You already know that you need to manage your online reputation, but do you know how? A dedicated online reputation management (ORM) campaign encompasses various tools and methodologies. Rather than going about your reputation management haphazardly, consider taking a methodical approach -- and starting with these 8 best practices.
1. Have a strategy. We know this seems intuitive, but too often people attempt an ORM campaign without clearly mapping out the process. Most people and unfortunately, reputation companies, use a "spray and pray" approach to online brand management. They just create a bunch of websites and hope for the best. It almost never works. Before you can really begin a proactive campaign, you need to figure out where you currently stand, define what you want your ideal online profile to be, and research which tools and services will help you get there.
2. Listen. “Listening,” in this context, refers to monitoring what’s said about you online. That means paying close attention to mentions of your name or your company’s name on social media, search engine listings, review websites, and other platforms where you might come up. We recommend using special software designed to scan the web for mentions so that you never miss one when it pops up.
3. Become a PR pro. Don’t just monitor what people say about you—engage with them. This can mean thanking customers for their support, giving positive and actionable responses to negative feedback, and making sure that good information about you or your company is widely shared. Creating a sense of community around your brand will inspire others to work with you and trust in your services and ideas.
4. Build up positive associations. This can mean executing a widespread link building campaign, contributing guest posts, participating in collaborative partnerships with other brands or websites, and interacting positively with consumers. The more good content you’re associated with, the better you look overall.
5. Dedicate at least 75% of your budget to content and SEO. Content and SEO are the most resource-intensive aspects of any reputation building campaign. Many ORM companies save money by skipping SEO and instead opting to sign clients up for monitoring, a low-cost endeavor that rarely pays off. At least 75% of a client’s budget should be allocated to the creation of high-quality content and SEO. The building of web pages should take up not more than 10% of the budget in most cases.
6. Nurture your offline reputation. If your goal is to build up positive feedback and associations online, you’ve got to encourage people to engage. That means providing exceptional service and then inciting customers to share their experience with others through online mentions and reviews.
7. Go to the source. If you’ve found negative content about yourself online, your ultimate goal should always be to have it removed. Unless the information is libelous you won’t have any legal recourse, so your best mode of action is to directly contact either the person who posted the negative material or the person who manages the website it’s posted on. Respond to negative feedback in a mature and thoughtful way, offering solutions instead of defenses. You’d be surprised how often people just want their experience to be acknowledged.
8. Diversified IP hosting. This one’s for professional reputation managers. If you’re managing the reputations of more than one client, make sure to never cluster their websites on the same server. If they are, it’s easy for detractors to check the other sites on the server, see reputation management client sites, and expose people and companies. You’ll still be able to share servers, just not with other online reputation clients.
Want to know more? Contact the experts at Reputation X. We're happy to help.