Protecting your reputation is a major concern for anyone who has worked hard to build a brand. With the rise of the internet, social media, and new apps and services, it feels more overwhelming than ever to understand how to go about managing a brand in such an intensive, digital space. Here are some tips to help you to become more focused and strategic about protecting your reputation in 2019.

Monitor Engagement with Your Brand

Someone in your organization needs to be receiving notifications and ready to strategically respond to:

  • Reviews: Anywhere that someone can leave a rating or a comment about their experience with your organization.
  • Comments: Replies to your posts, questions, social media activity, any incoming texts from followers or the general public.
  • @Mentions: Any time that your account is mentioned directly can be a big opportunity. If the person or brand initiating contact has a significant relationship to you or they have a lot of followers then it is especially important.

These interactions are usually not inherently a good or bad moment for you or your organization. Even a 1-star review can turn into a positive moment for your organization if your response shows class, savvy, and is handled well. In the big picture, the most critical issue is that you are able to be agile and respond quickly in a way that stays on-message and true to your organization’s values. The way that you handle the response will be far more telling about your organization than whatever the initial person had to say.

Use Alerts & Notifications

To build off of the last point, someone needs to be listening! Many apps, especially the social media services, have built-in notifications. They are annoying, they can feel like spam, however for business owners and managers, they are important. It doesn’t matter if you hate Facebook or if you don’t want to be bothered (We all feel like that sometimes.), it is the world that our businesses are in now. Some important reasons why you should be paying attention:

  • Facebook will periodically try to verify that they are listing the right details for your business on your page. And sometimes they will try to change those details on their own. If you aren’t paying attention to confirm/decline those options, Facebook’s system will do things by itself.
  • Some platforms are starting to evaluate business pages by how quickly they respond to messages, and listing that publicly.
  • The “social” part of social media is the part that helps to grow your page. If you aren’t there to engage with another brand or person when they’re trying to interact with you, then you might miss the big moment.

Beyond social media, you want to try to pay attention to all 3rd party sites for mentions of your brand name or key members of your organization. Setup Google news alerts or some other kind of alert to be notified when other websites publish information about you. You won’t be able to respond to activity in a timely manner unless you are aware of it.

Track Search and Analytics

Like it or not, search engines define business life in this modern age. Learning how to understand their algorithms is an important aspect of being successful and reaching high-value customers and clients. Google and others are making constant changes to these algorithms, so it is important to understand how that impacts the way that your organization appears in their results. Beyond Google, Bing is also important to track domestically. If you have a significant audience outside of the United States, there are other search engines to target and track of significance in China, Russia, and other markets as well.

Strategically there is so much to gain from reading and understanding search analytics. You can use them to better understand your competition, to develop your own content, and to find growth opportunities. Data-driven decision making is empowering business leaders to do more than they ever could before.

Review the Security of Your Accounts

In cybersecurity there is a principle called “least privilege”. The idea being that everyone should have the most limited access possible, only being allowed to get into the files or accounts that they need for their function. The less that they can access, then potentially, the less liability if they are hacked or attempt to steal something.

That same form of compartmentalization is important for organizations dealing with their online presence. Many of the organizations that I’ve worked with will have ~10 people who can access the company Twitter account, and ~5 Facebook page admins, and so forth. Fewer cooks in the kitchen is generally going to be safer.

Conduct a review of your accounts to see how many people have access. Whenever possible, choose to use social media publishing platforms that give individual users their own logins, rather than everyone sharing the primary corporate account where everyone knows the main username/password combination and there is no form of 2-Factor Authentication.

For more tips on protecting your accounts, you can check out my full guide here.