The Easy Online Personal Reputation Management Formula
We have a confession. While Krazy Fish is a distributed team that mostly works online, our team members spend an average of only 2 to 4 hours a day on social media and often go off the grid entirely at least one day a week. Yet all of our personal and agency social media accounts are active daily and we offer clients 24/7/365 monitoring of online channels. That’s right, our 5-person team organically grows audiences, sources content, posts, responds, and monitors dozens of social media accounts daily in under 4 hours a day. And we’re going to tell you exactly how we do it.
The Krazy Fish Personal Reputation Management Formula
2-4 hrs per week + 2 x 15 min. per day = organic audience growth + engagement + visibility
We’ve spent years teaching our clients how to gauge online tools to build and maintain their online reputation and visibility, from financial corporations and small businesses to political figures, entertainers, and executives looking to advance their careers. While these are services we usually charge for, we’ve decided this is the knowledge that should be readily available to wider audiences. Because it’s 2016. Social media and internet services are finally on the brink of hitting the mainstream on a global level and that means we all need to level up.
How can we afford to give this up for free? Let’s face it – we’re always going to be better and faster at this than you. We’ve been on it for years and we’re following developments in the industry daily. So why give it up at all? Because we see so many people making the same mistakes and spending hours on end trying to get it right, with little to no results. And, overall, that’s just bad for business. We’d love to see more individual success stories out there as proof that this thing works.
We’re usually approached by two types of individuals looking for help with their online presence and performance – people who are just getting started with building an online presence and people who have been using online tools and social media for years but haven’t made much sense of it or achieved anything useful through online channels yet. The Krazy Fish Formula applies to both.
Know your goals and target groups
Goals and target groups aren’t just for businesses. In today’s day and age, your social media presence and your network could very well be what gets you hired or what makes or breaks your career. Most of us have some sort of digital footprint today. The only thing we have control over is whether or not we’re managing and employing that digital footprint for our personal and professional benefit.
Sit down and give it some thought – who are you talking to and what’s your end goal? Looking to advance your career and build a reputation in your industry? You’ll need followers and engagement with other professionals in your industry. Looking to showcase your skills and business? Produce content that does that. Looking to get attention for your project or product? You’ll need a combination of both.
Once you know who your target group is, and before you immediately go to LinkedIn just because it’s a platform for professionals of all industries, take a look at where your target group is most active online. For many industries, LinkedIn is a dud. While you may want to pretty up your profile on LinkedIn, it may not be the right channel for you to be building and maintaining your online reputation. Go where your audience is.
Now think about what it is you’re trying to achieve. FYI, ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ are not goals. They don’t really get you anywhere. Engagement, conversations, relationships, and sharing of memorable information do. Before you begin, think long and hard about concrete milestones you’d like to reach, such as being introduced to valuable players in your industry, getting more clients in a certain niche or having your original content shared and visible to a wider audience.
Choose three channels
We tend to prefer engaging on just three channels selected to reach specific target audiences and goals. Any more, and you’ll need more than two hours a day to keep all channels active and your audience engaged. Any less than three and you risk a lot of effort for very little results.
The channels we most often choose from are Twitter, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat, YouTube, Medium, and/or a personal blog. Consider all of the above when choosing your three channels. Let’s say you’re aiming for a younger Millennial or older Gen Z audience – a mix of YouTube or Tumblr combined with Twitter and Instagram will probably get you best results (depending on your niche, of course). Looking to reach Gen Xers? Swap YouTube or Tumblr for a personal blog or Medium and go for a Facebook Page instead of Instagram. Or were you looking for a general audience into arts and crafts? Then you might want to go for Pinterest and short Instagram videos and consolidate all of that into a Facebook Page or personal website.
Does choosing three channels mean you should stay away from the rest? Absolutely not. You’re free to use any and all social media channels you find interesting. Just don’t base your online reputation management on those other channels and make sure to stay active and focused on your chosen mix of three at all times.
Offer value through content
Far too often we see freelancers and small businesses use social media profiles as what we call “online billboards,” posting only their own content and promotions once in a blue moon, with little to no engagement with their audience. Doing this is the equivalent of walking up to your friends, neighbors, and acquaintances and holding up a promotional flyer in front of their face. And probably after you haven’t spoken to them in weeks or months. It isn’t just rude, it’s creepy. Please stop.
Think of your selected online channels as a magazine or a television show. First, people expect to see it at scheduled times and on a regular basis. Both print media and television shows spend millions on researching exactly when to publish or air their content and then more millions making sure it all gets to their audiences on time. Scheduling apps like Buffer and Hootsuite (our personal and agency favorite) do the analysis for you and recommend best posting times. If you don’t have the time or skills to figure out best times for your audience, use what’s already out there (and free).
Next, instead of sharing just your own content or spending days creating more original content, source relevant and interesting content from other websites and blogs that will offer value (information, discounts, deals, contacts) to your audience and give them a reason to engage. While we tend to spend weeks or months creating what we call a ‘content source repository’ file for each client individually, in which we include all vetted and trusted websites to follow and source content relevant to each client’s audience, there are easier ways to get started.
Just some of the easy to use tools and websites we use to source content include Buzzsumo, Reddit’s Top Scoring Links section, Upflow, Epictions Epicbeat, and good old Twitter Search. The free versions are cool and the paid versions are usually worth it.
If you’re looking to create visual content, that might take a chunk out of your Sunday afternoon, but it’s just as easy these days. Our favorite online spots for sourcing free images remain Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay. While we’re sure there’s bigger and better out there than those two, we tend to find everything we need on those two and seldom need to look any farther.
Make sure any images you use are either labeled ‘public domain’ or clearly labeled ‘free for use with modification’. If you expect to have any commercial gain from this content at any point, ‘free commercial use with modification’ is the best way to go. Grab a couple of free stock images and then head over to Canva or BeFunky to piece it all together by adding a quote, a frame, some art work, and your logo or watermark.
Once you’ve sourced all of your relevant content, about once a week, go back to Buffer and load it all up. This should take you about two hours a week, four or more if you create images and some original content to slip into your posting schedule. And that’s the first part of the Krazy Fish Formula.
We’re sure you’ve heard the word before – engagement. We’re sure you’ve heard it a million times. But do you really know what it means? Many of our colleagues will count ‘likes’, new followers, retweets, and social media shares as engagement. We tend to disagree with that view of engagement. Because numbers and statistics often hide the facts and the fact is, we’re looking for more concrete results. We’re looking for key performance indicators s and at the bottom line.
From our experience and perspective, engagement are specific audience reactions and interactions that lead to achieving your goals. If you’re looking to grow readership on your blog or website, then retweets and shares certainly count, but only if they’ve gained new readership or have increased returning readership. In that case, what we’re looking to achieve is to get the right people to retweet and share.
When considering engagement, quality beats quantity every time. In your posts, you want to go for comments, discussion, and visibility among your target audiences in lieu of simple, often meaningless interactions like ‘likes’, ‘faves’, and sharing with no commentary or real engagement.
That all sounds fine, but how do you get started. By simply engaging yourself. Engaging breeds engagement. Start a conversation. Share someone else’s blog posts, Facebook status or tweet with commentary. Voice an opinion, confirm or disagree, ask a question. If you’re on social media, try being social. It works.
In marketing, there’s a little something that we call the ‘customer journey’. Whether through advertising, product placement, public relations messaging or promotional activities, we constantly have this ‘journey’ in mind. Where is our audience coming from? Where do we want our audience to go? Do we want them back again? What do we want them to see, learn, and understand along the way?
The same applies to personal reputation management. Who is it that you’d like to get to know you? What do you want them to learn about you? Who would you like to get to know better? What can you offer in return? In this journey, follow up is perhaps the most important process.
Let’s say, again, you’re trying to get more readership to your blog. You’ve analyzed your target audience and figured out where they hang out online. You’ve set up your pages and profiles on those channels and offered valuable content that people are beginning to follow. You’ve included links to your own content, on a regular basis, and you’re seeing more click throughs. Hopefully, you’ve made sure the original content on your blog is up to par and as advertised on your social media channels. People aren’t just visiting the blog, they’re reading through the posts. Now add a sign up field or pop-up at the end of the article. Because if you’ve managed to get as far as getting someone’s undivided attention for at least 3 minutes at a time, that one’s a keeper. And you want to make an effort.
A follow up can also be something as simple as thanking your reader or visitor and asking them to follow you on your social media channels, sign up for a newsletter or something else that will offer them additional value. The word of the day, again, is value. Make sure it’s more than worth it for your visitors to get to the end of your promotional cycle.
Speaking of which, here’s your bonus track:
What about automation tools?
While automating as much of your social media presence sounds like a great thing, far too many people and businesses are doing it. If significant in any way at all, it may be the downfall of social media.
Automating posting of hand-picked content through scheduling tools is a must if you plan on remaining active and garnering any significant attention. Automating any of your responses is just a big mistake. Engagement can’t be automated or faked. If personal reputation management is taking too much time out of your busy schedule, instead of turning to automation tools, just reorganize the time you spend on social media and focus on engagement.
To illustrate, here are screenshots of my personal Twitter account DM inbox and our agency Twitter account DM inbox. Also the reason I almost never see relevant DMs from friends and acquaintances and the reason it might take us days to notice a DM from a potential new client. Thanks Twitter follower who use automated responses, for rendering DMs entirely useless for us. Definitely not why we’re on Twitter.