Guest Author: Jean Ryan
How to Avoid a PR Disaster
Of course, you do not have to be a big corporate honcho or Hollywood star to care about your online reputation. The majority of businesses, both big and small, maintain websites as well as various social media accounts. Today, a bad review or report on your products, services, or employees can easily snowball into an online PR disaster. According to statistics published by FirePath Communications, 73% of consumers believe information published online is accurate. A staggering 83% say that this information influences their purchase decisions. Even if you do not run a business, online reputation matters a lot. According to a study carried out by digital marketing firm KBSD, 78% of recruiters consider online reputation during the hiring process. These statistics show the importance of reputation protection. Keep reading to find out more about this delicate subject.
Assessing your Online Reputation
Before taking any steps to manage your online reputation, you need to make a careful assessment of the situation. To start with, use the major search engines to see what information is on the Internet under your business or personal name. While at it, check all major social media platforms as well and note the top 20 or 30 search results for all the relevant keywords. Analyze the number of positive, negative, and indifferent results. This will give you a good idea of your online reputation.
Build your Reputation
Upon making a careful assessment of the search results, you need to take proactive steps to build your online reputation. Start by purchasing and registering domains and Top Level Domains (TLDs) related to your business or name. Secondly, register your name with the major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you do not act fast, cyber squatters may register your name leading to confusion among your loyal consumers. In addition, you will not be able to reach a wider audience.
Set Privacy Settings
While purchasing and registering your names is a good first step, it is hardly enough. Therefore, you must act to protect your personal information by managing privacy settings on your blogs, websites, and social media accounts properly. Obviously, you would not want cyber criminals or other people to stumble upon private photographs of your partying antics.
Monitoring your Online Reputation
After the hard work of assessing and building your online reputation, you cannot afford to rest on your laurels. As such, you must monitor every mention of your business name, brand, and employees for as long as you maintain a web presence. The good news is there are hundreds of tools that you can use to monitor online conversations about your company. These include Google Alerts, Yahoo Alerts, Twitter Search, Twitter Fall, Feed Reader, and Technorati. If you have capable programmers in-house, you can set up a customized tool for monitoring your online reputation.
What people say about you or your business is likely to affect your chances of getting a job or if you are a businessperson, your chances of selling products or services. Either way, you need online reputation protection. Start by assessing the way people view your brand, employees, or services. Build your reputation by purchasing all relevant TLDs and domains and register your name with all the major social media platforms. Use privacy settings to protect critical business and personal information.
For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Marketing and Social Media.
About the Author
Jean Ryan is an online entrepreneur and writer who helps online merchants improve their online reputation through savvy social networking and daily web monitoring.