As ascension of social media continues, the strategies used to surface positive content and the web pages of sponsoring companies in reputation management campaigns are undergoing massive changes in terms of how they incorporate these networks. These changes are necessary due to the fact that sticking with a “business as usual” mindset will ultimately lead to failure in achieving even the most elemental objectives of any reputation management initiative.
The reasons a reputation management campaign will not reach its objectives without a social media presence include:
* The search engines see the search engine optimization (SEO) signals originating from social media networks as genuine and trustworthy – The community-like nature of social media networks makes it difficult for manipulative practices to have an influence on the algorithms used by the search engines to rank web pages. Conversely, the authenticity of shared content, “likes”, re-Tweets, and other actions that take place within the communities that exist on these networks gives these signals an increasing amount of influence in the ranking formulas used by Google, Bing, et al.
* The influence of traditional SEO practices on ranking algorithms is waning – Distributing low value and spun articles to a variety of “content farms” was targeted by Google’s Panda update and abusive link practices were hit by the Penguin update a little over a year later. While article marketing to 2.0 sites and the like still matters, it is playing a decreasing role in the determination of web page rankings. Similarly, the search engines have changed their evaluation of links to a much higher standard that requires authority and/or relevance between the site of origination and the destination page for the link. Without these characteristics, a high number of links have become basically irrelevant.
* In addition to the messaging that originates from businesses, reputations are being determined by conversations between community members – While the consumer-centric aspect of social media can at times seem like a moving target, the conversations that occur between network members can play a role in shaping company reputations. Being a party to these conversations help to keep them on a positive track and address potentially problematic issues before they morph into larger problems.
For reputation management campaigns to reach their objectives, participation in social media networks is mandatory. Additionally, this participation brings with it a long list of opportunities that can change the accounting status of reputation management from that of an expense to a series of online assets.
If you’re shopping for a firm to execute a reputation management campaign there is an excellent chance that you’ll come across a firm or two that are going to use black hat SEO techniques to occupy the top rankings in the search engine results pages.
These techniques may include the creation of link farms that post thousands of links originating from duplicate content that is spammed across the internet. Other techniques include:
Traditional public relations was the way companies managed their reputations and their public image. Whether the campaign was proactive or trying to fix an issue that was hampering a client, the typical PR response was made up of positive press releases and images of an organization helping endangered animals, orphans, or impoverished communities.
It’s almost impossible to win with shameless link baiting, especially when it relates to a tragedy but that didn’t stop The Huffington Post’s blogger Tricia Fox from trying it anyway. On the day following the death of Amy Winehouse the posted her first blog titled “Amy Winehouse’s Untimely Death Is a Wake up Call for Small Business Owners” and a reputation management crisis was born.
As hard as you work to build your brand and your company’s image, it can all come tumbling down in a heartbeat through an accidental mishap, an accident waiting to happen, or a rumor that gets out of hand thanks to ease of getting consumer generated content on the internet.
There seemingly are as many outlets for consumer generated media as there are consumers. The ability for anyone to post an opinion, comment, or grievance and get it seen by hundreds or thousands of people gives every day consumers a power and a voice not seen before the advent of the internet.
While the types of negative content attacks can vary widely and require a response tailored to meet the specifics of the situation, there are several actions an online reputation management company can take which can be applied to minimize the damage in most cases.
Reputation management can be a difficult task to execute well. Most people either ignore reputation management altogether, or aren’t exactly sure how to repair or create their reputation. Tens of thousands of press releases fly around Internet on a regular basis, filling cyber space with poor attempts to build a company’s reputation.
Managing your reputation involves using tools and language to improve and/or control how the public views you, your company and those who work for your company.
When it comes to media relations or public relations, most business executives want to be on the cover of the New York Times. However, as many politicians and CEOs will attest to, being on the cover of a newspaper or magazine may be as negative as it can be positive. Building a relationship with the media is important, both for the major stories that can possibly happen and the minor everyday stories that happen on a regular basis. While the media can be tricky, and even on attack mode lately, like all industries they operate on trust and relationships and establishing credibility with them is an important task. Establishing credibility can have a profound impact upon the success of any political campaign, press initiative or marketing campaign.