You need a finger on the pulse of what’s being said about you. Today, that goes deeper than setting Google Alerts for your company. Between Facebook, Twitter, Google Alerts and Analytics, you can accumulate a lot of data very quickly. Since Facebook’s addition of hashtags to their engine, search has become a valid method of seeing what is publicly said about you. Business pages also come with insights that help show you the demographics of who is reading your material and opportunities for you to grow that readership. All of these changes or tools give you a space to glance at your efforts and process your work. If you spend too much time chasing down your data, you end up in a constant state of scrutiny, unable to actually launch a new campaign.
Distinguish You from the Brand
You should have a blog and pages set up to promote yourself in addition to your brand. In a perfect world, your brand has a community manager who takes care of community interaction. In the real world that person is often you or one of your partners and it’s easy to get that work confused with branding yourself.
Your work on the brand should be independent from your work on yourself as a thought leader. Therefore set aside time to write a guest post written from your perspective. You can use your business as a case study, but make it about something you’re passionate about. Shop the guest post around to the blogs you read, or post it on a reputable site like Entrepreneur or Forbes and milk it for link juice.
Control Where You Post
You can’t control what people say about you, but you can control what you say and where you say it. Assume that every new contact you meet, especially consumers, are going to search your brand on Google or Bing. Also assume that those search engines will return results from providers like Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and every other trendy sounding network around the Web.
Those are just the basic places you need to claim. If you want to take advantage of search engine markup to make your listings stand out with profile pictures and review data, you will need to verify your business and yourself using Google + and Google + Places.
If you claim your profiles now, you can shut out the fakers trying to cash in on your brand. You can also control the messaging from your brand and set monitors on various networks to see where the most traffic is coming from.
Spread Your Content
If your product is popular with women you might find success posting content to Instagram instead of Facebook due to the demographics, something that will require testing to verify. Can you turn your “how-to” articles into YouTube videos or slide shows? Think about methods you can use to repackage and spread your content around the Web to get maximum mileage for your contributions.
Your content will extend your reach, and help you outrank any negative reviews about you from sites that are less than reputable. For higher quality review sites that have negative reviews, focus on outranking them with your own work.
If you’re serious about reputation management, here are some questions to help audit your brand:
- Do you need to manage reputation or grow it? Growing reputation usually involves aggressive content marketing. Managing reputation involves highlighting accomplishments and outranking naysayers.
- What are the bounce rates of your blog posts, and average time spent on site? High bounce rates and low time spent on-site indicate poor content.
- Which social network currently sends the most traffic? Use that network as a testing ground for new ideas.
- What is the source of your issue? You’re getting hate mail, but what is the cause? Figure out the source of the original dispute and address that issue with a well-thought response.
Identify the cause and work toward addressing that issue. Management is as much containment as it is celebrating your accomplishment. The best brands know when to apologize and when to brag. Be careful not to make your responses personal either. Remember that the disagreement is over the brand, not the people involved.