Let’s face it, people are talking about your brand – and not always in a positive way. Whether it’s true or not, negative information can hurt your brand.
Potential customers, business partners, employees, and investors are all looking at your brand’s digital footprint. This includes mentions in social media and blogs, review sites, the media and countless other sources. If you Googled your brand right now, would you be happy with what you see?
Thanks to the relative ease with which people are now able to post information online, your company’s reputation is just as likely to be shaped by the opinions and feelings of others as it is your own carefully penned branding. Don’t be caught off-guard. Online reputation issues are difficult and sometimes impossible to fix.
Instead, take time now to build a strong positive reputation and make a habit of monitoring what’s being said about you online. In this two-part series, we offer tips to help you establish, grow, protect and manage your online reputation.
Establish your online reputation. The first step in protecting your reputation is to establish a strong online presence. Cast a wide net to gain maximum exposure.
· Include your brand’s name in your online domain name and purchase all extensions (.org, .net, .com, etc.) even if you plan to use only one. This is especially helpful if your brand name is similar to others or there are other people with the same name as you.
· The same thinking goes with social media. Claim your brand’s profiles on all social media networks. Actively maintain the ones that are most useful to your brand.
· Use tools to help manage your social media accounts, or just limit yourself to the two essential networks for online reputation management: LinkedIn and Google+.
Grow your presence. This important step allows you to expand your audience by offering useful information about your brand.
• We can’t emphasize this enough: LinkedIn and Google+ are ORM superheroes. As highly ranked social networking platforms they help fortify your brand’s online reputation. Keep your profiles up to date, post interesting content, get involved in discussions, and answer other people’s questions.
• SEO can help you rank highly and give users a chance to read about your brand in your own words first. Use Google’s free webmaster tools and follow these SEO best practices.
Next month we’ll offer tips for protecting your reputation and how to handle common issues.