President-elect Donald Trump has dominated news headlines over the last year, and not for his laudable reputation. Many are concerned his attention-grabbing rhetoric won’t diminish once he takes office. Accustomed to his role in the Trump Organization, Trump’s new position will be a major adjustment as his new job will be to serve the American people, not himself or his business. Moreover, his controversial, outspoken reputation leveraged for publicity will now have a major influence. If Trump wants to build and maintain stellar Presidential Approval Ratings, he will need to improve his reputation.
Online reputation management tips for Donald Trump:
Promote and publish positive press.
Trump will need to be proactive about the things he can’t control, including negative content published about him. Google leverages a variety of features in order to satisfy user search intent by strategically placing qualified content on the first page of Google’s search results that can instantly answer common inquiries. Catering to the different areas of Google search, beyond just the organic web results, requires a forward thinking reputation management plan and diligence.
Utilize personal and government websites.
Google often treats the search results for individuals and organizations a bit differently. Considering Trump has a business and campaign website, both appearing on the first page of the search results, he has the opportunity to leverage both in order to satisfy slightly different user search intent, control the content, and occupy a greater amount of potential search real estate. Going forward, Trump will also have access to the official White House website, where he will be able to add new content about himself. These are considered to be highly trusted sources that Trump can take advantage of to shape sentiment online more easily than your average personal or professional website. Government websites tend to have very high authority and can maneuver within the search results with greater ease.
Keep both personal and POTUS social profiles.
The Obama Administration was the first to utilize social media to connect with the public. When the President-elect takes office on January 20, all official “POTUS” White House accounts will be transferred to Trump. Maintaining both the personal and official White House accounts will provide more opportunities to occupy valuable space in the search results, and therefore should remain separate. Trump has previously managed his own personal social media accounts, which many times resulted in backlash and splashing news headlines. A designated person or team should manage all of the personal and presidential social accounts to ensure positive, timely, and relevant messaging.
Social media can be a beneficial tool to connect with the people the President serves, as well as engage with people around the world on important issues. From a search perspective, social profiles are weighted heavily by Google and tend to rank on the first page of the organic search results because of their timeliness. Currently, Donald Trump’s personal Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter all appear on page one, and could remain within the upper search results if properly managed. This will give Trump a head start in inoculating himself from future editorials that may reflect negatively upon him. Personal accounts can be utilized for highlighting family, community projects, and other personal interests, while White House official accounts can highlight news and events happening in the administration, as well as important issues. See the full White House digital transition plan here.
Maintain professionalism when engaging on social media.
While Obama has proved that social media can be a helpful tool for engaging with the public, Trump will be held to a higher standard, given his history of controversial comments. He and his team must maintain professionalism on social media, especially when responding to criticism. A few basic concepts to keep in mind: be compassionate, acknowledge frustration, engage with a mix of positive and negative comments, apologize publicly (if appropriate), and address any issues internally (if applicable). He must always consider the long term repercussions of anything posted by mistake or with haste, as once it’s live it is guaranteed to reach a global audience almost instantly. This requires great responsibility and discipline.
As the use of the internet in our daily life continues to grow, protecting your online reputation is crucial, especially for a major public figure like President-elect Donald Trump. Trump garnered significant media attention online throughout the entire election process, both from critics and supporters. His presidency is sure to draw the same attention, and it’s imperative that his digital reputation is considered.