When someone searches for your personal name, brand, or business online what will they find?
What they should find is your website, blog, and main social profiles. However, for many brands and individuals bad reviews, complaints, and negative content is ranking right at the top of the search results and being tossed around on social media.
The practice of cleaning up these areas, monitoring what is being said by others and knowing how to combat these issues is a process called reputation management.
We all want to look better online, so I compiled a killer post of great information and recommendations from different experts in the industry that focus their efforts on SEO, ORM, blogging, social media and of course… business!
By the time you finish reading through this article, you might just be an expert yourself!
Understand what Exactly Online Reputation Management Is
You’ve likely heard of “online reputation management (ORM)” before, and in some cases you might even think of it as being shady and trying to cover up the truth. However, just like every agency has a different goal and customer has a different problem, the same holds true for ORM.
Do “shady” brands, celebrities, politicians and businesses need ORM? Of course… but so do the cleanest and more professional brands and individuals!
In short, ORM is all about knowing what people are saying about you online, knowing where it’s being said, and how to repair, control and monitor these mentions at the same time.
If you already know a thing or two about ORM and SEO, there are many similarities between the two.
“Online Reputation Management is really all about controlling the positive press about your brand, business or name while suppressing the negatives. The more positive, engaging content you have out there on reputable sites, the better your brand or name looks. No one understands this better than SEO Companies as the core of ORM rely on standard SEO Practices.” – Mike Salvaggio, seobrand.com
Own Your Search Results
One of the absolute best ways to control your online reputation and how people see your brand online, is by making sure you “own” the search results. By this we mean having as many page one rankings for your personal or brand name as possible.
This is something I previously covered in my Job Hunter’s Guide article on SEJ, which covered the concept of creating an online resume, securing your own domain name and registering your username (personal/brand name) across all the social networks. In short, the more high quality and authority sites and social networks you can secure, the more likely you are to rank multiple times on the main page for your name, brand or business.
“Build a blog with amazing content and build relationships with influencers that have an audience you want. Promote your content and the influencers content across all channels and before you know it you’ll own page 1.” – Ian Cleary, RazorSocial.com
Use Software to Monitor Your Mentions Online
Gone are the days when you had to go to Google and manually look up your name or brand to see where it’s ranking in the search results. Now, through the power of software, not only can this process be automated, it can also keep you updated on new mentions in the process.
A free tool like Google Alerts allows you to type in the keyword / name you want to monitor and Google will send you an email every time it finds a new mention within it’s search results. There are also much more advanced and premium tools like Mention.net and Trackur, which allow you to monitor mentions across all web sites, blogs, and social networks.
No matter how you are monitoring for personal and brand name mentions online, the important thing is that you are.
“Software levels the playing field so that companies of all sizes can monitor what’s being said about them online. You no longer need to have a staffed “war room” in order to keep track of your online reputation.” – Andy Beal, Trackur
Actively Search & Respond to Social Media Mentions
It’s not enough to simply know where people are talking about your personal name or brand, it’s also important to know why and how to respond to these statements.
In many cases, reputation management services are used by brands that have products, customers, and reviews associated with their business. Reviews are one of the most powerful, effective and influential ways to persuade someone to take action during a decision or buying process. Sites like Yelp, ConsumerReports, RipOffReport, and TripAdvisor have millions of reviews that ultimately affect the bottom line for millions of businesses around the world.
In addition to review sites, brands also need to monitor forums, blogs and social networks for mentions, reviews and feedback as well. Many brands will actively monitor and respond to all social activity (mainly on Twitter) when their name is mentioned, tweeted, or used in a hashtag. Social media feedback has been one of the most effective and fastest ways for brands to connect with their customers.
“Customer service has really moved online, people are using social platforms like Twitter and Facebook to resolve issues, if you aren’t monitoring what is being said about you online one simple complaint can lead to a snowball of complaints that will likely result in a drop in sales.” – Logan Chierotti, InternetReputation.com
Build a Blog to Share Your Message & Own Your Content
Over the past several years, blogging has exploded as a powerful means for anyone to create their own message and bring it online. At the same time it’s also become a powerful platform for building an authoritative reputation and resource tool.
To secure as many page one rankings in the search results as possible, you want to own as many authority sites and social profiles as possible. Creating a blog around your personal or business brand is one of the best ways to accomplish this.
Through the use of a blog, you can also create original content that expands well beyond your reach by interviewing industry experts through blog posts, podcasts or video interviews. Not only will this content be seen on your site, but it will also likely be shared by those whom you interview as well.
Blogs tend to rank very well in the search results and they allow you to create valuable content and become a resource of information for your audience and customers. Blogging also allows you to link back to all of your social profiles, while building a two-way conversation with your audience through blog commenting.
“Many people, from doctors and lawyers to SEO experts, have successfully used blogging to become thought leaders in their industry and build a personal brand to challenge competitors with much higher marketing and PR budgets…a blog, especially when paired with an expanding social or professional network online, is one of the most cost-effective brand marketing tools available.” – Todd William, ReputationRhino.com
Reach New Audiences by Being an Authority in Your Space
While the internet has allowed customers to take their thoughts, reviews, and complaints online, it has also helped individuals and experts of all sizes build their expertise into brands and businesses of their own.
For example: Search Engine Journal receives thousands of visitors to their site every day. Each individual author on this site is an expert in their own way. Combine the benefits of SEJ’s reach and the expert content available through the site and everyone wins – SEJ gets expert content, the experts get more exposure, and the readers win across the board.
Another perfect example of this would be my interview with SEJ on their Marketing Nerds podcast. SEJ gets quality content, I get exposure and the audience gets value.
This same type of mentality should be practiced by every online marketer, expert, coach or professional that wants to further their reach and expertise in any market. Web sites, blogs, news, and media outlets are always looking for great content, expert interviews, and of course quotes (like I did in this post).
Imagine the free exposure and branding you could be receiving by reaching out into these areas.
“There has never been a better time for anyone to establish their authority and expertise thanks to the power of the internet. Through content marketing, guest blogging, press coverage and media mentions, you can reach a whole new audience while bringing authority and branding to your name in the process.” – Tim Bourquin, OnlineReputation.com
Your Reputation is what You Make it Out to Be… Don’t Blow It
We can talk about reputation management secrets, methods, tools, and tactics all we want, but at the end of the day, your reputation ultimately comes down to what you make of it.
This can clearly be seen when looking at the world’s most reputable companies list, which has many familiar names like Walt Disney, Google, BMW, Rolex, Sony, Canon, and Apple. These are all brand names that people love to work with, buy from, and even become advocates and huge fans (following them on social media, wearing their products and even paying a bit more just to have that well-known name/logo product).
Sure, all of these companies have their own problems, complaints, and disasters every once in a while, but they also have a lasting impression that connects with their audience, provides value, and have created a longterm relationship.
These are the same attributes every individual and brand should be focusing their efforts on.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – @WarrenBuffett
Now it’s time for you to take what you’ve learned and put it into action. To get things started, head over to Google and see what ranks in the search results for your personal name, brand and business!
Featured image credit: Depositphotos