How to Find an Online Reputation Manager

When was the last time you did a “vanity search” on your branded terms? Did you like what you found?

You’d be surprised what kind of things appear in Google’s top 10 results for Internet Retailer 500 companies. Not to add to any e-tailers’ reputation management issues, but here’s an example. There’s an online petition out there to boycott a toy retailer for carrying a George W. Bush action figure.

Love Bush or not-love him (non partisan Canadian, here) words like “petition” and “boycott” in search listing title tags are never something you want to see, and something you’d like to push down in results if possible.

What would you do if the public revolted against a product you carry, and singled you out in an online petition? Or a YouTube video? Blog post? Facebook Group?

A dedicated online reputation manager’s job is to monitor the web for new occurrences of your brand name in real-time, and ideally come up with a “damage control” plan. In this case, because there may be as many Bush supporters as passionate opponents (and judging by over 100 5-star reviews on the sold-out item it’s likely), the retailer didn’t pull the product (perhaps the retailer is even unaware of the petition). But in your case, a quick response and pulling of a product that customers react to may be a good move – or a public statement regarding the matter on your blog – or a clarification of misinformation…

Of course, this is only one example of a reputation management issue.

Depending on the size of your business and consumer propensity to search for your name, you may require a PR/social media marketing firm or in-house professional to handle your reputation management needs, serving as a community evangelist and corporate spokesperson full-time. Many companies have this and a search on any job board for “Public Relations Manager” or “Community Manager” may include reputation management in the list of responsibilities.

But it may be sufficient for you to hire someone to own your reputation management department on a part-time, contract basis. Like a good web analyst, if you hire the right person, that person can learn the tools and processes quickly and apply creativity, finesse and personality to the job.

I just finished reading Andy Beal’s Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online. For about $20, this book would be the perfect training manual for your reputation manager – it does a fantastic job of framing the “rules of engagment” (with your audience, that is) – explaining how to write for the web, the importance of SEO, common social sites and a range of reputation monitoring tools (among other things).

So whether you hire a savvy or a newbie, the book will guide you step by step to create:

  • An online pressroom
  • Conduct effective (non-spammy) blogger outreach
  • Leverage multimedia content
  • Choose the style of corporate blog that’s right for you and establish wise policies
  • Measure your blog’s success
  • Repair your online reputation
  • Measure your reputation management program effectiveness

Alright, maybe you don’t want a complete newbie — here are some basic skills / traits a person should possess to tackle this role:

  • An understanding of the social web, including blogs, forums, social networks, microblogs, photo/video sharing, ratings and reviews, RSS etc.
  • An ability to manage several social media profiles (an organized person!)
  • Exceptional communication skills, fluent in English with proper grammar and spelling
  • Someone who comes across as pleasant, positive and polite in online communications
  • Attention to detail – not someone who might send a sloppy email reply to all or cut-and-paste without triple checking the recipient email and name
  • A ninja at using search engines for research (an understanding of SEO a plus!)
  • Experience with web analytics is nice, but someone who can learn new software quickly is essential
  • An insanely curious person who keeps up with all the Internet marketing and social media blogs on a weekly basis, and always thinks outside the box

Now, if you’re not sure how many hours your reputation management project will take, you may consider hiring a virtual assistant or Internet savvy work-at-home-mom. Many work at home moms are avid networkers and bloggers and you can find them on WAHM (Work At Home Mom) forums like WAHM.com. You can read their archived posts and their blogs linked in signatures to get a feel for their tone, positivity, manners and English skills also. You can find virtual assistants in the VA Networking Forum.

Another idea is to post a listing on the SEOmoz Job Board and post under the Public Relations / Reputation Management category. SEOmoz readers are typically up-to-speed with Internet marketing and reputation management already, so you can just get them to apply the do-it-yourself steps in Radically Transparent.

I also want to extend the invitation to any Get Elastic readers who provide these services to leave a comment with a link to your site so those looking for online reputation consultants can check you out.

Don’t forget to read Radically Transparent yourself so you know what your business should be doing so you can gage the effectiveness of your Reputation Manager.

Not only that, but this book should be read by everybody, as it goes into depth about your personal reputation, and how you can manage that. All will find Radically Transparent a helpful guide to creating and maintaining a positive and authentic personal brand presence online.

Related Articles

16 Responses to “How to Find an Online Reputation Manager”

  1. Andy Beal says:

    Wow, thanks for such a glowing endorsement of the book.

    You’re absolutely right about needing an online reputation manager–so many companies have vast amounts of information silo’d, they really need someone to get a handle on it.

    Loved the idea of using a VA to start with.

  2. [...] know you need an online reputation manager. Get Elastic will help you figure out how to find one. Or, you can hire [...]

  3. Marshall says:

    I second reading Andy’s book. I recently picked it up to fill in a few knowledge gaps I had with online reputation management. Some of the suggestions would have come in handy in a previous life.

  4. If you’re hiring an online reputation manager, it’s hard to overstate the importance of finding the right person. It really does require a rare mix of talents.

    He or she has to be extremely diligent, but at the same time exercise good judgment and restraint: obvious, ham-fisted PR efforts can backfire badly!

  5. mike says:

    Yes, a good online reputation manager should have a solid handle of SEO, public relations, and social networking sites. He or she also needs to work very quickly.

  6. Excellent ‘resource post’, thanks for sharing.

    Bookmarked.

    Twittered.

    Keep ‘em coming…

  7. David says:

    Yet again I hear a great review of Radically Transparent. Guess it’s time to drop some cash and check it out.

  8. If your reputation manager needs to take care of your blog, make sure you don’t hire a “poser ghoster” who manufactures content on behalf of their client. Do like I do, as a Virtual Biographer, and always make sure that everything published comes straight from the mouth and mind of the person you represent.

  9. Andrew says:

    Linda- Appreciate the request for work-seekers to post here in the comments…

    As a consultant on things like social media, online marketing, and community management to my corporate clients, I’d welcome the opportunity to chat with any Toronto-based companies looking to engage an Online Reputation Manager and could share some insights and learnings from the past few years.

    http://www.andrewkinnear.com

    PS: Great book, and great post.

  10. [...] week I posted How to Find a Reputation Manager which was inspired by reading Andy Beal’s handbook to online reputation management, Radically [...]

  11. [...] and commitment. It takes practice and thoughtfulness before you actually need to depend on it to save your rear. To be less familiar with social media than your consumer, or to expect they won’t notice [...]

  12. rayna says:

    Online Reputation Management or ORM is, in simple terms – The process of monitoring a brand online, knowing how to deal with any negativity and understanding how you can pro-actively protect your brand via conversation channels.

  13. [...] Another way to build your trust as a retailer is to practice reputation management in search engines and across the Web, as customers might do some digging about your company. A great resource for reputation management is Andy Beal’s book Radically Transparent (you can read my review and tips for finding a reputation manager for your company here). [...]

  14. [...] Shipping: Got It? 10 Ways to Flaunt It How to Find an Online Reputation Manager Crutchfield Email Covers 4 Buyer [...]

  15. [...] have the time to neurotically check Twitter searches every 5 minutes, you could delegate this to an online reputation manager who can work on a holistic social media strategy including reputation management work. If [...]

  16. [...] information and respond appropriately, applying creativity, finesse and personality to the job. Get Elastic outlines some of the basic skills / traits a person should possess to tackle this [...]

Leave a Reply

© 2014 Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog. All rights reserved. Site Admin · Entries RSS · Comments RSS