How To: Build online reputation without blogging
Recently we’ve been working on proposals for a number of businesses looking to build online visibility and reputation. In each case the companies in question were lacking a blog. That will need to be addressed, but it begs the question, what can a business do to build credibility and authority online without blogging?
There’s no getting around the fact that generating online credibility is a continuous task. It needs members of a company to be switched on to what’s being discussed on various forums and platforms.
Fortunately, there are a wealth of freely accessible tools that can help you to monitor relevant keywords and topics, and alert you when they surface in online conversations. (We’ll list some of the ones ENNclick’s own team utilise in a future blog.)
BE PART OF CONVERSATIONS
When you find these conversations you can use them as an opportunity to outline your business’s perspective through commenting and, in doing so, indirectly promote your authority in this area. It’s also a very effective means of providing (where permitted) a link in the footer of your comments back to your own website.
By way of an example, if you are a gardening retailer looking to generate incremental sales through online orders, then the logical thing would be to look for online fora (not to be mistaken with flora!) where you can offer advice, opinion and expertise on garden-related questions. But a word of warning – at all costs avoid hard-sell pitches which do not answer people’s problems. That’s guaranteed to backfire and damage a carefully crafted reputation in the blink of an eye.
NON BLOGGING TIPS AND TOOLS
While this approach sounds simple in practice, it does require a little bit of time and attention to get it right. So here are some simple suggestions which can apply to pretty much any small or large company in the business of reputation-building online:
1. Gather your keywords and phrases and turn them into canned searches
Did you know that it’s possible to use a tool such as Google Alerts to run a search of your important words and phrases daily across the whole of the web? You can even take this output as an RSS feed and import it to your preferred reader client. (We use Google’s own online Reader for this.) This is a great, time-efficient way to monitor blogs and news sources where you may have the opportunity to add constructive comments.
2. Follow LinkedIn groups in your industry sector or geographic area of business.
By monitoring LinkedIn groups you can determine where you want to give input and advice. This is a particularly useful place for businesses looking to raise their reputation with potential client companies.
3. Monitor blogs that are in your area of business
Given the global nature of some topics, you may find a lot of blogs where you could provide constructive comment. Take the time to assess which blogs would be best for your business to participate in… and don’t forget your footer linking to your own website.
4. Use social media to comment on interesting articles that will appeal to your target customers
With social media services like Twitter it’s never been easier to provide a stream of recommendations to articles and other useful material online. This can also be re-purposed to appear as a content resource on your own website. If you are repeating somebody else’s tweet, take care to credit the original source with a retweet (RT), which is simply good etiquette. Working with Twitter can be improved by using free tools such as Hootsuite or TweetDeck.
5. Follow Facebook groups or pages in your area of business
If you’re looking at consumers in your business sector, you may find it useful to monitor Facebook’s relevant groups and pages, commenting where appropriate. In some instances it may also make sense to look at placing your own business on Facebook… but that’s another blog for another day.
6. Publish useful material to other parts of the web
Gaining visibility with your target customers is also about placing useful materials aimed at that audience where they can discover it. This is where it may make sense to look at Facebook pages, LinkedIn Profiles or even consider uploading presentations you’ve given to services like Slideshare. And don’t overlook YouTube or other video sharing sites; if you have any useful ‘How To’ videos this is a perfect way to distribute them to a wider audience.
This is all about casting out your net of influence and maximising your chances of discovery by someone who is interested in what you’re offering.
This is by no means a definitive list of the things you can do to go about building your business reputation online, but it provides some food for thought. Whether you pursue one, or two, or all these suggestions, the key to success is still about actively participating in the conversation.
After all, if you aren’t saying anything, no-one’s going to hear you.
What are your preferred tools and techniques for reputation building online? Let us know below…
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