Reputation Management FAQ: Interview with Reputation Management Expert Arianne Smola

It’s hard to remember a time when a person’s online presence wasn’t factored into other people’s ideas of who you are. Turns out, it wasn’t very long ago. In 2006, only 11% of employers were combing through potential job candidates social media profiles. Jump-start to 2018, where nearly 70% of employers are auditing job candidates from their social profiles.

These statistics are representative of a growing digital culture shift where online research is becoming common practice in most aspects of everyday life.

Take for Example:

With so many online factors influencing everyday decision making, online reputation management is becoming a necessary and critical aspect of how people and businesses present themselves.

We sat down with Status Labs’ own Arianne Smola to discuss the current landscape of Online Reputation management in 2018.

How would you define online reputation management?

Online Reputation Management, to me, means presenting the best possible representation of yourself or your brand online. This means you have to be aware of the size and sentiment of your audience online. The first part is education. Google yourself… I’ll wait….

Now, think about how future business partners, clients, friends, or dates (?!) would feel about what they find about you online. Is there perhaps other information you’d prefer to populate that search?

What should someone do if they are in full reputation crisis mode?

Do not to rush into impulsive action in these situations. Remember that your audience is waiting for your response, and the actions you take now are going to define you publicly for a little while. It’s important to make the appropriate reparations. If you are experiencing backlash online, find an Online Reputation Management partner (like Status Labs), we are here to help.

What is the most common misconception about reputation management?

I think there are two major misconceptions; first that things can be “removed from the internet”, and second, that Online Reputation Management services begin and end with creating a lot of profiles, and generating content. While that is an important aspect of a much larger scope of work, simply creating content without promoting it through Search Engine Optimization, is going to do little to affect your reputation online.

How much time does it take to fix a damaged reputation?

It takes time. There is no quick fix for a reputation threat. For most of our clients, it takes 6-12 months to achieve a clean page one. We frame success around clearing page one because ~95% of people never continue on to page two of search results. Often times, once it becomes part of your practice, reputation management services are ongoing. You want to provide the best information to your clients, business partners, friends etc. Once we have fixed a damaged reputation, our client partnerships often continue with other related services; Public Relations, SEO, Facebook Marketing… We want to help you continue to grow and thrive!

How has new media influenced reputation management?

There are so many opportunities to build up your reputation online. Own your social accounts, engage with others in your industry, be a thought leader!

On the other hand, there are a lot of opportunities for the haters out there. Consumers hold so much power now! Make sure you are aware of how your clients and partners are talking about you online. If you aren’t happy with what you see, go about making some changes internally, and then reflect that with how you present yourself to the public and online.

Is there any benefit to working with an ORM company if someone does not have negative search results?

Of course! That’s another big misconception in our industry. If you aren’t putting yourself out there, you are missing out on a lot of opportunities. I often hear “he or she, or that company, likes to keep a low profile”. There is no benefit to keeping a low profile online. You will either a) end up having a crisis and won’t be prepared for how to deal with it or b) miss out on opportunities and growth that would otherwise have been available to you, had you made yourself better understood by your stakeholders.

How much control can a person really have over their reputation?

So much control! Individuals, most often, are the people who are unaware of the magnitude of their audience online – i.e. one of our clients didn’t know their name was being searched hundreds of times a month until he spoke with us and learned about search volume! Use that to your advantage. You have people who are looking to learn about you, so give them good information. Otherwise, they will go elsewhere for it. Wouldn’t you rather be the one who dictates your personal narrative?

What is the first piece of advice you would give a client interested in reputation management?

Know your goals. The world of reputation management is vast and clients are always surprised by the extent of our services and the reach our work is able to have. The more information you give us, the better we can tailor our campaign to fit your needs and goals.

Where do you see reputation management heading in the next five years?

In the next five years, we expect to see huge growth in the reputation management space. The need for reputation management services will become more widespread as people increasingly spend more time online at home and at work. Who you are perceived to be by the public is going to continue to be dictated by online research.

How can a company benefit from working with an ORM Specialist?

Companies benefit from our services because we fully integrate ourselves with their existing marketing and public relations structure. In partnering with companies, we handle the responsibility of protecting corporate (and corporate executives’) identity online. Companies love working with us because we are able to consult on ORM best practices and amplify the work they are already doing in their respective marketing and PR functions, making their efforts more visible and impactful to their online audience. Status Labs is unique in our industry in that we are a full service firm! Our clients appreciate coupling ORM with our other service offerings for a more integrated approach to reputation strategy.

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