When most marketers think of reputation management, they think of cleaning up PR disasters – if they even think of online reputation management at all. It’s something that people tend to take for granted when things are going well. If your brand is positively regarded, then why would you want to “manage” what people are saying about you?
This reactive approach to reputation management is not ideal, however. Yes, it is good to have a plan for damage control, but if you have a purely reactive policy, then you won’t be able to respond as quickly as you would like.
It is a much better idea to start your online reputation management early. Proactive reputation management will help to build up a positive reputation for your brand online, making it harder for that negative content to bubble to the surface in the first place.
Own Your Name
The first thing you should do is register your profile everywhere you can – not just Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but Ello, Instagram, YouTube, Vine, Periscope and LinkedIn as well – anywhere and everywhere you can think of that allows you to register a profile. Buy up any similar domain names too. Populate these profiles and direct people to the ones that you use the most.
Check Every Channel
Get into the habit of checking all of the major channels for mentions of your brand, and occasionally post content yourself. Google loves images and videos, so supply it with some. Take photographs of your business and show them off. Start streaming live on Periscope or Twitch or recording small Vines. Make a podcast or upload some audio to Soundcloud. Publish slideshows and presentations on Slideshare.
Make this content informative rather than purely promotional, and encourage people to share it. This will help you to develop a strong presence online and increase your social media visibility. If people not directly related to the brand are mentioning it publicly in a positive light, then this will improve your reputation.
Don’t forget networks such as the Web of Trust and Trust Pilot. Encourage your users to rate you on those sites so that you are known to the sites and have a good reputation. This will make it harder for a single disgruntled customer to affect your brand, protecting your business from the damage that a person with a small number of sockpuppet accounts can do.