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Having to monitor your online reputation proactively is often thought of as the negative side of social media. Online reputation management has become a way of life for many organizations including public officials and various sorts of online related businesses. It’s a fact that bad news can spread at the speed of light online.
If you have a negative reputation online, it can affect your sales, brand, customer relationships, employees, and even families. With millions of people going online everyday looking for information for their needs, having an online reputation management process in place that you can monitor proactively is crucial for your business.
Monitoring your reputation online is not just important for organizations, but for people as well. It is now the norm for companies to go online and search for more information about a prospective hire. This means that personal reputation management online is becoming important if you are looking for a key position. Are you comfortable with your public information online?
The management of your online reputation can be set up with three basic levels. Many times you will not have to move beyond the first level of this strategy.
1. Monitoring for any mentions
Set up tracking processes that can notify you as soon as keywords that you have specified are mentioned on the social web. These keywords can include your brand names, key employees, products, services, and even your competitors’ names. Google Alerts is a free tool that you can use to start with your monitoring process and is quite easy to set up. As soon as Google Alerts picks up any of the keywords you have specified mentioned on the web, it will notify you of the mention.
There are many other sophisticated tools available that you can use for monitoring your reputation online like BrandsEye and Radian6. These tools can also provide you with valuable information regarding your online presence and can also even be used to spy on what your competitors are doing.
2. Responding to any feedback
Once you are notified of any positive or negative mention online, it is very important to assess the mention and find the best response — if it requires any. If the mention was a negative comment, never leave the mention or conversation unanswered. Analyse and look at what the problem is before jumping in to protect your business. Sometimes this can turn into a snowball effect and go viral. I’ve seen this happen many times where businesses ignore the conversation going on about them.
3. Repairing your online reputation
If you have a negative reputation online, there is a process you can follow to restore and repair your image. Google never forgets and if the negative information is public, you will have to start a campaign of positive digital PR that uses various digital marketing methods to dilute and push the negative comments and feedback down the search engine result pages.
Even though you can push the negative information further down the search results, take some time and see where the problem started, and what you can fix internally so that it doesn’t happen again.
Online reputation management is becoming increasingly important in today’s digital business lifestyle where anyone can be a citizen journalist and post anything publicly for the world to see. If you don’t have some sort of process in place to monitor what is currently being talked about you online, how will you be able to respond?