ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT

‘What exactly do you do?’ I was asked this weekend gone by. Once I replied the next question was ‘What is reputation management?’. So when I came across an interesting article today I thought to share it with you.

Our world we work in (and obviously live in) is so much different than a few short years ago. The work environment is not necessarily a room or rooms anymore in a building where you have people sitting together working and all your clients come to see you there. Even though many companies have such a location there is a brand new ‘extension’ which has no fixed address. I am of course referring to the ‘world wide web’ aka WWW. A place where one meets more people than ever before. And the best is you don’t even have to physically move to visit them.

Online presence is very fast becoming a way for potential clients / customers to ‘research’ you. It is here where everyone can read about what, how and when you conduct your business. It also is a place where everyone can say exactly what they think or feel about your company. As exciting as it may sounds there is also the part where it could all go very wrong for you. As we drive ourselves forward into a virtual world it creates opportunities for others to comment easily. As lots of people already found out this can be very negative sometimes for no or very little reason.

It is always interesting how slow people can be to dish out compliments and how very quick they can be to bombard one with negative criticism and abuse. This is most probable the nature of many and much easier to drag someone down specially once they feel that they are not lucky enough to be on a similar path or mission. People will be people no matter how much we wish for better behaviour towards us.

At this point the article I refer to made a lot of sense to me. Many out there is sceptical of being part of the virtual, WWW world – and understandably so too. One cannot be too careful. Diving into such an environment should be done with caution. Quite recently it was once again pointed out to me that whatever is ‘said’ (in written form) on social platforms, stay around for a long, long time. Actually, it doesn’t go away at all even if you delete until you’re blue in the face!

Luckily there are many people like myself who take on the task of managing someone’s reputation in the virtual world with a professional attitude – caring for their client and their clients’ reputation. From a business point of view it is very important to be frank and open with clients to make sure exactly how they want to be seen to others on the web. A thorough discussion is order of the day at the start to agree what should be put ‘out there’ for the eyes of the world to see. Also, how it should be said and when. Clients (everything about them!) are at top of the list of priorities – not just when working on a project, but afterwards too. The relationship will be cultivated and nurtured, because one cannot for a single second think about only the ‘now’ of working together.

If the client and their reputation is managed well and professionally it will reflect in a positive manner on the business and methods provided. Which in turn will incur a positive response all round. And that is what the aim is here – to create and deliver a standard that will be seen and experienced as a positive attribute to any business.

Take a few minutes and read the article I refer to on entrepreneur.com

Let’s hope if you read all of this you can see the positive side of taking on board a professional service to help you move confidently forward with your online presence!

CREATING WEBSITES FOR HYH MANAGEMENT

What was next on my to-do list for HYH Management? ‘It’s not rocket science what we need next, right?’ was put to me.

And if I thought that’s the only question to address immediately I was wrong! It just happened that one of the artists managed by HYH was in need of website too. Therefore it was double sites go go go!

I tackled the process the same as one would ‘bake a cake’! I know what that sounds like, but for me the principal is the important part here. You need ingredients. You need a recipe. You need a final product (one of those pictures in cooking books of the cake all beautifully done!)

So, here’s my ‘recipe’ that I followed to ‘bake’ these ‘cakes’…. the ingredients were as follows:

Brief, Groundwork, Creative, Growth, Launch and Continuation

THE BRIEF

With one part (the logos) in place one would think the next phase will just ‘fall in place’. Oh no. Not that quick and not that easy. A challenge though, which I always love.

It is imperative that you first need to talk about the look & feel. Although I had a good idea of what the company and the client stand for and how they would like to be perceived, there was still the need for a proper conversation so that I know I am on the right track for when I take to the ‘drawing board’ and start creating something. In this case the words slicksimple and striking came up immediately. (I personally like these 3 S-words!) Topics of discussion included their… target audiences, goals, content, resources and budgets. With a good BRIEF under my arm I went away to get the show on the road.

THE GROUNDWORK

Nothing is more important than planning. Once you work out a good plan it is much easier than to poke around in the dark. To kick the process off I did some research into sites of similar companies. I find it’s always good to know the competitors out there. This will eliminate duplication and drive one to be more creative. With mockups and a few ideas in my head a good brainstorming session with all involved delivered excellent results. I got some great feedback on suggestions for page layouts and usability. With the GROUNDWORK in place, it’s on the the next phase.

THE CREATIVE

I’ll admit this part is most probably my most exciting bit! The design part for me is a thrill! To configure colours, artwork and typography really get the CREATIVE ‘juices’ flowing! Visually the site needs to be appealing. Figuring out backgrounds, buttons and layouts to work across devices like tablets and mobile phones are exciting. Compatibility is a must in today’s world. It depends on the visitors which device will be used most so in this case it was very important that the mobile version of the site works smoothly. An outcome that I’m very happy with!

THE BUILD

Once armed with an abundance of visuals it is time to develop the site and make all the creative elements ‘come alive’. So it’s here where vision turns into reality. BUILDING a site with the given tools (however limited) of the chosen server can be really challenging. Nowadays there are so many servers to choose from that one is spoiled for choice. However, the client’s budget doesn’t always allow you to select your favourite to work with.  My motto is that it’s a server and I won’t let it control me – I will control it! Quite a bit of time can be spend manoeuvring and integrating the content. Understanding what can be done and not within the given server is order of the day. It can be frustrating sometimes, but the end result is what counts! And I believe I mastered it!

THE LAUNCH

This should be the most exciting part I think. However, it’s the most nerve recking for me. That moment where you click the ‘publish’ button for the LAUNCH is utterly worrying. I tend to test, test, test and test again! Make sure that links to external sites and email addresses work perfectly. There is nothing more embarrassing than finding out buttons to pages and other sites don’t work. I can’t stand that happening. Eventually the moment has arrived – and then… click! Voila! It’s live – and the site is kicking! I do like the bit where I can update the clients’ Twitter / Facebook / Instagram etc. with notifications that they are finally part of the web. It causes great satisfaction I will admit.

THE CONTINUATION

After a sigh of relief with the launch, the final part of this ‘recipe’ can be put in place – maintenance of the site. CONTINUING to update the content regularly with info and visuals is an ongoing service I provide. I keep an eye on how it functions and supply the client with SEO statistics of visitors: when it happened, from where and how often. Ensuring support (technically and creatively) in all areas is an important task and a great one too. It is very fulfilling to continue working within what I created. And great when the statistics prove that whatever I did was the right path to choose.

So, there – my ‘cake’ (aka website) is ‘baked’ (aka created) and ‘tastes’ (aka works) as good as the picture in the book! Or as they say… the proof lies in the ‘eating’ (aka looking)…

http://www.hyhmanagement.com

http://www.florenceblack.com