I recently interviewed Michael Zammuto, who is the President & Chief Operating Officer of Brand.com. Mike is a dynamic, multi-award winning online and technology executive with a history that spans multiple successful startups, large technology firms, a top 40 web site and a leadership role with Microsoft. Mike’s strength is building companies that scale and execute. Mike is an internationally recognized expert in online reputation management appearing regularly in national and international media as the face of the industry.
In this interview, Mike talks about the personal reputation industry, how you can better manage your online personal brand, how recruiters view your online presence, and more.
Why did you decide to purchase Brand.com and invest in the personal reputation market?
A: We acquired the domain Brand.com because we felt that it better captured our company’s vision. The truth is that reputation management is only a mere facet of the overall picture – We want to build and manage our clients’ entire brand, not just one aspect of it. Brand.com conveys this message to our clients.
Should all professionals start to manage their online reputation? Is it better to be offensive or defensive?
I think that it’s exceedingly important for professionals to be proactive about their online reputation. You never know when negative information will show up about you online, and unfortunately, this is something that many of our clients have learned the hard way. At Brand.com, we strongly encourage that professionals make the decision to manage their online reputation before something detrimental occurs.
Professionals should understand that online attacks can come at any time, and as such, they also need to be prepared to take action against all-of-a-sudden attacks – that means firing out content on the spot and doing whatever it takes to push back negative listings. You need to be aggressive.
When recruiters review your online reputation, what are they looking for? What can turn them off from hiring someone?
Recruiters want to make sure that their potential employees are the best amongst the best. This is where search engines come in – they are looking for any information about you. The catch is that they’re not just looking for negative information to weed you out of the hiring process, but they’re also looking to make sure that some kind of information shows up in general. If you’re lacking an online presence, the recruiter has no other information about you other than what they see on your resume – nothing else to refer to.
Companies don’t want to hire someone who has negative information showing up about them on the first page of a search. With that being said, any type of unwanted attention such as a mug shot will surely knock you out of the competition. Recruiters will also search for information on your social media sites. If you make negative posts and comments on your Facebook or Twitter accounts, they will be on the fence about you as an employee. This is not to mention photos – the last thing a company wants is an employee who flaunts drunk, slovenly photos.
What is your typical client and why do they come to you as a reputation management solution?
Our clients range from individuals to large organizations and Fortune 500 companies. We possess the ability to help anyone with their brand and reputation management needs, which brings an array of clients to Brand.com. In addition, we have proprietary technologies that our competitors just don’t have.
Take for example the Brand.com Command Center – this site allows our clients to monitor their social media, moderate reviews, and approve content all in one place. Having a place where all of this information is easily accessible saves time for our clients. It also offers a simple and streamlined variation on the process of brand monitoring and management.
Can Brand.com offer any reputation management tips?
The first tip is to make reputation monitoring a priority—using Google Alerts or our own, free Command Center technology to keep tabs on what people are saying about you online. Second, make sure you have a robust social media presence, regularly posting content to Facebook and Twitter, and also implementing Completed.com. Finally, note that any kind of content creation—such as blogging—provides the search engines with substance, which you can leverage to improve your personal or corporate brand.
Dan Schawbel is the Founder of the Personal Branding Blog and author of the upcoming book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success.