search industry

Reputation Management and Reputation Monitoring Tips

Reputation Management and Reputation Monitoring Tips

One of the fastest growing areas of search marketing is the little corner of the web where all of your secrets are hiding. If you don’t want people such as your customers to know about your troubled past, then reputation management is something that you or your company can benefit from. Now, I should note that reputation management isn’t only just about pushing bad reviews down in the SERPs – nope – Good reputation management involves identifying a problem and the person voicing the problem, then reaching out to them to find a solution. There are many examples in history such as “Dell Hell” where a company has ignored the opportunity to reach out and actually fix the problem at hand.

In today’s search landscape that is growing more and more Blended – you’ll see search results that aren’t just reviews any more. Videos, digg results, pictures, news items and a growing number of alternative “Voices” are being included in the search results, posing a difficult task for anyone that wants to manage their reputation. For a company that has spent years managing their reputation, a single negative piece of content online can ruin a brand.

How Do You Manage Reputation Online?
The first thing that you should do is gauge the scope of a brand that you want to monitor. IF you’re a small company, then you have fewer employees that have a voice or that can screw up. If your company is larger than, I would say even 10 people, then you have a more difficult task at hand because each of your employees may be running a blog or may be taking phone calls or emails that are not known to you. Managing reputation online should include key executive people , subsidiaries, brands, trademarks, products and your company name. There are so many variations of “your reputation” that people can discuss, and getting a handle on them is just the first step in deciding the scope of your reputation that you want to monitor.

How Do You Monitor Reputation Online?
Within just an hour, a blog post can be posted on a popular site and then it can be dug and have been seen by 100s of thousands of people. So how do you control this – How do you know when this happens? There’s a few ways to get “in the know”:

  • RSS Feeds – sites like Feedster, Technorati, Digg, BlogPulse, etc
  • Google & Yahoo Alerts – Use your brand or a person’s name
  • Monitor Social Media sites in your niche.
  • Monitor buzz sites like Yahoo Buzz or Google Hot Trends
  • Use tools like boardtracker.com to monitor Forums

When I was at SMX West in Santa Clara Chris Bennett of 97th Floor stated that “Understanding Google’s Algorithm to better Your Reputation management Objectives” is a good Tool to manage reputation. Essentially understand how information flows and how people disseminate it. One of the best ways to combat negative reputation results is understand why that result is there in the first place. How recent is that result and how well do they rank. Understand that one thing that you CAN do is use your SEO skills to build up authoritative pages such as social media profiles that contain a lighter-side of your company. If you own the social media profiles, then you will own the content and the voice.

To understand how important this is, take a company like Microsoft and do a Google search for Microsoft “tags” and check out how many social profiles there are out there that people have created with that company’s name. This is the same concept of registering multiple variations of a domain name to protect from cyber squatters.

Engage and Solve the Problem
The last and probably most important strategy for reputation management is to solve the problem. There are so many sites out there that offer ways for a company reach out and attempt to solve the problem rather than just banter back and forth. By engaging the community that has posted any negative comments about your company you will be miles ahead because you show that you care and are taking time to address the issues.

Ultimately reputation management is your job. No one else will do it for you and yet there are plenty of people out there that could ruin your brand in seconds by posting negative information about you or your company. The best advice that I can give is to…

BE READY – Have your monitoring plan in place.
ACT – know how to diffuse a negative situation and show sympathy.
LEARN – People voice opinions when they feel strongly, listen to those opinions.

Resources that are very helpful in managing your identity:

FindMeOn.com – This allows you to put together a list of your networks and then watch them all!

Keotag.com – Search tagged blog posts that may include your name or brand.

SimplifID.com – One ID for all your online profile.

Garlik.com – Identity theft research tool – searches for mentions of your name or brand.

Monitor This – track keywords and monitor mentions across many blogs.

SocialURL.com – Allows you to see all of your profiles.

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