- Social media
- Blogs including comments on your blog or someone else’s, possibly a third party’s
- Testimonials or recommendations on various websites
- Articles in an online or offline publication
- Letters (yes, people do sometimes still write these)
It’s impossible to hear every conversation where your name is mentioned, you can’t eavesdrop on every meeting everyone has, but if it’s written information there are steps you can take to stay informed.
You always hope that people are saying positive things, but how can you keep track so you can carry out active damage limitation if something negative appears?
The answer is that, if it’s a private communication – either email or a letter – you can’t, unless someone tells you about it. If it’s online anywhere then setting up Google alerts for your name and your business name is the best move. This means that, when someone mentions the terms you’ve specified, you’ll get an email with links to the content.
Providing the information is in the public domain you’ll be able to go and view it. That means you can say ‘thanks’ if it’s positive and take action to mitigate anything negative.
Is that it?
It’s a start, but reputation management has more to it than keeping tabs on what people say; that’s reactive. You can be proactive in a number of ways:
- Post useful information into your social media accounts so you get a reputation as someone who shares value
- Write blogs that share your knowledge and demonstrate that you know your stuff
- Offer to blog on other people’s blogs – ideally ones that share your target market, you’ll get a wider exposure and help their audience too
- Follow your social media feeds reasonably regularly and help people where possible. This is a good approach in Facebook and LinkedIn groups too.
- Share blogs you enjoy – curating content associates you with good quality information AND establishes you as having your finger on the pulse
- When you get a testimonial say ‘thank you’ publicly
- Publish testimonials on your website alongside the relevant content (i.e. on the page where that service is described, not on a dedicated testimonial page – fewer people visit these and even fewer read past the first 2-3)
- Get published in the industry journals your target audience read – it can be easier than you think and gives your reputation a boost as a published author.
- Volunteer to speak at local networking events to share your knowledge – your audience will remember you as someone who shares tips and advice, especially if you give them branded handouts with space for their notes
- Give away your top 10 tips on your website – if possible collect people’s email address so that you can continue to send them useful information.
These are just a few; with a little ingenuity you’ll start to spot opportunities.