Brands are everywhere these days, from paid advertisements to social media campaigns to your already overflowing inbox.
If you're working to establish your company's online presence, you could go ham on every social media platform, and attempt to gain as many links as possible on content sharing websites. But is that the way to establish your brand as a leader?
Consumers don't want to be constantly bombarded by brands. Rather, they want companies to act like humans instead of bots; for them to be personable and able to engage in discourse. To figure out how to create an effective online branding strategy, this month we reviewed a number of reputation tools and asked marketing experts:
How can I build my online reputation?
There are multiple channels to build an online reputation. Depending on the industry or profession one can choose an appropriate channel. For e.g. for a photographer Instagram maybe a better channel than Twitter, similarly for a journalist a blog is better way to establish authority.
The easiest way to start is by deciding the time one wants to invest on this effort. If there is ample amount of time at hand, having a personal website with frequently updated blog or portfolio is best. If time is a constraint then participating in discussions on social media is helpful. I recommend Twitter to share interesting thoughts, articles to share your view point.
Having a public resume or portfolio of work will help people who aren't comfortable participating in discussions or those who have a severe time crunch.
Charu Babbar, charubabbar.com
To build your online reputation you have to be consistent, patient and have something unique to share.
The online space is crowded and no one wants to hear someone just regurgitating others views, they want to hear your views and your uniqueness.
Be fast to give your thoughts on trending topics and a little polarization never hurts when sharing your thoughts. If you try to please everyone, your journey will be long and torturous, but if you can add some spice you'll grow faster.
You also want to share your opinion everywhere and keep it unique to the channel.
If you make a video upload it to YouTube, write a post about that video and put it on your blog, have someone make an infographic on what you discussed for $5 on Fiverr and share that on Pinterest, create an Instagram story summarizing your thoughts and link to that post on your Website. Now put that post on LinkedIn and Medium and write 5-10 Tweets about that post and share it there.
You see one piece of content can get your voice all over online and if you create systems it shouldn't take long.
Do this for 26-52 weeks and you'll see traction almost guaranteed and lastly after 26 weeks take all that content and put it into a book and upload it to Amazon.
If you have something unique to say, you'll see the results.
Mike Kawula, Dinner Table MBA
One's online reputation is about building a strong personal brand online since, as Jeff Bezos says, "Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room". Today's digital economy offers everyone almost the same opportunity to build their reputation online. Things that have worked for me include:
- Writing for large publications and sharing my insights there
- Speaking on topics of my expertise (The first gig was basically a chat with students of a university, whereas the latest one was me speaking to over 1,000 people in a large conference in Dubai)
- Podcast interviews and Webinars
The point is all of these avenues (large publications, conferences, podcast shows) are always looking for new ideas, new writers/guests to produce content for them. As long as you can focus on providing value first, you will be able to build a great reputation online.
Syed Irfan Ajmal, Ridester
I would say: Show yourself close
From my own experience, if the author answers questions, answers requests and heeds comments, that blog or social media is worth its weight in gold. And is that if a reader receives all that in return, will not hesitate at any time and visit that blog whenever you can since you will be at home.
It is true that in many occasions, you can generate such an amount of interactions that it can be really complicated to manage them, but, after all, it is your job and nobody said it was simple. In addition, having a continuous feedback will generate a greater volume of visits and a great reputation.
To keep you close to your readers, you can start to create a whole gear around your project that will allow many more possibilities and advantages for your future. Some possibilities that will have a positive impact on your benefits in the medium and long-term, but you have to be patient.
Sophie Miles, CalculatorBuddy.com
It's not just about having an online presence, but you also need to be consistently creating useful and shareable content online. It is not only to keep your website and other platforms fresh and up-to-date, but it will also demonstrate your knowledge and expertise about your chosen topic to your audience. After all, how will they know whether you are an expert in your field if you are quiet?
By making sure that you are frequently informing your audience, it will allow you to stand out from the crowd and prove that you are the go-to person for this topic. In comparison to someone who has a website but hasn't updated it in years, people will question whether you are reputable or not as you seemed to have "disappeared" (even if you haven't), and that will not help you with your online reputation.
Ahmed Khalifa, Khalifa Media
Join local networking groups, offer to guest speak- it can be a little scary if public speaking isn't your thing. One thing I've realized over my career is that everyone has different experiences and even if you sometimes feel like your ideas aren't that creative or groundbreaking- chances are they're still interesting to others, because they don't think the same way you do. As the guest speaker, local meetup groups tend to share some info about you with the group, and your name will live on as that awesome guest speaker they had that one time! (Building your presence offline can be an important part of building your online reputation as well).
Take the time to engage in community or industry groups online to offer your expertise without being salesy. People will recognize you as an authority if you are an active participant with good advice which can lead to positive word of mouth online.
Alicia Ward, Flauk
What do Siri and Alexa say about you? Anything?
One important, yet often overlooked and misunderstood, plank of any successful online reputation strategy is Wikipedia. The world's largest encyclopedia ranks near the top of almost any internet search and is used to populate the Google Knowledge Graph along with providing information to digital assistants - like Sirlexa.
Having a page on Wikipedia also lends itself to instant credibility in the eyes of potential clients, readers, customers, or any audience interested in a certain entity, person, or product.
While the benefits are huge, there are cons. It's frowned upon to put up a page about yourself or your company and, without knowing what you're doing, it's likely to be deleted pretty quickly anyway. Also, anyone and everyone can edit a page on the site once it's published.
Navigating the waters of Wikipedia can be tricky but it's worth it for those wanting to boost their online reputation and improve search visibility.
Andy Davis, Singing River Media
I believe personal branding starts with a better understanding of who you are, what defines your business and how well you combine the two. If you can't clearly articulate what values you hold as an individual and what you seek to accomplish as a business - then how can you expect to convince your customers about the very things that should make you unique?
As a quick exercise: see if you can answer these questions without thinking for too long. As I tell my clients, you should be able to answer all three in a one minute elevator ride with a potential client:
- What are the core objectives of your company?
- What principles are "sacred" and will not be altered?
- What motivates you?
Personally I use the (shortened) answers to these questions as regular Tweets and social media updates that I send out. These are the type of questions that can help you develop a mission statement as a business owner. That mission statement should be the solid foundation for every branding idea you develop.
Wilko van de Kamp, Wilko
Don't focus totally on promoting yourself. Nobody is going to want to engage with you on social media, reply to your emails or read your content if everything you put out is totally dedicated to self-promotion. In fact, if you really want to make a splash and grow your online reputation, you should spend more time producing non-promotional material than promo material.
Offer advice, be accessible and responsive to what's going on out there. You should be engaging with other people's content, responding to questions and comments on your posts and other people's. This makes you a known presence in your industry's field, without getting on your target market's nerves by constantly ramming your products and services down everyone's throats.
Create content that is engaging and helpful to your audience, encouraging them to come back, time and again.
James Nuttall, Cuuver.com
Authenticity has become the defining factor for online content and online businesses. This means an online reputation can't be rushed.
By authenticity, we're not necessarily talking about transparency but being authentic with your customers. The largest and most successful businesses all manage to create that authentic voice that resonates well with their customers. And with the modern consumer being so savvy to old-school marketing tricks, you can't afford to cut corners or be disingenuous
Online reputations need to be constantly monitored and worked upon for maximum impact and if you're looking to give it a boost, perhaps it's time to reevaluate your current branding and establish how authentic you are. What's your tone of voice like? How do your recent campaigns work?
Overcomplicating your message or simply focusing on the numbers is only going to hold you back. To really create a successful online reputation, you need authenticity in everything you do.
Natasha Orme, Insights for Professionals