How much value do you place on your company’s reputation? Our reputations help us in more ways than one; to get work, make money and become more influential in our targeted industry. Not to mention, a good reputation is something you can be proud of and something that will make you feel good.

reputation management has evolved over the last 5 years due to internet and social media. The concept is still the same; it is the practice of understanding or influencing an individual’s business’s reputation.

Out With the Old…In With the New

I don’t know about you, but I am glad that the internet and technology was not what it is today when I was in high school or college. I’m sure I would have gotten in way more trouble and there for sure would have been a record of some of those nights we don’t need to mention. Ones reputation in today’s world is far more fragile than before due to these changes. Mistakes made today are easily tracked and can go viral instantly.

Just like your personal life, it used to be more difficult to affect the reputation of a business. An individual who wanted to spread their grievance for a particular company could, but rarely did it affect a company on an international level, unless it was picked up by mainstream media. These days, everything is instant and international due to the ever evolving technology and social networks. Just like technology has evolved, so have PR teams, legal specialists and reputation management experts.

Reputation management is becoming increasingly important for obvious reasons. Smaller companies and worldwide companies alike are now on the same playing field, or at least close, when it comes to protecting their brand and reputation.

Reputation Management vs. SEO

Even though Reputation Management (RM) is a part of what you do for SEO, SEO is not Reputation Management and vice versa. SEO is the process of affecting your visibility online whereas Reputation Management is the act of protecting all the work you have done online as well to build your company brand and image.

Companies need to realize and understand how SEO and RM work separately but how they are equally important. So many companies are learning SEO right now and are doing a decent job with it.

However, they aren’t implementing the same effort into protecting those efforts with a side-by-side RM strategy and plan. Many believe that RM is only important when something bad has already happened, which is not true. The truth is that a company needs to be proactive about implementing a RM strategy; the more you can track and protect your brand along the way, the less fires you’ll have to put out later.

3 Tips to Manage Your Reputation Online

1. Be Proactive: As I mentioned above, consistently monitoring your online presence and brand is very important to your overall Reputation Management (RM) strategy. It is proven to be more cost-effective to manage it ahead of time, then after something has already occurred. First you’ll need to audit your current position; look for what people are saying about you, negative comments showing up, etc. Second you will need to update or publish more appropriate content and promote it; this is where the SEO part of RM comes into play. Third, you will want to conduct the same research on your competitors and see what is being said about them and figure out how you compare.

2. Listen & Engage: Use your tools to monitor mentions, monitor trends in your industry and to get involved in fast breaking, popular trends and discussions. After you set up your tools, you will want to create an engagement strategy for you and your team. Don’t simply reply, retweet or comment to do so – there should be a set of guidelines setup for such a purpose. Create a dialog and discussion; get your prospects and client to interact with you. This type of social media use will help you gain followers and likes the right way, as well.

3. Implement Security: Simply put secure your online stuff. Protect against spam and hacking by implementing an online security procedure and then monitor it constantly. I have seen many small and large companies alike have their reputation scared simply because they didn’t have the right security measures in place.

5 Web Tools that Can Help You Manage Your Reputation Online

Part of managing your reputation online is being able to see your data in real time and make conclusions based off of that data. It is important to have a strategy in place to do just that. There are many tools out there to help you with this; I have chosen 5 of them to introduce to you below:

1. Google Alerts: This is one of the most basic forms of reputation management; however it is very user friendly and easy for most to adapt to quickly. You simply add a term you want to track (like your company name), and you will get emails and alerts telling you where and when it was mentioned. It simply gives you the facts, but does lack the analysis part.

2. SocialMention: One of the best features about this tool is that you can send alerts for all of your keywords and it also analyzes when your brand is mentioned and gives you information about how important those mentions are.

3. Alterian: If you’re looking for tons of information and data, this tool is the one you want. It can discover what people think about your brand in different countries or from different demographics and also in different languages. This tool really does give you everything you’ll need to know about your online reputation.

4. Brandwatch: As far as popularity goes, Brandwatch is one of the most popular tools to manage your online reputation. It works best though for social media management to monitor certain keywords on social sites.

5. Trackur: This tool is unique in that it shows you what people are seeing when they search for you on Google or other social networks. It can also tell you if people talking about you are influential to the industry or not. Very useful tool.

If you have more time, some additional tools to research and checkout are BrandsEye, Naymz, Technorati, Whos Talking and Rankur.

Final Thoughts

“A reputation that took decades to build can be threatened by a single event, especially in today’s digital age.”

RM can lead to conversions, and as we know conversions is how you make money and build your client base. While SEO techniques are and can be used as a part of your Reputation Management strategy, know that RM is more than just SEO. Find the right balance and align both efforts; you will see a change and overall success.