Part 2: The Digital Personal Branding and Reputation Management Gold Rush: Staking Your Claim!
This is the final installment of a two-part series about personal branding and reputation from Kevin McFall, Vice President of Global Business Development for Cision. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @JournoPR3point0.
While no two digital personal branding plans will be exactly alike, there are several fundamental steps many experts recommend. Probably among the most important steps any individual or firm should include in their plan is the registration of any and all available domains that can be directly or indirectly associated with the brand. And don’t just register the domains and not publish content to them. You must put them to use toward meeting your branding objectives and to control your reputation.
Search results are also an area where your digital brand is most vulnerable. The ability to ensure the search results most complementary to your brand come up first is one of the greatest challenges of digital branding and reputation management. Fortunately, there have been numerous efforts developed to try to filter the proverbial wheat from the chafe. One tool that has gained some traction is a service called Vizibility, which gives you a personalized URL for to share with others to share you or your brand on Google. You have the ability to pre-configure what the results will look like, thereby filtering out the irrelevant results that occur in organic search results.
In addition to managing search results, you should claim the profiles for your brand identities on the leading social media platforms. Services like claim.io and knowem.com, have built solid businesses offering individuals the ability to register and create profiles across a plethora of social sites in bulk.
One caution here is that despite staking your claim on the various platforms, you are still required to care and feed each of the profiles. From there, the steps can vary greatly from ensuring that you provide at least one mention of yourself or brand on any self-branded websites, for every four mentions you make of other brands or related persons of interest to linking to all of your content. After establishing a presence for your brand and nurturing the brand with the considerations I mention above, you are now in a great position to proactively manage your online reputation.
Listening is step number one, and the core of your online reputation management efforts. What I haven’t described is where to listen and what to listen for. Determining where to listen can seem like a daunting and overwhelming task, but can be simplified by anticipating where people might be talking about your brand. This is not an overnight process, but anticipating where your friends, customers, competitors are should already be a core component of your marketing strategy.
In the digital realm, it is certainly important to take note of the obvious, like the half billion registered users on Facebook. What to listen to about your brand may not already be so ingrained in the management of your brand. You want to listen to not just the positive or negative comments being made about you, but also those remarks that may be construed as neutral. With positive mentions you want to ensure that you reinforce those remarks, bookmark and share them throughout your social graph. With neutral remarks, you want to be sure to expound on the point with any additional information, help or assistance you can provide in an attempt to influence them to be positive next time. Finally, with negative remarks, you want to discern what you can tackle, constructively respond and in some instances , particularly for those remarks that are not based in fact, provide counter comments leading with factual based information. Companies serving in the reputation management category include Brand-yourself.com, Naymz.com, and ReputationDefender.
With a basic understanding of personal branding and reputation management in place, a few key tips on defining your objectives, considerations for your brand objectives, and suggestions for formulating a plan, you should be ready for the gold rush on your brand and able to effectively stake your claim!
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