By Hervé Larren
CEO of Accurate Reputation and a member of YPO since 2012
As a chief executive, your role must include being the “face” of your establishment. Thus, it is in your best interest to tackle the difficult task of maintaining a good standing within various online communities. By doing so, you help enrich your reputation and reap the benefits of the online market to its fullest.
This grueling task only can be taken on with determination and a good strategy to follow. In order to gain an advantageous lead over the competition, it is imperative that you, as a chief executive, provide solid management and offer recommendations to your team on how to improve the corporate image. This is first and mostly achieved by leading by example. You can use the following simple criteria to create a basis for your strategy to maintain the best possible online reputation.
Maintain visibility online in a productive manner
While limiting content can prevent negative feedback or a poor image about your company from manifesting, it will not aid in improving your online reputation in the least. Not being able to find information about your business online is a sure way for your company to fade away into the abyss, hidden behind the staggering masses of competition.
Ensure that you have enough high-quality content present online, whether it is via a company website or through social media. It may also be beneficial if you produce a personal blog, where you can both represent your brand and provide useful information to potential clients. By personalizing yourself to the public, individuals can feel more connected to the company, as they get a glimpse into the inner workings of the CEO’s mind.
Simultaneously, it is imperative that these various pages are easily accessible to anyone making an organic online search. Utilize your resources as chief executive to ensure that your company can be instantly noticed on various search engines through proper SEO (search engine optimization).
Collect and monitor feedback to accurately depict your company
Viral news affects all aspects of the internet, and can adversely affect your company’s reputation if not dealt with properly. While good content can aid in your image, there’s no telling how others may work against you in some way or another. No amount of content you produce can bury damaging comments that spread like wildfire.
You have the power to monitor and effectively react to any news or comments that are harmful to your company, and, therefore, must remain alert. Educate your team to become more attentive to the public’s reactions so that your company maintains proper inclusion within the online community, rather than simply observing from the outside.
Personalize the experience by adjusting the tone of your reactions
Whether you’re observing positive or negative feedback from the public, you must present yourself in a way fitting to a professional company. Chief executives must not react rashly to a berating comment or complaint, but rather remain composed and formulate responses to benefit the reputation of the company. For example, if a member of the public disproves of a company practice, structure your response to logically explain the practice and redirect the conversation toward a positive aspect of your business.
Furthermore, simply ignoring displeasing comments or press does not aid in your reputation in any way. A leader should be proactive in chasing them down to provide resolutions of some kind. Use your blog or participate in online communities like social media, where negative feedback most often manifests, and personalize yourself to the public with constructive replies. Naysayers are less inclined to be so brashly voiced when continuously faced with composure and reason.
Building a secure online reputation takes time and determination, but achieving it is vital to your success. CEOs are tasked with representing the company, and therefore, your image on the Internet must be both compelling and significant. Stay proactive and distinguish yourself in upholding an accurate brand image, while being able to constantly evolving to meet the needs of your marketplace.
Hervé Larren is the CEO of Accurate Reputation, a premier online reputation management company. Their core area of expertise is to take out negative listings of individuals and companies on the web. They have helped Forbes list members, CEOs and Celebrities “clean” their Google profile.