Online reputation management is more than a mere buzzword in the ever-expanding world of internet marketing. Maintaining one's internet reputation is a highly important task that should be a significant part of any company's public relations and marketing budget. Top CEOs use a variety of tools to keep their reputations positive online, ranging from utilizing Google's now defunct Authorship program to paid advertising.
1.) Employ a multi-pronged approach
Most CEOs should work on several facets of their online reputation at once. While this approach can sometimes be pricey, "online reputation management should not be considered an 'unfortunate' expense" in the digital age, says Brook Zimmatore, CEO of the brand protection firm Massive Alliance. Rather, it should be one that is built into a company's budget. Elon Musk famously said that a bad review online cost Tesla up to $100 million. You can see why the cost of cyber reputation management can be well worth the return.
Additionally, as reported by Inc contributor Logan Chierotti, "a recent ZenDesk study asserts that 90 percent of customers say they let positive online reviews impact their purchasing decisions. And 86 percent decided not to do business with a company because of negative reviews."
2.) The first page is 92 percent of the battle
The most basic form of online reputation management is to have an effect on the "top spots" in Google. Many people turn only to the first page of Google search results, which means that a company can purchase ad space using pay-per-click campaigns for the CEO's name to "push down" the top results if they are negative. When employed with other online reputation management strategies, the company may need to do this only as long as the negative publicity sits near he top of Google search results.
A study done by Chitika in 2013 found that "[Google] Page 1 results garnered 92 percent of all traffic from the average search, with traffic dropping off by 95 percent for Page 2." Apparently, if you can manage the first page of Google, then your chances of losing revenue from negative results drops significantly.
3.) Leverage Google News
Leveraging Google News is one of the best ways to manage online reputation in the current environment. The news service portion of Google search is an aggregator of news stories published throughout the world, including those covering industries and individuals. By working to stay on top of Google News services through alerts, companies are able to know immediately if negative news items pop up. One of the ways that brand protection companies and PR agencies assist in reducing the power of these news items is by helping clients reach out to news organizations for potential interviews. A story written by large news organizations can supplant negative stories.
4.) Use proper legal methods
These strategies are not all-inclusive, of course. "The use of PR, arbitration, legal and technical strategies all at once," says Zimmatore, is the best way to deal with negative online reputations. Working to stop libelous claims from appearing online using legal methods, such as issuing cease and desist orders, are also effective in scrubbing the internet of many negative comments and stories.
The world of online reputation management is one that changes rapidly, therefore it's important to employe a modern, top-of-the-line strategy for reputation management. There are now many solid companies working in this area which can fulfill your needs. The public's view of the CEO is, for good or ill, an important factor in the profit margin of the company, and online reputation management tools are vital to increasing that margin.