and authentic. Focus on helping your audience, and you’ll be on the right track.

Let AI Be a Team Player

AI can help you work smarter, not harder. It’s worth incorporating certain tools into your efforts. Used the right way – to automate some tasks and provide deeper insights – AI can help you build and maintain a positive online reputation.

And it doesn’t stop with ORM. As mentioned above, AI impacts SEO, search engine results pages (SERPs), and even one of the most visited sites around the world, Wikipedia. For more information on that, we recommend checking out these guides:

The fact is, AI is here. It should be a part of your team – but don’t put it in charge. Like any tool, it needs human oversight. Make sure you use it ethically and transparently, and your customers will know they can trust you.

If you have questions about bringing AI into your ORM and marketing strategies, give us a call.

The Mather Group LLC is a digital marketing agency. We specialize in enhancing online reputations through authentic content and expert digital brand management. Clients trust us with Wikipedia services, SEO, PPC, and ORM. Don’t like how you’re showing up online? Let’s talk.

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