What is online reputation management? 8 tips on ORM
When you make contact with a potential new customer or client – even when you are introduced through a mutual contact – the first thing that they will likely do is search for you online.
They might check if you have a website, whether you post a blog, if you are on LinkedIn or Twitter (especially if they are: and if they are, they will value your presence there too). They will also check if anyone has criticized you, and assess your competency and level of service based on what you have said and what others have said about you online.
What does an online search of you or your company reveal?
The results can mean the difference between winning a contract or not. It can mean the difference between a customer making the first of many years worth of purchases from you. It can cost you a lot of money if your ‘online self’ is not a positive or true reflection of you or your company.
So what steps should you take to protect yourself, how can you best manage your online brand and take care of online reputation management (ORM)?
8 tips on Online Reputation Management (ORM)
(1) The first thing to do is Google yourself. Then you’ll find out what others see when they search for you online.
Google search works by returning what it thinks are the most relevant posts for a search term. The algorithm it uses to determine this is based on a variety of different things, including the recency and popularity of the content (ie newer content with more hits ranks higher) the number of links to the page (are others linking to it) and the credibility of the platform.
You should ensure there is a good amount of credible and up-to-date information about you online.
(2) Get a website. A well written and well constructed website should come first in a search on your business name, as long as you ensure you put good search engine optimization practices in place. You have complete control of your website and content, so take time to get it right.
(3) Open LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ accounts and make sure your profiles are 100% complete. Google has recently changed it algorithms to increase the score for social media pages, and pages that have been shared via social media – so your Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and other social media pages count for a lot.
(4) Choose a professional photo of yourself, smiling and looking approachable. Being elusive may seem like a good idea, but people often use LinkedIn profiles to help them identify people they want to work with at conferences and events. A logo won’t help them find you in a crowded room.
(5) Take time to write a good bio, in which you list some of the keyword search terms you’d like to be found on. If you’re an events management company in Sheffield, make sure this description appears in your bio (it’s what a potential clients will search for you on).
(6) Set up a blog and write about your industry or product area. This will help to showcase your knowledge and experience. It will also drive traffic to your website and provide regularly updated, shareable content for your social media sites.
(7) Write guest blogs for other respected websites. They will help to establish your credibility and influence, showing you are well connected.
(8) Generate positive media coverage. Does your company do any charity or CSR work? Have you won any awards? Are you sponsoring any events? Send out a press release and see if you can leverage some media coverage. Then blog about it! This kind of activity can also help with stakeholder engagement.
The process behind ORM involves giving search engines as much credible and valuable information about your brand as possible, and ensuring these pages are popular so they rank highly. See also this discussion on whether SEO is now the same as PR.
If there is erroneous or negative content about you online, a swathe of popular content will soon push it down the ranking list and out of sight.
Have you had any problems with incorrect or negative coverage online? How did you deal with it?
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