SEO

Social Media Profiles for Online Reputation Management

Your reputation, online or offline is vital extremely important. Recently, a friend of mine owned a travel business. After hiring an employee with a light criminal background and having thousands of dollars embezzled from him, he started to pursue legal action against this individual. This person decided to get revenge by badmouthing the owner and business through Rip Off Report and other online platforms. Now, anytime you Google his name or business some very offensive things are displayed as a #1 result. Consequently, his business has suffered tremendously.

This situation is the perfect example of the need for reputation management.  One of the most powerful (and easiest) methods to begin to control your reputation in the search engine result pages (SERPs) is to create social profiles on major social media websites. Since domains like Twitter or MySpace have such high authority it takes a lot less effort to rank, than creating your own site, by creating a profile that will outrank and push down undesired search results. Also, these search results gives you the added benefit of having control over your brand and being accessible and available on multiple platforms strengthens your overall branding efforts.

Which social profiles should I have?

Once you understand that you should be monitoring and repairing your reputation, you will need to figure out how to do it.  As a rule of thumb the Big 4 social media sites are a great place to start. Generally your goal would be to obtain user profiles that are an exact match as the keyword you are trying to manage. In most cases this is a branded term such as your company name. Additioanly branded usernames are generally available on social media websites. Many sites, particularly niche sites, can be useful to your company and your specific ORM situation. But the 4 you must have are:
•    Twitter
•    LinkedIn
•    Facebook
•    MySpace

If you want to check across 120 different social sites to see which keywords or names are taken you can do so very easily with one of the best social media monitoring tools out there called KnowEm.com. Just type the desired username and click “Check Username”. Additionally, they offer a service that will register you on all those different social media sites as well for .50 cents per social media site.

Steps to Take

Once you have your accounts setup, you will need to do a few things before your campaign can be effective.

1. Create a complete profile
Simply obtaining the name twitter.com/companyname, isn’t enough.  You need a complete and full profile to have a legitimate working account, this includes bios, avatars etc. As much information that you can fill in and feed to search engine spiders, the better.

2. Engage and Interact
Participating in the community strengthens your profile and gives your account credibility. An account that has your name but nothing else looks like a spam account.

Also, you gain the added benefit of internal links from these social sites. If you just create a profile and let it sit then it doesn’t gain internal link equity it needs, for high SERP rankings, from other profile pages, group pages, etc.
Interacting (e.g. returning messages, commenting, voting) is vital to the strength of your profile.  For an example, check out the hat tip to Steve Espinosa for showing how to get DoFollowed links on YouTube here.

3. Monitor
When a company engages in social media they are opening themselves up for a lot of commentary regarding their brand. Be prepared to monitor the sentiment to measure if it’s positive or negative. Have a contingency plan for when you come across negative sentiment. I’ll spare the lesson on monitoring and handling sentiment and direct you to The Online Reputation Management Guide by Outspoken Media. Another good resource on ORM is The M&Ms of Online Reputation Management by @DaveSnyder.

Summary

Remember that social media profiles are only one small part of online reputation management but a critical step indeed. Even if you don’t have any negative sentiment in the SERPs, pre-empt now by registering and building out your profiles today to prevent it from happening in the future.

 Social Media Profiles for Online Reputation Management
Digital Marketing Strategist at Vizion Interactive. Author of A to Z: Social Media Marketing. International conference speaker. Industry columnist. Involved with SEO since 2001. Former Online Marketing Strategist for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Senior SEO at Overstock.com. Co-Founder of BlueGlass and Search & Social.

Comments are closed.

15 thoughts on “Social Media Profiles for Online Reputation Management

  1. Hiu Jordan. I just completed an SEO reputation management strategy for a client, which included much of what you list here. The main difference is that I did not include LinkedIn. I think a distinction needs to be made between individuals (like you and I) and organizations, since LinkedIn is for individuals. When the individual changes jobs, the LinkedIn profile moves with the individual, so it is not very useful for organizations.

  2. Great article Jordan. I think reputation management is going to become a pretty essential thing in business as right now it is like the wild west with anyone who has an internet connection being able to speak about your company to potentially millions. My company has already handled some very large accounts and the industry is a very exciting one.

    @ David, in all of my projects for clients we do include linkedin. I don’t see a huge difference between it and other social networking websites other than it is business based. I don’t think it would hurt at all to put up for your clients.

  3. I’ve got all of the above except for MySpace. I’m not really a fan of how it works. I prefer to add to the list Youtube and Flickr.

  4. Hi Jordan,

    Nice article. Even though the major social sites use nofollow, I strongly believe in creating profile on the social sites for growing your reputation. Onething, I think you missed is blogging. It seems like search engines are now giving more power at individual level. 5 years ago, we used to see many forum post pop-up, when we searched for something. But, now a days blogs have snatched that place. It is not only to stop bad mouths, it also can increase your repuatation.

    Asif Anwar.

  5. Great article on reputation management. I think personally that myspace has had its day and I personally do not attribute too much importance to that site now.

    You can also add Ning networks relevant to your industry for social media reputation.

    @Asif: Its not just about linking back. Even if it is a nofollow link the profiles are there because of the huge traffic they receive and it would be great for people to query about you/your business on the sites where they hang about (such as facebook etc)

  6. I’ve got all of the above except for MySpace. I’m not really a fan of how it works. I prefer to add to the list Youtube and Flickr.

  7. I’ve got all of the above except Twitter. LOL I’m not kidding, I don’t really find Tweet-ing interesting, not at the moment anyway.

    Anyway, back then I was posting a lot of things online and some people grabbed some blogs and pictures. And now, I am regretting having posted any of those because I fear that they might be a threat to my getting hired in the future. And those who grabbed them wouldn’t take the posts down. So I hired Reputation Technologies to do the job form. I’m very happy with their services. They got rid of the bad press in no time.

  8. Well, I have translated this article into Russian. But I'm not sure the strategy would work all the same with the social media sites in languages other than English. People read my translation nearly every day though…

  9. Definitely some good steps to take. LinkedIn would be the most professional/reputable. I'm not too sure about using MySpace tho, mainly due to users being much younger and people are moving away from it now.

  10. This is one of the ways to improve your reputation online. You can also try searching your competitors profile on social media and if you still don't have an account on some social media that they have you might want to create one on it.