Online Reputation Management Is About More Than Crisis
The urgency of an individual or company facing a crisis situation, and requiring a solution as quickly as possible, is certainly understandable. Doing a quick Google search for the term “online reputation management” will yield results consisting of several ads focusing on how to fix a negative image on the first page of Google and other links to various explanations of the term. However, online reputation management services are so much more than that.
Be Proactive, Not Reactive
In a post-crisis situation, there is often an instinct to respond with instant reactionary activity, looking at the problem as one that needs to be solved as quickly as possible. Such a defensive perspective is a rather narrow point-of-view of online reputation management which threatens to miss the mark and could be unnecessarily restrictive on optics issue that should, in fact, be a critically strategic avenue for every business.
A more effective way of looking at online reputation management solutions is from a position of proactivity and as a tactic to be included within a greater marketing infrastructure – for several reasons. First of all, Google algorithms have become more savvy, as have Google users. People are very conscious that online results may have been placed with some kind of hidden motive. The public’s sophisticated understanding and perception of the digital landscape is an extremely important factor to be take into account when building an online image. The outdated technique of flooding the internet with nonsense content to suppress an unwanted result is no longer relevant. Quality of controlled or positive links which appear as results matters, not just the quantity.
Not a Quick Fix – Keep on Working
In addition to quality, there is a need for continual activity – a vitally important element. With regard to narrative, after having clearly invested time and effort on content, to suddenly stop would appear unusual and suspicious. Many people are guilty of this kind of behavior with social media – at first it is an imperative part of an online image strategy – daily posts or more – and then, silence. After being historically active, the sudden inactivity could make many people question whether or not your business is still in operation. Keep going. If you started a podcast or even served as a guest on a show, build on that and constantly be pitching to podcast hosts to remain present.
A halt in activity could also lead to negative search results rising over time. With a constantly changing algorithm, Google is regularly updating and reshuffling its priorities, meaning that any unwanted results which have been suppressed, could suddenly start rearing their ugly heads. With a continuous stream of activity across well ranked publications, the likelihood of them jumping up high again reduces considerably.
Reputation Insurance for the Future
The establishment of a well-controlled online image creates a certain level of insurance for the future. If new negative links appear down the line, controlled assets solidify a much better position for managing the situation with far greater ease. Online reputation management strategy must remain fluid, updated and forward thinking. Just as any good business would never allow the brand’s marketing strategy to become stagnant, the same applies to ORM strategy. This continual branding process should be intertwined with the marketing, PR and crisis management implementation structure with ongoing action items and extensive areas of focus that always requires attention.
Reputations don’t disappear and so neither should reputation strategy. Think long-term, think quality, and think before it’s needed!