This article will discuss what your digital reputation is and why it matters to you and your business. I explain why reputation matters to companies and show how businesses can use reputation management to improve their digital reputation in the hope of improving business outcomes.
When people think of a digital reputation, there are three points of discussion.
Digital reputation is influenced by the content of your website and social media profiles. In these days of social media, it's not just what your company says, but how it's said.
Everything needs to be worked out in advance because it's tough to control once it's out there.
We all want to be treated with respect and feel like we have a reasonable amount of say in the world's content. Therefore, the content of your digital footprint is most important because what you put there makes a huge difference. People will respond to your reputation if it is:
All of these will add up to a business reputation, which can also be:
I recently spoke at a podcasting conference, and one of the questions I was asked was whether digital reputation could ever be effectively managed. My answer was no because you can't control digital reputation, but you can develop your business's digital reputation.
We use the word reputation in the context of community involvement and support, but I'm not sure this is the right usage. The term is useful because it's specific enough to act as a useful guide for decisions, but it's too general to hold any value for this article.
Every organization will have a story of digital reputation, depending on its purpose and approach. For example, like some traditional organizations, an organization might have a website with several community pages.
A site like this might have a lot of foot traffic, but it would not be terribly useful.
A more successful digital profile will have a community page that is regularly updated, with news, blog posts, helpful content, community features, etc.
On the other hand, if your organization provides digital services, that's a totally different story. You want a product or service that is immediately useful to people who use it, and you want people to know you have it.
As a result, you have a public presence with digital sites, such as a website, blog, product store, e-mail newsletter, and so on. The person or company that can provide these services will get more business.
There's also the concept of "quality signals." In these cases, reputation is determined by actual evidence that what you are saying is correct.
Examples of quality signals would be a citation from a peer-reviewed journal or research from an independent group. The key here is to create what we call "reputation constructs" that help us make decisions.
Once you've created these constructs and the structures within them are clear and consistent, they're "well-managed," which means people can see and trust them. As a result, you start to build something more than a digital brand; you start to build an actual business reputation.
This is more difficult and requires more effort, but it pays off.
Everyone recognizes that digital reputation management is difficult, but I think it's more difficult to define.
Social networks can be useful for reputation management, but they're not really what this article is about. There are two different types of social networks:
One of the great things about social networks is that they encourage people to connect with others and do things together. If you're on LinkedIn, you're connecting with other business people, people you know, and people you might want to hire.
This makes them great for building a reputation – or at least raising awareness of an existing reputation.
We can also use the term social network in a more general sense to refer to all sorts of networking tools and products:
These are not exactly traditional websites or online services, but they provide information in a way that can be referred to as social. They can also encourage and facilitate social behavior.
Identifying what a social network does will depend on your objectives and what the users you want to reach are using them for. For example, Medium is a popular social network, but it's popular for specific reasons.
People use it to write longer and more academic pieces about business topics. You can use the platform to communicate with other academics, learn from them, and share and discuss ideas.
People use it to interact with each other, including to debate ideas and publish blog posts.
People use it to publish their own content, read the content of others, and comment on that content. There are also built-in tools to help users produce and promote content.
Social networks are used for many different purposes, and there are dozens of them.
For a brief list of how social networks can be used to build a reputation, here are ways that the Internet is making it easier for you to become better known.
Using social networks, you can:
We have included a few of the most commonly used social networking tools below.
But there are hundreds of others, many of which have some good features that are worth using.
Research your options and figure out which ones you would like to use and which ones are appropriate for your business. For example, if you have a large enough following to drive your content to the top of the page, it might not be suitable for you to use a smaller social network.
If you want to have an online presence that is seen by people you want to attract, it's a good idea to build a social profile that will help you reach them. It's better to have a larger audience than just a few followers.
Nowadays, there are many different social networks that you can use to build your reputation.
You can use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You might use another platform, such as Reddit.
You can also use niche social networks, such as Blind, BlackLabel, and Tendril.
There are many advantages to having a large and targeted audience. Here are just a few of the benefits:
Of course, with a bigger audience, you have more opportunities to get your name out there.
Once you have created your social profile, you will probably want to interact with your followers.
You can do this in different ways. If you want to interact with people directly, you can do this on the relevant network.
If you want to interact with people on your own profile, you can do this on your own profile on a social network.
You can use text or video on the network that you have chosen. You can also share photos and videos on your own profile and other social networks.
If you want to be able to share the activity you are doing, then you will probably want to upload photos to a camera roll or on a file-sharing network.
This article talks about creating a social media presence.
Creating a social presence can be an expensive process. It may not be possible for you to do all of the work on your own.
Here are some of the ways that you can help build your social profile:
If you are going to link to someone, you should check their privacy policies. However, it is possible to link to a piece of content, like a video, without even meeting the person in person.
Another thing that you can do to help people understand that you exist is to interact with them. For example, you can write a blog post that people are likely to see.
Of course, you might not have time to do everything you would like to be doing. If you are spending your time on social networks, you should be doing the things that will get you a lot of responses.
When you post something on social media, someone will comment on it. If it's something that your network agrees with, this is probably a good thing.
However, if you want to build your reputation as someone that people will like, you should respond to the people who are commenting. You should also respond to the people that are posting comments.
Of course, you will want to get this right. You will want to respond as quickly as possible. You should make sure that you respond to the right people.
Finally, you will want to respond to the people who are sharing their own opinions. You should also respond to people that are asking questions.
Building a good social media presence takes time and money.
However, if you can invest these resources in yourself, you can help people see that you are a company that people should be talking about.
It is possible to grow your business using social networks.