Dear Colleagues:

I've been contemplating how to best use social networking tools for my clients and for my business. While some uses seem obvious, others less so. Just when I thought that LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter comprised the community offerings, it turns out that there are social networks for so many industries, professionals, products, entertainment groups, and one can become an online fan of their favorite soup, car, rock group or employer.

Over the coming months we will discuss tools and strategies to leverage digital media and social networking to achieve marketing goals. This issue of Marketing Coach features strategies and tactics for building and protecting the online reputation of your company, product/service or an individual. Everything we do (or don't do) online has a potential impact on what customers, prospects, collaborators, journalists and employers know and think about us.

You are your own best cheerleader and body guard.

Enjoy!
Ivy

 
 

Increases Your [Company's] Googleability; Build Your Online Reputation

 
 

Companies large and small, as well as executives looking to build a platform to promote their leadership and expertise, will find some of these tips for building an online reputation helpful. Many are also useful to build an individual's online footprint when looking for a job or ensuring that your reputation on the Internet enhances and does not detract from your prospects for being promoted.

1. Get your own web site. Registering yourcompanyname.com and adding a basic website is a sure-fire way to occupy one of the top ten Google listings for your name. You can do the same with product names, people's names, fan clubs, and more.

2. Add a sub domain. Sub domains are used to assign a unique name to a particular product, category, department, service or any page existing on your website where you want to drive additional traffic. Google considers sub domains as separate from your main site, though they still include your main brand. Say you want to highlight new personalized services, specific technology expertise, health benefits, or as an individual you want to promote your design samples for future employers, the sub domain would look like databasegurus.yourcompanyname.com, .painmanagement.yourcompanyname.com,
samples.yourname.com.

3. Start a blog. This will enable you to establish an online presence on the topic(s) of your choice. Even occasional posts develop a following online -- seemingly organically -- and attract others with similar interests. You can implement controls so you may screen entries and comments. This is a growing tool to establish organizational, product and individual expertise, build a reputation and create a community. Wordpress.com and Blogger.com both provide free blogs and free hosting. Add just a few posts, target it to your name - that means use it in the blog title, posts etc.- and add hyperlinks.

4. Create a social networking profile. LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook profiles can rank well for your company or personal name. When you sign-up, be sure to use your real name and pick the URL with your profile name, e.g. myspace.com/companyname . This is substantially better than myspace.com/12345678, since using a nickname won't help with your Google reputation. You can also choose a name that establishes a fan club for your product or service.

5. Claim your identity. Naymz and ClaimID are both online providers of reputation and identity management. Naymz works as a promotion service for people who may need to proactively repair or build an online footprint with tools that score your reputation, promote your profile and enable you to actively guide your image.

 
 

Clean Up Web Trash Talk; Protect Your Online Reputation

 
 

Has your company been "trash talked" on a "I hate (name of company)" website or blog? Have you personally participated in social networking where you've shared your opinion about anything that others could disagree with or tagged or allowed others to "tag" your photo from Halloweens past? You and your organization can have a presence in the Web 2.0 world at your own peril - or to your benefit.

Here are some helpful tips about how to protect your online reputation.

Maintain your "Google-ability" factor. With potential customers, future employers and members of the media turning to Google for information about your business, the Web giant has become a reputation engine. Most wait until they are in a crisis situation to attempt to build a positive online image, which is a big mistake. If you find information you think could be detrimental to your career, see about getting it removed by an Internet reputation management consultant.

Choose your social network carefully. Research and affiliate with groups and communities that are relevant to your industry and career like gibLink for entrepreneurs or Oddpodz for creative professionals. To ensure the strategic value of social networks, explore how to separate your communications for professional networking versus personal use, possibly with separate sites for each or posting for a dual audience.

Keep your guard up. Don't post anything on social networking sites (e.g. LindkedIn, Twitter, MySpace or Facebook) that you wouldn't want your colleagues, customers or a prospective employer to see.

Exercise privacy controls. If your personal network offers the option, consider setting your profile to "private" so it is only visible to friends. Since you cannot control what other people say on your site, consider using the various "block" features to control who sees what.

 
 
 
©2009 Ivy Cohen Corporate Communications, Inc.