Online reputation management is becoming a key PR tool for many companies or high profile individuals. Regardless of the size of your organisation, it is likely that on the ever-expanding web there will be a selection of pages dedicated to your work.
The purpose of online reputation management is to track and control your portrayal on the Internet. By doing so, organisations can nurture support from web-based communities, while understanding and immediately engaging with negative sentiment. By proactively dealing with potentially detrimental comments, responses, and rumours online, businesses can use defensive PR to protect their image.
In the long run, this will minimize marketing expenditure, while helping to recognize online networks and key phrases that will help concentrate promotional efforts.
When dealing with negative sentiment, it is vital to rationally respond to each point. It is crucial to inform, justify, and help the disgruntled netizen, and not to aggressively argue with them. It is also important to validate your actions, and acknowledge the complaints made against your brand.
Equally, reaching out to individuals and groups who love your brands is also key. By getting online communities to positively discuss your brand is a great way to nurture support on the web, and gain important backlinks.
Google tools that can help
Google have recently unveiled a new tool called “Me on the Web”. Once installed, this software will be incorporated into your Google dashboard, between your account information and analytics. The new feature encourages users to keep track of social media, and other online mentions, by setting up search alerts for specific keywords.
Google explain that “Your online identity is determined not only by what you post, but also by what others post about you- whether a mention in a blog post, a photo tag, or a reply to a public status update”.
Google also maintain that it is important to consistently create new and original content. This is because their search engine indexes pages as opposed to general websites. Therefore, the more pages that your website contains, the more opportunities there are to come up in Google searches.
Finally, at the start of any social media project, you must understand the keywords that need to be targeted. Typically, this keyword list is generated after research and competitors analysis, and will include the company name, defined search keyphrases, as well as any common industry terminology.
It is also advisable to devise a list of common synonyms that are also likely to be used.