Where Are We Going in 2014?
Time to look at the crystal ball and ponder online reputation management trends for 2014. 2013 wasn’t too shabby: we saw the growth content marketing as a way to build and repair brands; an increase in online video; saw the extension from restaurants and retailers to a wider range of users including professionals such as lawyers, financial executives, and the art world.
For 2014, we’ll see the continuation of the above plus some new opportunities to improve web brands as well as new danger points that could damage a business’s reputation.
(Written) Content Was King: Hail the Rise of Images
Pinterest and Instagram—image oriented sites—have exploded and will continue to be top social media destinations. As a result, having a good and active presence there will be important. More than ever, adding a good image to a blog post, uploading pertinent photographs that connects with followers, or sharing things like infographics will be necessarily routine. Be on the look out for other sites that may turn up or get more popular. The other top visual social media site Tumblr, recently bought by Yahoo, could be on its way down and is moving out of favor.
Photo Credit: SEOPlanter via Compfight cc
Search engine optimization will continue the slide towards irrelevancy as Google continues to overhaul and tweak its algorithm. Updates such as Penguin, Panda and now Hummingbird clearly show where the future lies, and it’s creating great content—something pure SEO ignores. There will be a place for technical site optimization but gone are the days of “jonesing the system” to drive the positive information to page one of Google’s search results.
The most successful engagement will come from creating a narrative. This means building an idea over time and consistently spreading it over several platforms. The New Yorker, for example, has a great series on Instagram where diverse guest photographers focus on one subject for a few weeks. This type of engagement is more subtle but offers a great way to repair or create an improved online presence.
New Social Media Traps
With new social media platforms come new challenges. Vine, the six second video sharing site, will continue to rise, and so too the opportunities to damage an online reputation. As images get spread and shared quickly on Pinterest, companies could be opening themselves up for copyright issues, or find embarrassing images that had limited exposure now can be seen and shared more quickly than ever. SnapChat, a site among teens that shares images for a limited time, is not fool proof.
Ripoff Reports Decline?
Will this be the year that sites such as Ripoff Reports and others lose their importance? 2013 saw the devaluation by Google of some mug shot sites, so it seems anonymous complaint sites could be next. This is a good thing.
Online Reputation Management Gets on Google’s Radar
Matt Cutt’s, the Google search guru, mentioned in early Fall 2013 the term, “online reputation management,” in a video, seemingly indicating that ORM is on Google’s radar. The search engine could devalue some of the typical institutional standard techniques such as press release creation or guest blogging, and continue to focus on good content—including visually-oriented information. Again, this is a good think, if you are creating quality content you should be fine.
Rise of Boutique Online Reputation Management Firms
The large companies that help reputations have been in vogue but will be replaced by small, niche-based firms that offer individual, customized service. The field is constantly changing, so the only way to keep up with Google’s monthly updates is to be nimble, quick and small. If you are a financial executive or other professional, would you go to someone you trust, and speak with the consultant directly working on your site or to an account executive or a phone salesman? As Google continues to weed’s out generic content, a small firm may be the best option.
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