In many ways, a company’s reputation management is the post-purchase equivalent of what branding is to pre-purchase. While a company can market their way to branding objectives, a reputation has to be earned. As branding carries less cachet in the online world, building a solid reputation should be your long-term priority.
While measuring your company’s online reputation is not an exact science, there are a few metrics which can help you determine where you stand in the public eye.
- Google’s PageRank – This platform calculates the value of inbound links originating from authority sites, which stands as a measure of your reputation from these respected sites. This is a much better measurement than counting total inbound links which may not carry any implied trust.
- Facebook fans – When people affiliate themselves as fans of organizations, their news feed displays their “is a fan of” status to their peers. While many companies give small incentives for becoming a fan, this measure can still stand up as a measure of a company’s online reputation.
- Twitter follower numbers - Twitter follower numbers can be gamed but if you’re not manipulating your follower numbers they should be a fairly accurate representation of your online reputation.
- RSS feeds – These are a useful measure of an online reputation due to the fact that recipients must opt-in to receive them. Additionally, an opt-in must be have some trust that they’re going to get quality content and aren’t going to get bombed with spam. The opt-in nature of the feeds also means that the numbers are difficult to manipulate, making them a solid metric.
- Repeat visitors to the site – Having been there previously, repeat visitors are an indication that their experience was positive the last time they visited the site. As your website’s reputation improves, it should naturally draw an increasing amount of repeat visitors.
- Bookmarks – Web users will bookmark resources that provide value so the number of them is a good indicator of trust. The rise of public social bookmarking services has made it easier than ever to track this metric.