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Online Reputation Management Leveraged with Social Media Optimization

Author: Julie Ann Ross

Online Reputation Management, ORM, is the practice of managing an individual or business reputation within online media. Online media, including search engines, are managed to make positive information visible to the public and downplay any information which could negatively affect the individual or business. Reputations are earned. Years of hard work and building trust can be destroyed online, often anonymously. In this article you will learn why building, maintaining and protecting reputations has become as important online as it is offline. Learn how to manage your online reputation with social media optimization.

The advent of social media, communities, and networking sites, has been useful to many companies. They have positively affected the majority of businesses by allowing them to directly communicate with consumers about products and services they offer. However social media has also opened doors to malicious behavior of the minority, which has proven to be damaging to individual and corporate reputations. Individuals and the small business to the fortune 500 companies have been harmed by malicious online postings. Part of this pain is self inflicted and some is the handiwork of unhappy customers, disgruntled former employees or chronic complainers. There are several rules to remember while posting online, which assist with online reputation management:

- The positioning of a company or individual within social media, communities, and network profiles and comments, is indexed by search engines. Indexed pages can be cashed in search engine files infinitely. Any text associated to your name can be found now and for years to come.

- The content and images posted become public domain. On many websites, including Facebook, when signing up, you grant the social community site the right to use your photographs. The following text is listed in Facebook Terms of Use: "By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sub license) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sub licenses of the foregoing."

- Never post photographs or content that you would not want the world to see. Remember the world includes current and future employers, parents, and current or future spouses. It is not as easy to delete this information as you would like to believe. This is also from the Terms of Use on Facebook: "You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content."

After interviewing prospective employees, it has become a standard practice to go online and Google the applicant. It is also the practice of individuals interviewing to research the employer. Negative information associated to an individual name or corporate entity could cause a prospective employer or employee harm. In a 2007 survey conducted by Execunet, an online community of C-level executives, 83% of recruiters used search engines to learn more about candidates. Of those, 43% were eliminated based on information found online. "For better or worse, the Internet provides recruiters and employers with a wealth of unfiltered information that's used to help evaluate candidates," says Dave Opton, CEO and Founder of ExecuNet. "From a candidate's perspective, there's no question that managing your reputation online is as important as it is offline."

Due to the number of people who use search engines as a research tool, online reputation management is becoming a big industry. Ruthless competitors and angry clients now have open access to blogs and web sites. They can define a person or company's online identity. Their words have far reaching effects- whether they are true or not.

This is why ORM is necessary. Because it is difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate traces of thoughtless actions or malicious attacks on the web, online reputation firms disseminate positive information on their clients. The goal in online reputation management is to bring public attention to positive blogs, articles and other online media written on behalf of the company. The positive online publicity takes the higher search engine result rankings, thus minimizing the damage of any attack.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/internet-articles/

About the Author

Julie Ross is Principal of Rostin Reagor Smith, ORM Experts in Public Relations Online. With 20 years in public relations, advertising and 10 years in internet marketing, Rostin Reagor Smith has refined the SMO Expert Formula. Social Media Optimization is used for higher search engine ranking in Online Reputation Management for public relations online.

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