Is it reputation management, perception management? Or search management?
I was recently directed by Tom Martin to read an updated post by Rohit Bhargava on Social Media Optimization and while it did get me thinking again about something I had not given much thought to in a while, it, like many other blog posts, opened up another footlocker of thoughts.
As I’m wont to do oh so frequently, I started thinking about the term reputation management and what that really meant. Literally defined for us in the digital world, it’s the practice of managing your orgs reputation online.
For most of us lay people, reputation management means trying to control or do something about the bad comments that show up on Google’s first page of search results about our brand. That something is usually defined as using social media and search techniques to make it go away or… Could we say that might be… Social Media Optimization?
Don’t get me wrong, I love Rohit’s definition or ” new rules” of SMO
- Create shareable content
- Make sharing easy
- Reward engagement
- Proactively share content
- Encourage the mashup
But you see, at the end of the day the number of social interactions/engagements you have, and the number of social profiles you have, and the number of social platforms you play on, all to a certain degree will be reflective in higher search rankings. So essentially Rohit’s 5 new rules contribute to better search results.
# of social interactions + # of social platforms + # of profiles = Better search results
Which means the reality is the sum total of all of this activity will alternately end up driving perception. So given that SEO is a key component, ancillary as it might be to contributing to social media, it still is the key determining factor in driving perception of people and brands.
I will say it again.
SEO and Social Media are inextricably joined at the hip.
So is managing your reputation via search and social also include your ability to understand the key components of search?
You bet it is.
Which means that bad companies ( poor customer service, bad products, etc.) could be very adept at SEO, and given that your perception may be controlled or driven by a manipulated or “gamed” search hierarchy, you would never know they suck.
Your perception of their reputation is skewed by a high search ranking and a search result that may have also been manipulated or influenced by surface level social media participation as well.
Which means that the algorithm is flawed.
Given that most of us are intent on putting our best foot forward and are hell bent on quelling or snuffing out negative press-it would seem to me that a full understanding of the implications of search along with a full understanding about the power of how all of your social interactions influence reputation management would be a sound business decision.
So here’s your takeaways.
- Know that search and social media are tied to each other.
- Do not treat the fact that you can control these things lightly.
- Search can be your friend as much as it can be your enemy.
- Understand that everyone has the ability to game the system.
- Do not want to wait to address negative search results after the fact.
- Dive deeper when doing your homework on companies and people.
- Create meaningful social profiles
- Participate in social media because you want to, not because of the SEO benefits.
A word to the wise is sufficient.