“The blaze of reputation cannot be blown out, but it often dies in the socket; a very few names may be considered as perpetual lamps that shine unconsumed.” Samuel Johnson
Now that I have you convinced that you only have one reputation, I’m going to thoroughly confuse you by walking you through how to identify all of the reputations that may require your focus over the next 30 days.
Before you feel cheated, allow me to explain.
It is true that as “Andy Beal” I have the same reputation online as I do offline, and the same one whether I’m tweeting for myself, or on behalf of my company. We’re not moving away from that principle. However, what I do want you to understand is that you have many more reputations than just your personal name, or the name of your company.
If you want to improve your online reputation, then you need to make sure that every possible brand under your control looks as good as possible. After all, you wouldn’t workout for 30 days to get rock solid abs, without also working on your arms, legs, shoulders, etc. With that in mind, let’s look at the six reputations that most of you will need to nurture and protect.
Your personal name
Yes, we’ve covered this in Day 3. However, you should consider whether you have variations of your name, which you need to manage. If your name is John Smith, but you also go by Johnny Smith, then you either need to just pick one variation and stick with it, or concede that you now have two different personal brands to manage. For me, I go by Andy Beal 100% of the time—unless I’m sitting down for dinner with my mother, who insists on calling me Andrew.
Let’s face it, by the time you finally join the latest social media network, the chances are you weren’t able to grab your real name as your username. Instead, you were forced to use a nickname—and hopefully you didn’t choose “fluffybunny247” because that presents a whole new level of reputation management.
In addition, back before online reputation management became so vital, many folks decided to use nicknames for all of their online accounts. For example, internet marketing mastermind Michael Gray, is known as “Graywolf” in all of the industry circles that matter to him. Now he has to pay close attention to the reputation of both his real name, and his nickname.
Your company name
Your personal brand and your company brand are intrinsically linked; you learned that on day 3. It therefore makes sense to ensure that your company reputation is presented as positively as possible. Just as with your personal name, you may not be able to rely on managing solely your official company’ name. For example, the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline is also known as Glaxo, GSK, and by legacy names such as Glaxo Welcome and Smithkline Beecham.
Your product & service names
Most small and medium sized businesses won’t have an array of product or service names to worry about, but if you’re Apple, Google, or GlaxoSmithKline, then you may have dozens, nay hundreds, of products to protect from reputation attacks. While it may not be practical to monitor and manage the reputations of all of your products, you certainly should pay attention to those that generate the most revenue and kudos for you.
Your CEO and other executives
I once worked for a company where the CEO kept a very low profile and let others handle all public announcements and speaking engagements. As you can imagine, if he was discussed online, it was generally not anything that was planned. Consequently, we kept a watchful eye for any discussions that included his name.
You may be the CEO, so you can obviously skip this step. If not, then you will want to make sure you protect the reputation of your CEO, C-level executives, and any other prominent employees. For example, Google’s Matt Cutts is not part of the search engine’s C-suite, but he is the spokesperson for all things related to the company’s algorithm and spam-fighting efforts. If you were managing the online reputation for Google, Cutts would be high on your list of reputations to monitor and manage.
Your marketing messages
It’s the Real Thing.
Because You’re Worth It.
We Try Harder.
You probably recognize at least one of the above marketing slogans. Coca-Cola, L’Oreal, and Avis have all spent a lot of time and money to ensure that their messages are stored away tightly in the recesses of your brain. Knowing where, when, and how each message is shared on the web is a priority for each of these corporate giants. Likewise, if you have a marketing message, tagline, or other slogan that is tied to your brand, you should include it in your online reputation management efforts.
It’s time to start listening
As you get ready to move into Day 5, you now have an understanding of all the reputations that are important to you. The next step is to start monitoring as many online conversations about these reputations as you possibly can. If you don’t know what’s being said, you won’t know the work needed in order to improve sentiment towards each reputation. Onward!