Online Reputation Management:

Wednesday - 22 May 2013

The Dark Side, Learning from Mistakes and Tips for Success

There’s more than negative reviews to worry about when it comes to online reputation management.

The Dark Side of Reputation Management: How It Affects Your Business warns PR pros of reputation management extortionists who dig into company histories, release photos of employee mugshots and offer to remove the information for a fee. The article interviews Richart Ruddie, CEO of ProfileDefenders.com, who suggests companies affected by a “mugshot extortionist” thwart the attempts by creating positive images of the employees on image galleries that will naturally push down the negative photos. Then, seek appropriate legal counsel if necessary. More proactively, it’s best to check out job candidates online before hiring.

In similar situations, some companies have turned to Google’s Blackhat SEO, a tool that allows webmasters to control spam and wrongfully negative comments that link to their sites by “disavowing” the link. However, because of abuse of the tool, Google announced Blackhat SEO will be inactivated by this summer, as reported in Blackhat Online Reputation Management: Is It Effective? Websites will now have to rely on an old-fashioned “by-the-book” reputation management strategy.

Online Reputation Management: How Not to Tank Your Business by Ignoring the Digital World gathers tips for a solid online reputation management strategy, including types of social media responses to avoid. Some of the online PR responses are cringe-worthy, but Jenny-Rebecca Schmitt insists there are ways to avoid them: always prepare for worst-case scenarios, and then incorporate her 10-point plan into your online reputation management strategy. Important: Go beyond “Monitoring 101″ with a service that can track blogs, forums and social media discussions. Then, incorporate your monitoring reports into marketing decisions on a regular basis.

Schmitt doesn’t include a recent worst-case social media disaster, the Facebook meltdown of two Arizona bakery owners who were both featured on the TV show Kitchen Nightmares. After receiving negative online comments about their TV appearance, the couple used rude and insulting comments in social media to lash out at followers. The first step in recovery would be “to put your hands up and say sorry,” Mike McGrail notes in Can You Recover from an Amy’s Bakery-Style Social Media Meltdown? Social media has certainly undermined an age-old precept: “No press is bad press.” Not.

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