How to Manage your Online Reputation

  Reputation management. That’s the driving force behind almost any PR effort. As PR practitioners, we understand how the process of online reputation management is governed by three laws;

  1. Monitoring what is being said about your company
  2. Addressing all that is said about your company, both positive and negative
  3. Building your online presence

Here are some tips to guide you through the process of shining your online brand reputation:Monitor your nameStart by Googling your company’s name. Be sure to do this with quotes, without quotes and in all variations of the name E.g. with and without inc, incorporation etc. View results on not just the first page, but the second and third page as well. This should give you a good gauge of public sentiments about your company. Monitoring should be an ongoing process, hence your next step should be setting up a monitoring system.Such a system will help you monitor the internet for anything that is being said about you and your brand. Google Alerts is an easy way to be kept in the loop of all mentions of your company. You have the option of receiving these email alerts as they occur, weekly, monthly or even via RSS feed. If you prefer text message alerts then Yahoo Alerts is likely to work better for you.A site I personally find very helpful is Rollyo. Rollyo.com allows you to create your own search engine to track specific web sites so the search results returned to you are tailored to your needs. This is an excellent tool for monitoring your company mentions in trade publications relevant to your company. Google Custom Search can also be used to this effect.Other web monitoring tools:

1. Addict-o-matic

This is a great tool that searches major search engines (like bing, twitter, youtube etc.) so the latest mentions of your company or keyword search are featured in source boxes. Sources can be added, deleted or rearranged.

2. Monitor This

This works in a similar fashion as Addict-o-matic, searching for new entries in 26 different search engines.

3. Technorati

Afree search engine for blogs where mentions of the company on blogs along with blog posts from the company will be found. Other blog search sites include blogpulse and backtype.

4.TweetBeep and SocialMention

Both monitor what is being said on the social media sphere. Tweetbeep sends email alerts whenever someone has tweeted your company, product, website or blog. While alerts can also be set on Socialmention, it allows for searches to be made on the user generated content from over 100 social media sites as well.

5. BoardTracker

This helps you keep track of mentions on forums with a search database of thousands of forums. Alerts can also be set for your company or product mention.

Manage the DamageThat was step one. Now for step two: addressing what is said about your company. Almost always, if people are talking about your brand, you can be sure that some of that is to your detriment.Address the negative immediately and you do this by contacting the source of the negative remark. Investigate how the negative content got published through contact with the website owner and request for its removal. Web site owners often comply and remove hostile mentions.There are several ways you can contact a webmaster:

1. The ‘contact us’ link, homepage or anywhere else on the website sometimes provides telephone or email contact for the webmaster, if not,

2. Use a special search engine called ‘Whois‘.

3. On Google, you can also type whois followed by the web address in the search bar and Google it E.g. whois www.eastwestpr.com. The results may not be tidy, but it almost always returns at least an email address.

In the event that the webmaster cannot be reached, contact the site’s hosting company instead. That information should be readily available on who.is.After you have successfully removed the negative mention on the source, request Google to remove outdated information by submitting a webpage removal request or the adverse mentions will continue to appear on the search results until Google crawls the site again.Avoid solely paying attention to negative mentions because positive mentions not only provide an avenue to nurture consumer loyalty but any mention is a wealth of consumer intelligence as well. Trends in the nature of your company mentions are indicative of your target audience profiles.Now that you have remedied the concerns, you can focus on establishing more control over your online presence.Establish presenceCrowd out! That should be your mantra when building your reputation online. Post as much positive content about your brand, product and company as possible because this will not only boost your company’s brand awareness, but also helps in pushing the negative content down the ranks of your search results. That is perhaps the best way for you to combat the negative content online.Here are some crowding out techniques:

1. Book Names Early

If you haven’t purchased a domain with your company name, do it now! Even if it’s just to publish a webpage that simply outlines your company profile and contact details.

You never want to risk frustrating customers, clients and associates by not being ‘searchable’. Go Daddy, Domain.com and Asia Registry are good sources for purchasing domain names.

Profiles on popular social networks especially the likes of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn should also be quickly created under the company name. Once the names are snapped up, your social media strategy, no matter how brilliant, will be diluted by the lack of "searchability" of your company profile.

Setting up a Google profile will also help.

2. Link it Up

Add sites and webpages associated with your company to your own website. These links will also aid in pushing existing negative mentions further down Google’s rankings.

3. Local search sites

These are often referred to as the yellow pages of the web, hence ensure that your company is listed on these sites.

4. Third Person

Always write about your company in the third person because search engines will be likely to afford it greater credibility.

5. Author Content

Fresh content is vital to maintaining brand presence on the internet. Writing a company blog on top of your official website is definitely an avenue worth exploring. WordPress should be explored for setting up professional blogs.

Popular blog sites are often picked up by Google and a blog is an excellent tool to help you position your company as thought leaders in your industry while allowing engagement with your target audience.

Other ways you can publish content under your company’s name is by writing reviews, contributing articles on industry association websites, professional blogs, Amazon.com or even writing as a guest blogger on prominent industry professionals active on the blogosphere.

It is important to note that reputation management is an ongoing process, whether online or offline and so these efforts should be put into continuous effect. Good luck shining the shoes of your organisation!To speak to us about managing your reputation, please send us an enquiry.Picture sourced from: http://blog.safetyweb.com/online-reputation-how-to-manage-your-online-reputation/

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