How Social Media Affects Online Reputation Management

Social media plays a huge role in online reputation management. The many platforms available, their popularity in search results, and how quickly and easily they can spread information all make social media powerful tool in your reputation management arsenal.

There are 4 major ways social media can affect your reputation management online, and the consequences can be either positive or negative. That’s why it’s crucial to have a strong, sound strategy in place for what types of content you’ll post, when you’ll be active, and how you will respond and interact with followers.

Build, Change, or Solidify Your Reputation

Everything you say and do on social media–including the major social platforms as well as blogs, forums, review sites, and other interactive media online–has the power to build a new reputation, adapt an existing image, and solidify your current profile. What you like, what you share, the comments you make, the content you create, the causes you support, the information you give–all of these affect how followers perceive you.

This is where a sound strategy is so important. Without a plan to follow, a seemingly innocuous comment or a small mistake can snowball into a big reputation problem.

Social media has such a powerful effect on your reputation management because your actions happen in real time. Where press releases and traditional management tactics may take days or weeks to make a difference, what you say or do online can go viral in a matter of hours.

In addition to creating a good strategy, use social media to your reputation’s advantage with these best practices:

 

  • Claim your name on all the major social platforms

  • Use the social media most relevant to you and your target audience

  • Be consistently active

  • Use a variety of social channels, such as forums, blogs, multimedia platforms, and the big 4 (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+)

Control How You Appear in Search

On top of affecting your reputation itself, social media is an important component of managing your reputation because it tends to appear high in search results. When your social profiles and content appear on the first page of a search, less desirable content gets pushed down, meaning your audience is less likely to see bad reviews, detractors’ comments, and other negative content.

So not only does your social strategy build or change your reputation, it also affects how much of the first page of Google you own.

The good news is, following the best practices listed above is a pretty easy way to get more real estate in search engine results. The bad news is, any negative consequences of your actions on social media will also appear highly in search results.

Rule of thumb: if you don’t want it to appear on search, don’t put it online at all.

Monitor What Others Say About You

Although there are too many social channels to effectively keep track of everything everyone thinks about you, the real-time publishing nature of social media helps you see a fairly accurate representation of how others perceive you at any given time. And knowing what people think of you is the first step to managing your online reputation.

How do you know what people are saying and thinking about you?

 

  • Set up Google Alerts for your name, your company name, and important keywords

  • Use Technorati to discover what bloggers are posting about you

  • Sign up for tools like TweetDeck, SocialMention, or Trackur to find and save keyword searches, hashtag searches, multimedia, and social conversations

Respond to What Others Say About You

With monitoring how others perceive you comes the opportunity to respond. Strategy is important here, too, because responding to a detractor’s comment or bad review in the heat of the moment is often worse than letting the negative content sit for a few days.

At the same time, staying abreast of your followers’ and customers’ real-time perceptions and comments can help you avoid crises, take advantage of newsjacking, provide exceptional support, and continue building your reputation.

Responding to positive mentions of your brand–such as retweets of your content, good reviews, and thank yous–is always a good move. It shows you listen to and value your audience.

Done right, responding to negative brand mentions can help you resolve problems, improve your offering, and correct misinformation. When you respond calmly and professionally, even negative social mentions can support your reputation for listening to and valuing your audience.

It’s impossible to ignore how much social media affects your online reputation and how you manage it. The trick is to craft and follow an effective social strategy.

 

The Importance of Anchor Social Websites in Your Reputation Management Strategy

When you are building a reputation management strategy, you don’t want to build it like a house of cards. Rather, you want to make sure everything is strong and that all parts of your strategy are working together to achieve the goal of a unified and ironclad SERP. To that end, you can’t simply have a dozen websites and profiles out there floating in cyberspace, hoping that they’ll all rank.

Post-Penguin and Panda, Google is not just looking for keywords and a high number of links, they’re also measuring authority. Although authority can be measured in many different ways online, Google likes to see companies and websites that clearly link their properties together. That way, they know which sites and profiles are genuine, which ones are fake, and which ones to trust the most.

Think about it like a tent—not the nylon tent you used to go camping last weekend—but like a huge circus tent. In a large tent like that, the center pole is held in place by a series of little 6-inch stakes that are pounded into the ground all around the tent. The tension the little stakes create on the canvas holds the center pole in place and allows people to come in and see the big show.

In this analogy, your corporate site is the center pole. The only way it’s going to make it to the top is if it is anchored by a number of other sites that are sponsored by you and clearly link to your main site. That way, when Google walks in the tent to see the show, they know that your circus (nee, company) is legit.

So what are the anchors?

Facebook

This is a must-have if you want to have a solid reputation management strategy. Publish news from your corporate blog through your Facebook page, link to your home page in the information section of your profile, and publish your contact information. When Google looks at your Facebook page and sees that the information syncs with your corporate page, it’ll know you’re legit and rank everything higher.

Twitter

Similar to Facebook, make sure all your profile information syncs. Additionally, if you can put your official corporate Twitter feed on your site, Google can verify that both sites are clearly and officially connected.

LinkedIn

Again, make sure all your information syncs with your main site and you link to your main site from your profile. Beyond that, if you have an HR section on your site, link to your company LinkedIn and encourage your employees to connect with it and interact with it.

YouTube

One of the great things about YouTube is that you can post compelling content on the site and share it across the web. So, not only should you link your YouTube channel to your corporate site, but you can publish corporate videos to your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles. Google can then see the clear connection between all your sites and acknowledge that they are all official properties of your company.

Google+

Whether you like it or not, Google+ plus can play a significant role in your reputation management strategy. One of the ways you can use it is to link author profiles to your Google+ page. For example, if you have employees who are blogging on your corporate blog and out in the blogosphere on company business, have them link their bylines to corporate profiles on your official site, and then have their Google+ profiles link to their corporate profiles. It’s a way to leave breadcrumbs on the internet of who is connected to who, and Google appreciates the roadmap to all your connections, which will only help build their confidence in your official site and all your other web properties.

If the stakes of the tent are taken out, the center pole will fall. Although it’s a solid piece of wood, it can’t sustain itself without the help of the anchors. Don’t let your corporate reputation management strategy fail, anchor your sites together and link them all, so Google will see everything you do and trust you more for it.

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