What comes up when you go search for your name on Google? No, not just your personal name. Your business name, a product you offer, or your company.
Ever tried that? No? Then you are in the right place because you need to see why you should put out time and effort to save the face of your brand.
Now here is the big question.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Sometimes you don’t get the answers to life’s questions until you get hit by experience. Let’s get you experienced a bit 🙂
Go to Google, type in your name, your business name or the name of your product. What do you see? If you see NOTHING, then congrats! You have done a poor job of managing your online reputation. That sucks.
Now, if you had to sell that product of yours to someone who is really acquainted with searching things online, do you think you will make a sale? HMMM…Probably not – Unless they simply choose to trust you.
Managing your online reputation is about establishing yourself as a credible and trustworthy person/brand. Maybe not an authority in the field but at least, a transparent brand. Establishing yourself in this case could start by having a website, or belonging to a social network, forum, or community.
A Bad Experience
I once did something, I would never do again… Guess what it was? I got into an argument with someone in a forum. At this time, my website was online and ranking for my name, my social handles also showed up in search results whenever my name was typed in.
My argument with this person on this forum went threads deep, to the point I found myself so enraged, we began throwing shades at each other. Then you know what happened? Google picked up every occurrence of my name on that argument, associated it with the false report the person gave about me on the forum, then ranked it everywhere! Bad Google…..
For literally a month, whenever you search my name on Google, all you see were those arguments, my website nor social handles were nowhere to be found on the search listings and it almost ruined my brand.
I lost a lot of jobs, but I really had to wait for Google to bring down those results themselves after I had lodged a complaint with them.
Well, I’m free today though – but what I really tried to point out is, even if you do have an online reputation to manage, be careful what you post online, really. It matters a lot.
As a brand, do not engage in arguments or shade discussions. If your brand focuses on fashion, make reasonable and helpful comments on fashion related posts, forums and websites. Sure, you can be in some other niches too, but make sure you are doing the right thing. One wrong report from someone can leave a bad impression for a long time. Don’t wait till it happens to you 🙂
Now, here is a bigger question.
How Do You Manage Your Online Reputation?
Online Reputation Management is very important for any business. The key is to be transparent. Let customers see through you and your brand. Here are some useful tips to manage your online reputation.
Claim Your Brand Name
Make sure that name is not taken by someone else. You need to be sure someone else doesn’t have control of that name which might be misrepresenting you or your brand online. There are cool services out there you can use to check for instances of your brand online.
- UserNameCheck.com (Currently Under Maintenance)
Properly Managing Your Brand Name
Once you have checked and you are sure that instances of your brand name is available, you can proceed to managing your brand name. Instances of your brand name is this case can be the availability of the domain name for your brand and social media usernames. For example, if the name of your brand is XYZ Clothing, availing your brand means nobody else is using instances of your brand name and you can easily use:
www.xyzclothing.com (As your website address)
@xyzclothing.com (As your Twitter, Facebook & Instagram username)
It is also important to maintain consistence across all social channels so your customers will find it easy to reach you.
Monitoring Your Brand Name
Claiming and managing your brand name are only 2 parts of the equation when it comes to successfully managing your reputation online. One of, if not the most important pieces of reputation management is the process of actually monitoring your brand online. Monitoring search results, blog posts, tweets, status updates and other mentions online can be an extremely difficult and time consuming task. Fortunately, there are some great tools available for businesses to properly monitor their brand name.
Top Brand Monitoring Tools
With all of these resources, you will need to enter in your top search terms that you want to monitor. For example, if your company is XYZ Clothing then one of your search terms would be “xyz clothing”. These resources will query the major search engines, blogs and online mentions to let you know what has been picked up by the search engines.
Where To Go From Here
The best thing you can do to protect, manage and monitor your brand and online reputation is to post a lot of really good, interesting, useful content. This content should be / could be about pretty much anything that has to do with your business, clients, products, solutions, challenges, etc. There are literally thousands of things you can write about and post online. In addition, content does not just need to be text. Content can and should be videos, photos, podcasts, e-books and newsletters as well.
It is also important to have a blog to house all your content. A blog can be an extension of your website, or the whole website itself depending on the model of your business.
Hire a capable digital agency to help design your website or you can do it yourself if you have the technical skill.
Also make sure to post consistently on your social media platforms to keep your audience engaged. You can use tools like PostMote, Buffer and Later to automatically schedule posts across your various social media platforms.
Do you have any additional ideas, solutions or suggestions that have been effective in protecting and managing your brand? I guess everyone would love to hear them. Feel free to leave a comment below.