For those of you who may have missed my recent appearance on FOX News to discuss Penn State’s reputation management issues, I mentioned the value of social media and its role in their online identity.  In social media, in the SERPs and in the press, PSU faces a challenging road to re-establishing their brand.  While Penn State’s focus at present may be short-term, their reputation crisis is not.  Reputation management should be thought of an ongoing investment that requires consistent monitoring and maintenance.

Management or Maintenance?
There is a discernable difference between short-term management and long-term maintenance; however, both are important to any business or individual attempting to keep their online presence resoundingly positive.  Social media, press releases and blogs are very powerful tools that Penn State has at their disposal and the university should utilize them to rebuild their reputation.  On a long-term basis, these tools will allow PSU to issue new, positive content to the public and help to diminish the presence of negative material on the Web.

Progress Through Positivity
Part of brand recognition and identity is perception.  The public perception of a company or an individual can largely factor into their overall success.  For Penn State, perhaps the most powerful social asset is its own student body.  PSU students are actively using various social platforms and are capable of both enhancing and maintaining the reputation of the university going forward.

By initiating a call to action in the form of a press release or social media outlet, Penn State could encourage its student body to emphasize the qualities of the institution and help to accentuate positivity and reduce negative content in the SERPs and throughout social media.  Undoubtedly, the next several months will be crucial for Penn State.  However, the university must also understand the importance of remaining reputable on the Web on a long-term basis in order to rebuild their brand.