Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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On Social Media, as in “Real Life,” Reputation Management is a Must

February 15, 2013

There is no such thing as bad publicity. An Irish author originated that phrase before the worldwide web was invented.

Reputation management has always been an issue for sales professionals. Todd Martin blog 020713 image 1You may have had to do damage control in the past when something negative – true or untrue – was being passed around about you and your work. Maybe you sent a personal letter or made phone calls, or enlisted the help of the local newspaper. Certainly, you tried to set the record straight with anyone who asked you outright about it.

These days, you’ll undoubtedly want to use social media to rebuild your reputation, especially since it was probably your online networks that spread the harmful information in the first place.

Know What’s Being Said

Don’t wait for a crisis to occur. Ideally, reputation management should start as soon as your website goes up or you post your first Tweet. If you’re proactive, you might be able to catch a negative spark before it bursts into flame.

Todd Martin blog 020713 image 2Let Google help you with this by:

  • Creating Google Alerts. This is one of the simplest, most effective ways to catch mentions of you or your company.
  • Searching for critical phrases regularly. Set up searches for sentence fragments like, [Your Company] review, [Your Company] scam, [Your company] complaint. You might try using more colorful language, too.

You must stay on top of any of your social venues where visitors can comment. If someone posts content that is vulgar or threatening or offensive in some way, you are within your rights to remove it. It it’s on a site that you don’t control, you have recourse. For Google properties, for example, visit this page for help.

Prevent and Put Out Fires

The more upbeat material there is about you on the web, the less impact criticism will have. Unsolicited endorsements are the best kind of free publicity, but you should be building up your own brand, too.

So maximize positive content. One way to help negate unflattering comments is by posting voluminous positive content of your own. I don’t mean tooting your own horn in a self-serving way. Find ways to attach your brand to engaging, educational – even humorous or touching – content. Create webinars, podcasts, white papers, interviews – anything that can cast your company and its management in a positive light. Stay on top of SEO strategies so that your efforts aren’t for naught.

Also, monitor your Wikipedia page. People look to it for expert information, though it’s written by mere mortals.

It’s also a good idea to encourage people to write Todd Martin blog 020713 image 3reviews. You might even create a separate page on your website for them, but watch it like a hawk. And when people make comments about you anywhere, respond to both positive and negative feedback.

Don’t go overboard here, but let people know that you’ve heard them. Thank them briefly and rephrase something they said. If they’re critical, don’t fall all over yourself apologizing, but acknowledge their points – if they’re valid — and assure them that they will be addressed.

Reputation management isn’t a new concept. Mark Twain said in a previous century  that …a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes. The internet accelerates the spreading of untruths, but you can also use social networks to dispel them.

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Reputations are important. We are confronted with positive and negative forces every day. Why is it wrong to try to solve or comment on the negative forces? Why is that not good to expose? I mean, I know it’s great to hear great news, but not everyone is blessed to have someone to talk to who they can trust.

Patrick O'Brien

February 16, 2013