OnlineReputation.com is excited to announce the launch of our weekly "Ask the Reputation Management Expert" series, which shares insights from some of the smartest people in the industry on how to better protect your personal name, brand or business on the internet and simply look better in the process!
With every ORM agency and expert having their own expertise and methods for seeing the best results, we wanted to make sure our in-depth interviews really dug into the world on online reputation and provided our audience with valuable actionable tips and resources.
Todd William Shares His Best Advice on How to Protect Your Online Reputation
Q: Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into the reputation management space.
A: My background is law and consulting, primarily financial services and investment companies. I like helping people and businesses solve difficult problems. The most exciting opportunity of this century is also its most difficult problem. We have access to a tremendous amount of information, more information is created in a couple of days than in the entirety of human history. Information, especially when shared online, has a global impact. We are in the middle of a revolution of knowledge that has upended our notions of privacy and socialization and it is in this space that we wanted to find our place.
In the very beginning, I thought I wanted Reputation Rhino to be a scalable technology firm that delivered reputation monitoring services and analytics, because that was hot and if we ever wanted to seek venture capital or private equity, we thought that was the best route. However, over time our team realized that what we actually liked most is working with people and working in growing businesses, from whatever stage that they happened to be at and help them increase sales, generate customers, leads and clients and that our success would follow. Therefore, we moved away from software and reputation monitoring services to building an online reputation management and digital agency business that is structured more like a consulting or public relations firm so that we can better serve our clients.
Q: What is an online reputation specialist and why are they now so valuable to businesses and brands?
A: Online reputation management companies create, promote and highlight positive online results to appear on the top pages of Google and seek to remove or suppress and reduce the visibility of negative search results using the latest search engine optimization techniques and proven online public relations strategies.
Q: As an individual or brand, what is the best way to find out what people are saying about a specific name/brand online?
A: There are great tools available to monitor mentions online. From Radian6 and Cision for larger companies to Google Alerts and other affordable monitoring tools for the rest of us.
Q: When negative content, complaints or reviews are found, what is the best action to take in regards to resolving the issue and possibly getting it removed?
A: There is no “one size fits all” approach to negative content, complaints or reviews. As a business owner, you need to ask whether the issue reflects a pattern of problems that may require additional training or improved internal controls or it could just be a salesperson having a difficult day or a product arriving damaged through no fault of the company. I generally recommend trying to take the conversation offline where an apology or explanation will have the most impact and then invite the person posting the review to update their review to explain how it was resolved or delete entirely.
Q: Of all the review sites online, which are most harmful to a brands reputation and how should they be approached?
A: Anonymous review sites represent the greatest threat to a person or brand because there is little opportunity to resolve the issue if you don’t know who posted the review or the specific circumstances. Also review sites that employ a very strict filter unfairly impact businesses.
Q: How is social media changing the way brands need to monitor what is being said about them outside of the search engines?
A: Social media offers the potential for immediate feedback and rapid response. Every company needs to have a social media strategy, even if they ultimately determine they do not need a daily presence on specific social media channels.
Q: What are some of the best ways to build a protective wall around your brand to prevent future attacks and negative content?
A: We generally recommend purchasing domains for your brand name and your key products or services. Register your name and brands across social media. This is how you become master of your domain!
Q: Outside of businesses and brands, how are everyday people being affected by negative attacks and what can they do to protect themselves?
A: I think people are learning that you don’t need to be waving a fist to assault someone. Cyberbullying, revenge porn and even some of the exploitive tactics of online media can ruin someone’s life overnight. Unfortunately, the shaming that seems to be directed at the victim should be redirected to the hosts and creators of this nefarious content.
Q: For an individual or brand that wants to take action right now, what is your best advice on how to research, analyze and improve one's online reputation?
A: Find out what is being said about you or your company online. Adjust privacy settings and delete embarrassing personal content on social media. Create an optimized personal or business profile on high quality social media and Web 2.0 sites, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Google+. Post a well written bio or business description, upload high quality photos and link to your other online profiles. If you are a brand you should be thinking about online brand management and how reputation management companies can help you promote, protect and defend your online reputation.
Special thanks to Todd William for taking the time to share his expertise with our audience. Be sure to continue to read OnlineReputation.com for the latest news and actionable tips to improve your online reputation, while also seeing who our latest featured ORM expert is each week!