July 30, 2010
Practicing online reputation management is a must for any public relations professional who believes his or her company may face a corporate crisis in the future. As our news gathering and reporting moves online, online reputation management is becoming more important. Now, news stories and blogs are being indexed by search engines, and many times, if a company makes the news, that can sometimes be the first item found in the search engine rankings.
Proactive PR is important for online reputation management, because it means you are creating positive search engine results, which can keep negative search results from ever appearing. You can focus on positive content-generating activities, rather than putting out fires via reactive management.
Here are five ways to improve your online reputation management.
Start a blog. Fill it with as much positive information as you can find. News releases, product and service descriptions, customer questions, employee interviews, and anything else you can think of. The more content you can create, the better your online reputation management efforts will be, because you will have a central location you can direct people to.
Create a Twitter profile and a Facebook page. Fill your networks with customers, journalists, and anyone else who would have an interest in your company. Answer customer care questions, link to your blog posts, and be a valuable resource to anyone you interact with on these networks. An important part of your online reputation management will be to create positive relationships with people. This way, if something ever does go wrong, you’ll have a group of people who are willing to support you, or at least forgive you.
Use your own face and name on your company’s social media profiles. While this may not be possible for a large corporation, it’s crucial for a small business. An important part of your online reputation management will be to put a personal face on your corporate brand. People will be able to relate to your company more easily, which will make your online reputation management efforts much easier.
Join a niche social network for your industry. Start communicating with people on the network, especially answering questions and providing information. You can help your online reputation management by becoming a trusted resource among your industry peers and customers. Form relationships with people on the network, make referrals to people inside and outside the network, and work to become a regular, well-known presence in the group. If there is a crisis that hits the media, you may end up finding allies in your industry group who will speak favorably about you.
Good online reputation management includes effective search engine optimization. Do all of these other steps with an eye toward SEO. Your ultimate goal is to win all searches on the big three search engines; Google, Bing, and Yahoo; which will help keep negative entries off the front page. If you’re already sitting on top of the mountain, it will be harder to unseat you. But if you aren’t even on the front page when an incident blows up, you’ll have a hard time getting to the front page let alone the top of the results. And the longer you wait to begin, the harder it will be.
It’s important you begin your online reputation management efforts immediately. If you ever find yourself in a crisis, and the news results hit the search engines, it’s too late to start thinking about online reputation management. You’ll be playing catchup for days, weeks, and even months later, trying to overcome every news story, blog entry, and tweet that other people have been posting while you’re still setting up your first Twitter account.
The key to online reputation management is to do it before you ever need it, and to create a positive online brand. Follow these five steps and you’ll be ahead of the game.
Rostin Ventures principals have extensive experience in restoring reputations online, using Reverse SEO among other tactics to provide positive Online Reputation Management Services (ORM Services). When an individual or company name is being searched in Google, Yahoo, Bing and an undesired page or website appears, they can push the negative page back in the search results where it will rarely, if ever be found. www.RostinVentures.com