‘Mentions’ refer to instances across the web where an individual user, brand or review uses your brand name or personal name. This is potentially beneficial for your brand awareness, as generally businesses will consider it to be a good thing if anyone is talking about them! However, it can also be negative if the context of that mention is bad. This is why it is important and useful to look out for mentions.
Whether you are a business or an individual, you have an online persona. You might not have thought about it as such, and you may never have tried to cultivate any particular image online, but regardless of that fact you will have left a ‘finger print’ on the web that people will be able to use to identify you and lean about you.
In fact, if you haven’t managed your online persona, then chances are that it’s even more prominent and having even more of an impact on the way others see you in business and in your personal life. Through all of our interactions with various web services and networks, we build a treasure trail that can show who we are – but if we’re not careful it can grow out of our control and take on a personality of its own.
For business in particular this is a big problem as it might be damaging your professional reputation. Even for individuals though it’s still a problem – particularly when a prospective new date ‘Google’s your name’.
This is what we refer to as reputation management.
Here then we will look at the things that can impact your online persona and at how you can manage it to make sure that you give off the impression you want and that it doesn’t end up damaging your success.
Mentions and Reviews
Of course it’s not just you who creates your online persona, but also the other people who talk to you and about you. If someone leaves a bad review on your website, or writes a strange message on your Facebook page, then that can end up coming back to haunt you so it’s important to make sure that you address these. If you do find a mention of your business, then make sure to respond and put your point of view across. And if someone posts anything dodgy on any of your profiles, then consider removing it.
Failing that, there are actually tools you can find online that will alert you to new mentions. Once you find a mention, your job is to make sure that you respond to it in order to present your ‘spin’ on the situation. Apologize whole heartedly for poor service, thank people for positive reviews and engage in fun conversation.
Your website is the most official aspect of your online identity – particularly for a business – and will hopefully be the one that most people look up when they’re trying to find out whether you’re reputable or not. Make sure that your website says what you want it to say then, by giving it a professional design and thinking carefully about your choice of words. Then make sure that you get it to the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages) so that people can actually find it.
This is the best way to handle reputation management: to ensure that when someone Googles you, your site comes up. That way, you control the message.