As hurricane Sandy hits the East Coast of the United States with gale force winds and inches of rain per hour, the impact is clear: physical destruction, flooding, power outages in many areas, and business disruption in the very least to many millions.
But how could storm Sandy impact online reputation management and repair?
Searching for the term “Sandy” resulted in, predictably, news of the hurricane, including where to find the latest information, weather updates, etc., from mostly media sites.
How could this impact an online reputation?
What if the name of your business includes the word “Sandy”?
Take a look at the snapshot of Google search results for before the hurricane (October 29, 2010 to October 8, 2012) and notice that, again as expected, the search results are completely different.
In the first five or six results, we find US Representative Sandy Adams and artist Sandy Gellis displayed prominently and must be generating good site traffic. Due to the storm, however, they got pushed off—WAY off—the first page. The unintended impact of a news event can greatly effect your online reputation negatively and your business. This impact could take days to repair or often much, much longer.
News events could have an unintentional beneficial impact as well.
A few weeks before the storm, there were a few negative news items on Sandy Weill, the ex-CEO and chairman of Citigroup, specifically detailing shifts in his positions regarding the bank bailouts and his chosen successor. These showed up on the second page when searching for “Sandy” before the storm; during the storm, these were pushed off the first several pages immediately (and couldn’t be found in the first ten pages).
What Can Be Done To Repair Your Reputation?
If an event such as hurricane Sandy or some other news incident occurs, what can be done to mitigate, save or repair your online reputation? Sometimes, not much frankly. If the news is so powerful, there might not be anything that can be done to repair it in a timely fashion. But here are a few tips to repair your online reputation:
- Assess the News and Your Business
Review the current situation and determine if there is anything that can be done to repair your online reputation and try and come up with an effective strategy to move forward.
- Use Google Local, Formally Google Places
Be sure that Google Local is one of the first sites to review and add content to. If you’ve not signed up yet, make this your first priority.
- Review Current Local Search Sites to Improve Online Reputation.
Be sure that other local search sites such as Yahoo and Manta are configured properly and include your basic information. Also, take the time to add additional content at this time, such as photographs/images, blurbs, and other business related updates.
- Setup up More Local Search Sites.
Beef up your online presence and your reputation by adding additional local search sites and find additional ones for your industry.
- Be Social Online.
Become more active on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
- Write Blogs, Content.
Write additional blog posts and even press releases to spread the word about your company.
The hurricane Sandy and other news events can impact your online reputation in unexpected ways. Sometimes the only way to get through it is to just ride it out, but being proactive could repair or minimize any negative impact to your online reputation