Managing Your Online Brand Reputation
For our December post Dr. Amit and I chose to discuss the role of online personal branding in India and Japan as well as tips on how to successfully manage your brand online.
View from Japan: Peter Sterlacci
Japan is considered one of the most wired countries and the Japanese are starting to jump on the web 2.0 bandwagon. Consider these facts:
- Facebook has more than tripled its user base in Japan in less than a year.
- Twitter estimates that people in Japan write nearly 8 million tweets a day, about 12 percent of the global total.
- Japan’s biggest homegrown social networking site Mixi Inc. recently joined forces with Twitter to strengthen their ground against Facebook’s expansion.
- LinkedIn added the Japanese language to its platform this Fall and is aggressively promoting themselves as the only professional social media network in the country.
- Workplace solutions provider Regus found that close to 70% of Japanese companies agreed that social media is an essential aspect of branding.
- Japan has the largest and most active blogging culture in the world. Close to 40% of the world’s blog posts are in the Japanese language.
- As Japanese internet users spend the most time visiting blogs worldwide, blogging has become a crucial social media tool in Japan to promote their services and products.
- Google has announced a link-up with Japanese super-band AKB48 that will see the all-girl-group begin using its Google+ social network to interact with their fans in the country and overseas.
Clearly the Japanese are establishing their presence online and knowing how to manage their online identity is more important than ever as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ require usage of real names. We are seeing the start of an online usage mind-set shift in Japan from spending time mainly online in the ‘interest graph’ (looking for information) to embracing the ‘social graph’ (interacting with others or promoting oneself). As such online identity and reputation management is becoming more crucial in Japan’s Web 2.0 economy.
5 Factors to Manage Your Online Identity
If you are digitally present, are the results ‘on-brand’ or ‘off-brand’? Remember, whether you realize it or not, you ARE your Google results to people who do not know you. Knowing your place in the digital world is more important than ever before.
Willam Arruda, founder of Reach Personal Branding, says there are 5 factors in measuring your online reputation: volume, relevance, purity, diversity, and validation.
- Volume: how much information exists online about you?
- Relevance: how consistent is this content with who you say you are?
- Purity: how much is purely about you and not someone else with the same name?
- Diversity: how diverse is the content about you including text, video, images, photos, etc.?
- Validation: what are other people are saying about you in testimonials, comments, recommendations, likes, +1s, etc.?
Reach’s free ‘Online ID Calculator’ will measure these 5 factors and help you to make sense of your Google results so that your online identity is aligned with your real-world personal brand.
Tips to Enhance Your Online Reputation
- Volume: If you need more results that are about you, set up social networking profiles on many sites by editing your current branded bio and establishing accounts at Naymz, Ziggs and other sites.
- Relevance: Write an article about your area of expertise and post it to an appropriate online portal. Find blogs related to your area of thought-leadership, subscribe and comment when you have something valuable to contribute. Review books related to your area of expertise at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. Publish relevant white papers to SCRIBD.com. To learn how to turn one real-world communications activity into a year’s worth of online content, check out this video: http://bit.ly/realvirtual.
- Purity: Sign up for an account at Vizibility. The service allows you to identify the Google results that are about you and create a “Search Me” button that you can include in your e-mail signature, your LinkedIn profile, on your blog, etc. This will help you to remove content that is unflattering or inconsistent with how you want to be known.
- Diversity: Sign up for a Flickr account and post relevant images. Set up your Google profile. Put your branded bio on an About.me or Flavors.me site. Create your channel on YouTube and Vimeo and start posting videos related to your expertise. Finally, set up your own VideoBIO.
- Validation: See what others are saying about you by setting up alerts on all search engines, but specifically on Google. For Twitter set up alerts on TweetBeep. Every time someone uses your names you will be alerted to that you can monitor how others are validating your brand.
View from India: Dr. Amit Nagpal
Reputation of a person is an opinion about that entity, typically a result of social evaluation on a set of criteria (Wikipedia). Reputation is broader than image. We can manipulate our image by presenting the positive side and suppressing the negative side (negative information) but reputation is the sum total of our impression and others’ opinions and it is comparatively difficult to manipulate.
Online Usage and Reputation in Indian context
How do we build or spoil our online reputation?
- What we write (microbolgs and blogs): All that we write on the social media and other internet sites becomes permanent or semi-permanent in the digital world. Media is media, even if it is social media. So be careful what you are posting.
- What we comment (comments on the microblogs and blogs of others): Comment to share your knowledge but not to boast. Comment to share your perspective but not to show your superiority (or put someone else down). Comment to promote yourself but also promote and encourage others. In simple words maintain a delicate balance.
- What we post (photos, quotes, questions and so on): A picture says a thousand words. So what do your pictures say about you? What do your questions and quotes say about you? Do you post sarcastic, stingy and negative quotes all the time? It certainly brings out the negativity inside you.
- What we reveal (between the lines) about ourselves: Sometimes you try to act smart and try to be politically correct by not saying something, but your incomplete sentences, tone or something else can be easily read between the lines. Sometimes you want it to be read; sometimes you don’t even realize what you have told indirectly.
What if I have a negative past?
So what do I do to build a good reputation?
- Be humble
- Accept your mistakes
- Monitor your reputation
- Analyze the comments and check whether you need to improve yourself