Reputation Management is the topic du jour on many company's lips these days.
As it should be.
We're finding even the most upright firms hammered by snarky folks. Some have the right to say what they say. The company did them wrong, and they couldn't get to a solution through traditional channels (note: if you're not empowering your front-line employees to solve problems for your clients, the social mediasphere will welcome you with a barrage of bullets and hand grenades).
Other times there are folks who just want to make noise in order to deflect your success. As unbelievable as this sounds, we've seen it more than once. But negative online press can be overcome if you stay on top of it.
Finally: You. Your online rep. Your LinkedIn profile+FaceBook+PeoplePond+Twitter+YouTube+Flickr = who you are in the interwebs. And in real life.
Flyte New Media founder Rich Brooks recently ended up on a Maine news channel talking about this very subject. His blog also expounds on it in an entertaining, full featured sort of way. Sort of a Joel Spolsky of online rep.
Check it out. I'm rushed today or I'd provide some extremely insightful ways for you to add even more awesome reputation management elements to your portfolio, but...
Oh, alright. Here are a few that quickly come to mind:
1) Don't be an idiot. At least in public. Where friends and strangers with phone cams pwn you.
2) Do invest in helping others in your industry succeed. Write blog posts about them, and comment on their blogs as well. I expect Rich will be sending a private jet for me shortly. And Joel? I like my steak medium rare and my martini dry as a desert, thanks very much.
3) Whether you like it or not, Google has already established a reputation for you. You'll find it by Googling your name, your brand, or your website. Slightly different versions will also show up on Yahoo! and MSN/LiveSearch. Regardless - it's you and your brand. You are in control if you actively contribute to the blogosphere/twittersphere/YouTubesphere, etc...
BTW: my very favorite big-brained person has recently launched the Uber-Personal branding platform for the 21st century. David McInnis crafted PeoplePond.com to help make your online profile the first thing people see when they Google your name. It's an affordable service no one should be without.
Just do it. Get active and contribute something to the online media space. Tweet, blog, Vlog and participate in everything from Amazon.com book reviews to Yahoo Answers and LinkedIn.
You'll find over about 6 weeks you can actually move the needle in your favor just by being active.
In a future post, I'll cover how to do this without driving yourself nuts. Or working until 3AM to get that LAST critical tweet out to your adoring fans. Which I still do. Daily.
Mark Alan Effinger
P.S. (and don't tell me you didn't know this was coming...;-) At RichContent, we've nearly completed our online reputation management Find & Fix platform. We believe that you shouldn't just locate all the nastiness that's following you around - you should fix it in the mix (as we used to say in the recording studio).