Your whole reputation can be traced back to two simple things: what you do (character), and what others says about you (reputation). This vague commodity is often the first thing people consider when deciding to interact with you or not. But what is a good reputation? And how can a reputation morph into good from bad?
Monitoring Your Reputation in Society and Online
You can further subdivide reputation into your real life persona and your internet persona. But with so many variables to how you might be represented online, we’ll take some time here to cover how you can measure and monitor what people are saying about you on the internet.
Plenty of free services exist for the sole purpose of allowing you to have greater control over your online reputation - here are some of our top picks.
Having a strong brand online is key to crafting a positive reputation (of course reputation starts with good character). Although the search engine giant Google is generally transparent about their intentions as a company, they do keep their search engine algorithms on lockdown. Can you blame them? If anyone were to fully comprehend how Google determines which content makes it to the top of the list, unethical companies would exploit this - and ultimately destroy the strength of the algorithms altogether. But understanding the basics of why a brands' owned web properties rank well is key.
PageRank, which refers to the way your pages are scored internally at Google, used to be public knowledge, but has since been removed from the spotlight. Now, all SEO experts can do is view any given page’s PageRank via other similar services like AHrefs or Moz among others. These are good metrics for determining where you stand in search results. Generally speaking, the higher your brands site DR or DA the better chance you have of outraking naysayers online.
Klout Score for Social
This is a score generated from the site, Klout, that shows how influential your online presence is.Klout defines influence as your ability to drive action, which is a measure of responses to your online content. Klout’s algorithms use 400 signals, which are ways people respond to your specific content on social media platforms. It gathers data like how often you’ve been retweeted, how many likes or follows your posts get, and how much time people spend interacting with your content. The higher your score, (the cap is 100) the greater your perceived influence.
Many business review sites have become popular these days, like Angie’s List, FourSquare, and Yelp. These sites provide users with the ability to have a voice, and have their opinion heard safely behind a computer screen. Sometimes things go awry, but most reviews come from legitimate customers and clients hoping to share their experiences with the community. You can monitor these sites yourself to get a better understanding of your company’s reputation, or you can use a paid review monitoring service.
Although not as enumerated as a Klout Score, the numbers your company’s social media profiles display is a decent indicator of your influence. If you have a high number of followers, and your posts and tweets are getting a high number of reposts and likes and comments, you can be sure that your company is popular.
However, there’s a caveat: Each social media platform has its own standards when it comes to followers. For example, influence on Twitter is often measured by the ratio of follows to followers. For instance, if you follow 11,000 accounts and have that same number of followers, you’re probably not as influential as someone who only follows 100 accounts and has 11,000 followers.
Improving Your Reputation
Maybe you’ve looked at your company’s social media profiles and have realized that people aren’t so happy with your services. This can happen to the most reputable company as easily as a startup, and there are proper ways to go about the remedy.
When it comes to light that your reputation might be in danger, try taking some of the following steps toward improvement.
Make Good On Promises
A great way to build reputation is to do the things you say you’ll do. It’s really as simple as that. If you say you’ll look into something for a customer, look into it and report back - don’t wait for a reminder. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of working with a company that carries themselves with this kind of dignity, chances are you remember them warmly.
Encourage Positive Reviews
People will talk about your company online. Sometimes they might even go out of their way to leave you a review. This can be a really great thing when it comes from a well-wisher, or it could be the opposite if it comes from a spiteful little creature with a personal vendetta against your famous duck sauce.
Platforms like ReviewJump exist to help companies improve reviews, and they are part of a holistic online reputation program. But software can't do everything. There are two main aspects of managing online reviews:
- Respond to negative reviews, but use caution when you do. Some reviewers are just being nasty to be nasty. Use your intuition when determining which reviews are legitimate, and maintain a tone of professionalism.
- Request customers who have had a good experience to post reviews about you online (but don’t bribe them). Most people who are happy with a product or service are more than willing to provide positive commentary when asked.
Hire an ORM Company
Several companies offer services to repair reputation for a company, individual, or brand. If you don’t have the know-how or resources to dedicate to responding to online reviews and promoting content, hiring an online reputation management company could be a great way to save yourself.
Choosing an ORM can be a precarious process, but these tips should help:
Don’t fall for a gimmick. Too many reputation experts claim that they can fix your reputation, guaranteed, money back, but can’t provide any proof of their actions. While client confidentiality and ethics keep good companies from being able to share information about past successes, a phone or in-person conversation with a reputation specialist can help you sort the legitimate companies from the posers.
Do your research. Once you’ve found an ORM company or two that you think are good choices, do a search on them. Find out what people say about them. See if they’re rated on the BBB. If they don’t have a good reputation, they certainly won’t be able to fix yours.
Choose an honest, organic process. There’s an ethical way to repair a reputation and an unethical way. If the firm you’re talking to uses terms like “keyword stuffing” and “link farming”, reconsider your choice. These outdated methods of SEO are cheap and ineffective.
Your reputation reflects what you do and what people say about you, and people will talk. If negative events, poor reviews, or no reputation at all is associated with your business, it may be worth it to invest in a trustworthy reputation management company to help build you up. Additionally, if your company’s name is associated with an overwhelming sentiment of trust and customer satisfaction, you probably have a good reputation - and that’s something hard to build, and worth protecting.