Your online reputation is your brand’s reputation.
Today, word of mouth exists primarily online. Reviews, searching, trends… they all exist online. So when someone says something about your brand, or wants to know something about your brand, guess where they go. You got it! They go online. From our smartphones to our tablets and computers, to interacting with family, friends, colleagues and customers, our lives – and thus our reputations – exist online.
With the changing of Google’s algorithms and with the unlimited amount of tweets, blog posts, videos, comments, discussions and others that get published to the world wide web on a daily – make it hourly – basis, if you aren’t focusing on managing your online reputation in 2013, well, I hate to say it but you may very well be screwed.
Here’s the bottom line:
> If you don’t have an online presence, you’re at risk.
> If you don’t monitor your online presence, you’re at risk.
> If you don’t manage and maintain your online presence, you’re at risk.
Managing your online reputation in 2013
If you thought things went social in 2012, just wait ’til you see what happens in 2013! People and businesses really started to get comfortable with social media in 2012, but we also saw the high-risk factor that social media and the web present to our reputations as both personal and corporate brands. 2013 is only going to be a continuation of this social world, and for that, each and every company, organization, scholar and personal brand needs to be prepared.
The following are some highly important strategies your company or organization needs to put in place, early on in 2013:
Set up your monitoring posts
It’s important that you actually pay attention to what others are saying about you, your brand, your product, services and your industry, online. Your social media monitoring should be a 24/7 activity, though it does not need to take 24/7 of anybody’s actual time. No matter what monitoring needs or budget your company has, there are tools out there that will help you know what is being said about your company or organization, 24/7/365. This, ladies and gentlemen, is NOT an option!
Create an online presence for your company or organization – and maintain that presence
Although having a website and some very high-ranking social profiles (Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Quora, About.me, etc) is a must, it’s also just the first step. The second step – another must – is to be active on these platforms. Having nothing but a stagnant website won’t do much for you when you find yourself in some hot social media water. Google loves relevancy, consistency and activity. So it’s very important that you maintain your online presence, if you want your presence to hold its own in a crisis.
Build a strong reputation and good-will online
Unfortunately, there’s no quick way to do this. Fortunately, your brand advocates and online friends count for a lot in an online crisis. Trust me when I say that building a credible reputation online and forming real and lasting relationships with people, pays off in substantial ways when you find yourself the center of negative online attention.
Focus on your search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO is not something that is built overnight. It takes time, consistency and a strategy. But when we’re talking about managing your online reputation, having a solid online presence with good, consistent rankings in the search engines will help you significantly. The time to start thinking about your online rankings and optimization is NOT when your world gets turned upside down, and you find yourself in a viral attack with negativity flooding the search engines. Focusing on your SEO for crisis management is a long-term strategy that needs to be undertaken before you find yourself faced with a crisis. Doing so will give you a significant and strategic edge in a crisis, to:
- Communicate your key messages to your audience, making sure that searchers find YOUR version of the story when they search
- Help you keep your name above the negativity flooding the search engine results pages (SERP)
When dealing with Internet defamation, learn your rights and act fast!
Internet defamation is beginning to be more and more of an issue for brands – both corporate and personal. What many don’t realize is that, when it comes to online defamation, the law tends to be on the side of the victim. However, many make the mistake of avoiding the issue, thinking it will pass and not have any serious repercussions on their business’s reputation or bottom-line. Unfortunately, these companies find out the hard way just how wrong they were. When it comes to Internet defamation, you have rights and you need to act fast. Learn more about the options that lie before you when dealing with Internet defamation, by clicking here.
Your online reputation can literally make or break your company. It’s not something to be taken lightly, or to be tossed to the side-lines for a rainy day. Maintaining a strong, positive online reputation takes strategy and time. But the good news is that the more you work at it, the stronger it gets, making it harder for others to bring you down. So, what should be at the top of your to-do list this year? Your online reputation management, that’s what!
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.