AS part of the Business Entrepreneurship Exchange Programme, participants are placed in different organisations for three weeks.
The idea is to facilitate participants gaining an understanding of American business practices as well as observing how Americans run their businesses on a daily basis.
I have been placed at Communications Strategy Group (CSG) in Denver, Colorado. CSG is a public relations company whose focus is on media relations, strategic communications and planning, content development for the web, social media, and much more.
I have been here for just a week, but I already appreciate that online reputation management is a phenomenal field that has never been as critical as it is now.
Last year, John Rampton, entrepreneur, online marketing guru and startup addict interviewed Don Sorensen the president of Big Blue Robot, a well-respected reputation management authority. The interview was on the issue of online reputation management.
John subsequently wrote the article Is Online Reputation Management Dead? I would like to share snippets of his article.
- Sorensen advises: “Online reputation management is very much alive and inevitable in this digital age, it is time for companies to improve their reputation management strategy or suffer the consequences. Businesses need to understand the inherent significance that a positive online reputation has on their company and its bottom line.” So what is the key factor? “Take control and improve your strategy.”
- Just a few years ago it was still okay for a company to ignore the social web. Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites were considered immature and unproven. But that is no longer true. In fact, the fastest growing demographic for Facebook is the 55-plus crowd. Today, social needs to be a part of any marketing strategy and is essential to successful reputation management.
- Look for trends and be ready to adapt to those trends or your online reputation may suffer. Sorensen says one specific way to address this change is to develop an active public relations strategy and use major press sites like PRWeb or PRNewswire.
- History has proven that companies and individuals who were unwilling to change and try new strategies and new technologies have dried up and failed (remember MySpace?). It is a new playground, time for renewal and change. Take this opportunity to update your reputation management strategy. Become a thought leader by having your executives write insightful blog posts about your industry, create an online forum for customer support and be actively involved in charitable giving and create a separate website to highlight your work.
- Online reputation management is far from dead. It is do or die. Bottom line, take control of your reputation online now, and it won’t come back to haunt you in the future.
Nonto Masuku is an executive partner of an image management firm