5 Tips for Keeping a Strong Online Reputation

by on March 1, 2011

Symphony by Ben Hein

If you’re kick-butt professional with tons of referrals and your website is just a business card, you may be thinking a positive online reputation is something you don’t have to worry about it. In fact, Darren Slatten, world’s greatest SEO, master of reputation mis-management (titles he gave himself) and wanna-be comedian (title we gave him), wrote a very pointed article about reputation management in 2009.

Darren finishes the article with the point, “Reputation management is like link-building. If people value your shit, you don’t need to worry about it.”

That’s a nice quote. Reputation management is like link building… but there’s a problem. We can’t all be Darren Slatten. – And, since we can’t all be Darren, the rest of us might want to make sure our online reputation doesn’t tank.

Being proactive is one of the best ways for an online professional to keep strong muscles on a powerhouse reputation. Build your online reputation and keep it strong with the following tips:

Tip #1: Add YouTube RSS feeds to your feed reader.

Why? The Comcast video search goes a long way to giving the answer.

  • Video is big and anybody can make one.
  • Video can easily go viral.
  • One bad video can bring about “bad video offshoots”, causing negative publicity and reputation to spread.

Bonus Video Management Tips:

  1. Set your feeds up with relevant tags, such as brand names, company name, head officers, etc.
  2. Have an action plan for how you would address negative video feedback – before it happens.
  3. Make sure you post the video “in response to” the negative video. This ensures that people seeing the first will also see a link to yours, giving it more visibility.
  4. Don’t forget to fill in all the available boxes for details – meta info, description, tightly focused keywords, etc. This also gives your video response more visibility in the video SERPs.

Tip #2: Subscribe to Google Alerts.

Why? Google Alerts can show you what’s being indexed in the SERPs for:

  • Your name
  • Your company name
  • Your brand name
  • Specific products
  • Your website and/or URL
  • Other specified, important key terms

Bonus Alerts Tips:

  1. Set your Google Alerts with carefully thought out terms.
  2. Be specific with your terms: if you search for, say, “real estate”, you’ll get a slew of alerts you don’t want.
  3. Again, have an action plan for addressing negative feedback.

Tip #3: Monitor realtime social media using hashtags and regular terms.

Why? Twitter is a daily conversation. People share dreams and disappointments, including reviews like “[Company] products suck!” or “Still trying to reach [Company] customer service rep. after three hours.” Not only does Twitter give you a chance to monitor, but it also gives you a chance to provide instant customer service.

Bonus Realtime Tips:

  1. Use realtime search to find key terms your products /services /brand /company might come up in.
  2. Set email alerts for these terms.
  3. For company and branded terms, set the “how often” to “as-it-happens”.
  4. Be prepared to respond instantly to “as-it-happens” realtime alerts.
  5. Have an action plan for responding to other alerts.

Tip #4: Have a loose content strategy prepared for damage control.

Why? It’s harder – and less effective – to create an ORM campaign in the middle of the crisis. Content is the heaviest hitter when it comes to ORM.

Bonus Content Tips:

  1. Create a loose outline; “if this happens, we’ll do this.”
  2. Consider creating mini sites where content can be placed as soon as it’s written.
  3. Once a site is created, occasionally feed content into it to keep it “active”.
  4. Use each site as an “insta-posting” site, should damage control be needed.

Tip #5: Spend time creating strong, loyalty-based relationships.

Why? The obvious answer is, because it’s good for business. The less obvious answer is because loyal customers make a more convincing argument against negative brand reputation than company mouths.

Bonus Relationship Building Tips:

  1. Make sure your services/products meet the promises you make about them.
  2. Offer quality customer service and more than one way (email, phone, Twitter, Facebook, etc) for your customers to contact you.
  3. Don’t be afraid to address potential situations online. If you see a negative remark about your company on Twitter, address it immediately – live and in front of everybody. “I’m sorry to hear you had a bad experience. Please tell me how I can help.”
  4. Always take the higher road. Never respond with a negative comment, no matter how much you might want to.
  5. Make sure your social relationships know you’re human. Don’t try so hard to be professional that people wonder if you’re a bot.

Conclusion

While reputation management is like link building, think about how hard it is to get organic links. Anyone who has ever started a blog, posted great content and waited for links to come in knows what I mean. Links – and reputation – only come to you after you build your online business. Until then – and even after then – it takes hard work to get enough reputation muscles to flex.

In the mean time, if you’re not Darren pay attention to the above tips. Why? Because a strong online reputation does matter.

What problems have you run into with your ORM? Share them with our readers in the comments!



{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim Ryan December 4, 2011 at 1:21 am

An online reputation is very important and anyone running an online business should think about building a good reputation. There is not a short way to building one. You’ve pointed out all the important points, Gabriella. I’m sure all your readers will benefit a lot from this post.

Reply

Gabriella December 5, 2011 at 6:01 am

Thanks Tim. I appreciate your encouragement. Enjoy your week & come back now you hear. ;)

Reply

Gabriella December 5, 2011 at 11:28 am

I’m a firm believer that having a good reputation is a given, but unfortunately now with the power of the Internet sometimes honest businesses can be sabotaged. That’s why it’s important to build your online reputation on a daily basis. With your clients, your readers, and of course your social networks. Make sure you’re ready just in case someone has an issue with your business.

Reply

Tim Ryan December 7, 2011 at 3:48 am

I completely agree that it’s important to build our online reputation on a daily basis, its very important to be active.

Reply

seo company perth May 16, 2011 at 1:19 am

Online reputation management is not limited to Google and traditional searches. There are many other online medium options you can use like Youtube searches, Blog search engines, News search engines etc..
seo company perth

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Online Reputation Management May 13, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Thank you for the good writeup. It in reality was a amusement account it. I agree with your point that being proactive is one of the most effective ways for you to keep a strong online reputation.Online reputation management is definitely an essential especially to those who are trying to build a good brand.And yes, you are absolutely right that setting this part of the idea. Your tips is so natural and effective.Anxious to hear the rest of your findings.Visit my website
http://www.reputationhead.com/online-reputation-management/

Reply

Gabriella March 22, 2011 at 5:08 am

Hello Nick, nice to see you on this side of the tracks. Indeed, most people we see coming through our doors don’t even take into consideration that ORM is something to pay attention to from the onset. No one is above reproach, something I have learned the hard way.

Reply

Kate Adex March 21, 2011 at 12:52 am

You raised an important question. Reputation is extremely essential now, when any info can be spread on the Internet within minutes. Good reputation is hard to build and easy to destroy. Every marketer should always keep that in mind and work on positive reputation building.

Reply

Uriel Tedgi March 18, 2011 at 7:01 am

Keeping a Strong Online Reputation What a great Article….since it get more confusing what is real spam and what is not, one thing that is for sure keep us safe is Gabriella advice as i always say is no tag price for quality name. thanks for Tip.

Reply

Gabriella March 22, 2011 at 5:12 am

Hello Uriel funny you mentioned spam and what is not spam… we happened to have written an article about that particular topic.
Comment Spam vs. Comment Links: What’s the Difference? When you have a minute swing by and read it.

Reply

Yundt March 14, 2011 at 11:47 pm

For an independent business that’s not brand-affiliated, it’s very important to be well-represented on a site where your potential customers are making decisions. The golden rule when it comes to online reputation is that all businesses must form a dialogue with their customers/clients. Choosing to retain a distance with those who buy services/products is the quickest way to lose control of your reputation.

Reply

Nick Stamoulis March 10, 2011 at 7:39 am

Many people make the mistake of waiting until something goes wrong to start a reputation management strategy. An online reputation management campaign should start as soon as you start a company and begin building an online presence. A new company should want a good reputation from the get-go and an established company should do anything in its power to maintain a positive reputation. One small problem can cause a lot of harm, so it’s always best to be proactive.

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Jane March 6, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Reputation management is like link building! Beautiful words! And they are so true. You need to work so hard to get organic links. But when you get them you feel incredible, it so inspires you to do more and more! Thanks for your tips Gabriella.

Reply

Gabriella March 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Jane glad you enjoyed it. I will admit I got a chuckle out of “beautiful words” only in our industry can we appreciate that sort of geek speak. Don’t get me going on SERP’s it’s like teasing me with Häagen-Dazs ice cream. lolol

Reply

John March 3, 2011 at 7:57 am

I agree with your point that being proactive is one of the most effective ways for you to keep a strong online reputation.

I think all of your tips are great, but the fifth tip to spend time creating strong, loyalty based relationships is golden.

When you develop a loyal consumer base it will be easy for to maintain a good online reputation as long as you keep your customers happy. Thanks for sharing your insights Gabriella

Reply

SEO Mofo March 2, 2011 at 1:30 am

My ORM strategy is virtually foolproof: destroy your own reputation as thoroughly as possible. I mean really mangle it–just crap all over yourself and don’t let up until you’re unemployable and no one wants to associate with you.

If you mis-manage your reputation long enough…and you slander yourself passionately enough…then something magical happens: you become reputationally invincible. That’s right…your reputation can actually sink to a point so low that nothing anyone says could possibly push it down any lower.

And THAT…is when you know you’re the World’s Greatest.

Reply

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