Reputation Management Strategy When the Worst Happens

Number_OneNo matter how much you do to build up and protect your image, you still may get attacked. A damaged online reputation needs immediate action to repair it and keep it from becoming an unmanageable problem. Here are two possible reputation management tools.

First – What is the Source of the Negative Information

Before you can start the reputation repair process, find out where the bad news or attacks are coming from. The major search engines and social networks can help you spot what is coming up in search results for your name, your company’s name, etc. The negative sources most likely will be on the first two or three pages in Google. Also look deeper – search Twitter and the other social networks to see other places where the bad news may be.

Option 1: Repair it Yourself

If the comments are few, or you budget is limited, you may have to implement your online reputation management strategy yourself. If it all started with an article or comment you made to which people are acting negatively, by all means, delete it, or better, replace your negative comment with an apology. As it may take several days for Google to re-crawl the page, you can also use Google’s Webmaster Tools to remove the URL of that nasty comment from their search results. Their Help Pages will tell you how to do this.

If the negative comment is on someone else’s site, or otherwise not under your control, talk to that site’s owner and request that it be removed. This is a great opportunity to turn a negative into a positive – which is better than just deleting a negative. Respond politely, directly, and publicly to the negative comment or complaint. This kind of positive reaction will show you and your company as concerned about your customers’ satisfaction… and this is what future customers and clients want to know.

This is also, as I previously mentioned, where all of your own constant reputation management online will pay off. All of that positive information that you have been putting out will still be visible in the search engines, and, most likely, help to overwhelm and help quickly disappear the negative search entries. So keep regularly posting articles, comments, blog posts, social updates and other information that can push the damaging content down in the search results. By keeping this information SEO friendly, you will keep your information higher than the bad news.

Option 2: Call in a Reputation Management Expert

Online Reputation Services are available to help us repair a heavily damaged reputation. Extensive damage may cost a lot to repair. However, if your budget allows, it may be the fastest and most effective. These types of firms can also monitor your reputation on an ongoing basis.

Here is the big caveat. Be very careful about who you hire to repair and manage your reputation – check their reputation first. There are plenty of inept and/or inexperienced consultants who can do more harm than good. Get a recommendation and check references.

Whether you repair your reputation yourself or with the help of an online reputation management expert, quick response is essential to repair your internet reputation, company reputation, or personal reputation when it has been attacked – fairly or not. A simple negative statement about you or your company can quickly spread throughout the internet. By diligently keeping a watchful eye on your reputation, you can spot potential damage before it gets unmanageable.

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