The Internet has had a huge impact on how brands are managed. Before its debut, brand awareness and marketing were largely one-way affairs, but the democratization inherent to the world wide web has turned personal branding into a much more interactive experience. Shaping your online reputation can be a whole different ballgame from conventional brand management, and it's important to have an understanding of what specific advantages online spaces can offer, and how best to make use of the Internet for your brand.
The importance of an online brand
The Web is quickly becoming the primary space in which adults are spending their time in. According to survey data from the Pew Research Internet Project, 87 percent of adults in the U.S. are regularly online as of January 2014. This kind of ubiquity makes the Web the main platform from which many people are getting their information. Online reputation management is the process of making your brand synonymous with your unique service or offering, and internet channels offer unique ways to accomplish that goal.The greatest benefit of maintaining a healthy online reputation boils down to the all-powerful search engine results. A blogger writing for Bizjournals.com reported that 85 percent of users will click on a link appearing on the first page of the search results.
Your brand as an anchor
The first and most important step in creating your online brand is to establish your focus, a blogger writing for Forbes reported. What sort of image do you want to present? When people hear your brand, what is the first thing you want them to think of? This focus will be your brand's anchor, and everything you do in the online space should tie back to it to give your brand clarity. Your focus will also help you narrow your target and establish your tone, setting the stage for more constructive branding discussions with your audience.
Open your brand to discussion
The immediacy of information the Internet allows for has interesting implications when it comes to brand management. Your audience can now interact with you in real time, so every tweet, Facebook post or blog entry becomes a potential conversation starter. This format presents great opportunities for you to engage with your audience on a 1-to-1 level and respond to feedback. Even negative criticism can be viewed as an opportunity to open up a discussion, which can help with damage control, but can also go a long way in helping you build a loyal community around your online brand. Services like The American Registry can help you leverage your existing awards and recognition to build your online reputation so you can make the most out of your brand.