Your reputation is up for grabs!
Not only is it the first thing people see online when they search for your name or brand, it's also a quick impulse decision on whether they are going to visit your site, buy from your brand and possibly even lose them for life as a potential customer. Individuals, businesses and brands of all sizes are now focusing more effort and bigger budgets in their online reputation management than ever before.
Shouldn't you be doing the same? The answer is yes!
While hotels and restaurant chains are pouring millions of dollars into the ORM space, the good news is that you can start protecting, monitoring and improving your personal or brand name without such a huge investment.
The first thing you need to do is address the situation, find your problem areas and know how to fix them.
Here's a few questions to ask yourself before getting started?
- Do you currently rank at the top of the search results for your name?
- Are there any negative listings on the main page of Google for your name?
- Do you currently have a web site, blog and social media profiles?
- Do you know when, where and why people are writing about you or your brand online?
- How are you actively monitoring and tracking the results of your ORM efforts?
If you answered "I don't know" or were unsure in any of these areas... you might already have a problem.
Again... we have some good news -- which is you can start cleaning up these problem areas without a massive amount of time and effort.
Cost Effective Ways to Monitor and Improve Your Online Reputation
We just asked a bunch of questions about how your name or brand is potentially up for grabs in the way it is seen online. If you were to go to a big name ORM firm, you could end up paying thousands of dollars for these same services, however we're going to show you how to accomplish the same results for much less.
Secure Your Own Domain, Web Site and Blog
This one is easy enough. Invest $10 in a domain name and another $10 a month in quality web hosting. Once setup, you (or your web host) can install WordPress and you can have a blog up and running in just minutes. The purpose of having a domain name, web site and blog is that you are creating original content that you can claim as your own. When this content is surrounding your name or brand, it's much easier to get this content to rank at the top of the search results and potentially above any negative content that is already out there.
There are currently over 300 million blogs in the world today and they are by far one of the most effective ways to build brand awareness, while also securing more placements in the search results in the process. If you currently don't have a blog of your own, you can follow this how to start a blog tutorial that walks you through the process of securing a domain name, hosting and going live with your blog in less than 10 minutes.
Make Sure Your Name & Brand are Social
With over 2 billion users across the social networks, there is a good chance someone might have already secured your personal or business name. If that's the case, you will need to find something similar. The main networks you are going to want to join are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram. By joining as many social networks as possible and linking them all together, you can form a protective wall around your brand in the search results.
Monitoring Your Online Mentions
In addition to social media, millions of new articles and site content is going live everyday. It would be impossible for you to manually checks the search results every day to see if there is any movement in your rankings or to try and find out when and where your personal or brand name is being mentioned. To automate this process you can use a tool called Google Alerts -- in short, all you need to do is put in your trigger keywords, brand names or anything you like, and whenever something new indexes into Google that has one of your trigger words in it, Google will shoot you an email.
When it comes to protecting your online reputation, being pro-active is key. The most important thing you can do is build a protective wall around your brand to make sure you are the authority in your space. The same holds true for ranking at the top of the search results for your brand name or personal name. You can do this right now by focusing your efforts on securing a quality domain name, setting up your web site or blog and then building quality content that will rank for your name. Pull it all together by sharing this content through your social media outlets and making it easy for people to find you and your brand online.
If you don't rank for your name, someone else will!