Manage your online reputation… before someone else does. You will face online attacks, as you build any business. Playing defense and catch up (after a person posts hundreds of times about you) is much more challenging than playing offense and building your online assets… NOW.
Over the past five years, I have consulted for some of the top marketing companies and leaders in the world. These companies and leaders do business in excess of $1 billion a year. The more online reputation management that I completed for clients, the more I realized that fixing the problem really needed to focus on creating a reviews-based culture of excellence. It goes way beyond the company’s compliance department. It has to start with the leadership and the question should never be, “what can we get away with doing?” It needs to be focused on reinforcing the right brand standards, the right message, where integrity and excellence is championed, reinforced and celebrated.
The second part is a focus on creating and optimizing the assets that any individual or company should have in place to communicate their brand and share their voice more effectively. Why is this important? Google calls it ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth). A person does a search for a company, product, or for a specific leader’s name. What they see in that moment of truth in Google search results will determine, in large part, if they decide to become a distributor, employee, or customer.
Regardless of your commitment to excellence and integrity, you will come under attack, whenever you have any level of success. This is true in ministry, as well as in business. Simply do a search on any prominent company or leader and you will see the online vigilantes sharing their disdain on various forums.
So, what can you do to manage your online reputation if you have been targeted?
First, take a good, long, hard look at your marketing, as well as the business that you are involved in. Are you doing anything that you should not be doing? Is there a real value proposition for your customers?
OK, I digress. Let me get back to what you can do to actively manage your online reputation and help control what people see when they search for you on Google.
1. Search yourself
Do a Google search for your name and also a search for your name in Google images. Set up a Google alert on your name, product name, brand and company. You can have notifications mailed to you once a day, once a week, etc. More robust tools like Trackur.com can monitor online mentions for you, your brand, and your company.
2. Buy your personal domain name
For example, I own jackweinzierl.com, jackweinzierl.info, jackweinzierl.org, and jackweinzierl.net. You are welcome to click on any of these links, but it is the case of the shoemaker has not had time to work on his own shoes. Please do not benchmark my example, but learn from it.
3. Put all your content in one place
There are a number of sites that let you do this now, including Tumblr, WordPress, and About.me. You can also “apply” your domain name to these sites, which means that anyone who goes to “yourname.com” will be routed to your Tumblr or WordPress blog. That’s convenient because Tumblr and WordPress offer nicely designed templates that will give you a professional appearance.
4. Join and leverage your social profiles
Even if you don’t feel like you have time to be active on these sites, do join them and take the time to optimize your profiles. As most of us know, some of the major sites are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, and YouTube, but there are dozens more. Add new content regularly.
5. Optimize your presence on these sites
Fill these profiles out with your bio, customizing the URL with your name whenever possible. For instance, on LinkedIn you can scroll down to where it says “public profile” on your profile page, and you can set the URL to read your name http://www.linkedin.com/in/jackweinzierl vs. the default non-search friendly URL. Again, this allows you to rank in the search results and LinkedIn is currently my #2 search result.
6. Secret Option: Get Google to delist the report from its index
If you are familiar with Ripoff Report, you know that you cannot get content removed from the site. You can however, get it removed from the search results with a Court Order. This is not for the faint of heart and it will come at a significant expense. But if something posted on that site is damaging your reputation and business, and is not true, the following article may be of interest to you.
Create your own content and optimize your profiles. The goal is to own as much search real estate as possible, pushing the negative content down below the fold, or off page one in Google’s search results for your name, brand, product, or company.
Market responsibly. You are a brand. Take control of your online brand. By taking these steps, you are leveraging the domain authority for sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and those profiles will rank quickly in the search results.
Manage your online reputation… before someone else does.
Although I am not taking on any new clients, you are welcome to email me your specific challenge and I will share my recommendation with you. Click Connect with Jack Weinzierl and leave your specific online reputation management challenge.