Sam Jacobs, the public relations manager of a reputed software company was a worried person last month. Due to an internal restructuring, several employees had to be transferred within the organization to new roles last month. Some of these employees were unhappy with this sudden change, and decided to quit. Once the exit formalities were over, they took to the social media to speak negatively about this incident. Soon, it became a hot topic, and was being discussed everywhere. Soon, the brand image of the company was in serious jeopardy.
Sam spoke with a digital marketing agency which was an expert in handling online reputation related matters. The agency swung into action immediately. Once the concerns of the people discussing the issue in a frenzied way were responded to with the correct picture from the company’s point of view, slowly people understood the reasons for the sudden transfers. Slowly, the matter was put to rest, without causing any serious damage to the company’s reputation.
Have you also heard about a similar incident? Whether you are a company or a personal brand, you need to guard your reputation with utmost care. With the Internet becoming a part of everyone’s life today, there is a chance that already, or sometime in the future, you will become a topic of discussion for many people, not always in a positive way.
Steps for building and maintaining your online reputation:
Step 1: Check where you stand currently:
Knowing your present a petition should be the starting point for you. The easiest way to check your reputation is to search for your name or your brand name on Google. The search results will give you an idea about what is stored in Google’s index against your name.
Another easy way to do this is to create a Google Alert with your brand name as the keyword. Doing this will ensure that Google delivers an email every day, whenever something regarding your brand has featured on the Internet.
Step 2: Build your reputation:
If you are really serious about building a strong image, create a website or a blog. You should also create accounts in some of the major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google plus and LinkedIn. Depending on your business, you might want to look at the other platforms like Pinterest, and Instagram as well. Start producing great content in the form of blog posts, Facebook posts, graphics and tweets regularly. Once people start reading these, and look forward for more, you know that you are on the right path to building your reputation.
Step 3: Enhance your reputation:
The next step is to build your brand authority as an expert. If you are an expert in any subject, or your brand does something really well, then highlight that as far as possible through the content that you create. You can also contribute content to some of the professional groups in LinkedIn, Facebook and Google plus. Create Facebook Notes. Tweet regularly. Contribute to your Google plus page.
The list is endless, but the aim is one: build your brand as an authority on that subject, or the product that you sell. When you become an expert, then your SEO efforts also bear fruit. Google will notice this and start featuring your website, social media profiles and content high up in its search engine result pages.
Another great way to get recognized is to attend the major industry events that are held around the year. Get connected to other experts and influential people. When you network regularly, both online and off-line, your reputation grows significantly.
Step 4: Protect your reputation ferociously:
The best way to protect your reputation is to keep your customers and other stakeholders happy with you.
1. Handle your customers well:
A valuable piece of advice here: information spreads like wildfire on the Internet, more so if it is negative information or rumor. So always try to proactively anticipate whether any situation might get out of the hand. Continuous firefighting might be required to handle negative feedback and discussions, so it is better to take care of the issues before they even reach the public domain. Doing all the following will decrease the chances of a negative feedback or a low rating by an aggrieved customer.
Let people know that you are not just a faceless brand, and your social media pages are not handled by robots. Keep interacting with your customers regularly. Listen to what they say, respond to their requests and feedback, and try to resolve any problems that they are facing. If you are a business, then you might want to entrust some social media savvy employees or a specialist digital marketing agency with this job.
2. Listen to your competitors:
To avoid the chances of your customers spreading rumours or negative information about you, keep an eye on what they are saying. If someone is trying to harm your reputation, then present the correct information to counter such negative publicity. There are many Social Media Monitoring Tools that make this process easy.
3. Increase Media presence:
Sometimes, coming up with press releases can help you to fight negative publicity effectively. Through these you can present the right information in front of the world and let them know your point of view as well.
Reputation building is an ongoing process and often requires expert handling. Online Reputation Management is the digital marketing service that you will need to build, enhance and protect your brand image in the online space.