Why Do I Need Online Reputation Management?

EvReputation Excellenterything you or your business does or says these days may potentially wind up on the internet for ALL to see. Think of George Orwell’s book 1984…  it may be much more real than many of us would like to admit. But, we can control, to some extent, our online reputation and image by, “Online Reputation Management,” (ORM). We just monitor what is said or seen about us on the web: as individuals, our brands, or our companies, and encourage positive information, and discourage any negatives we find.

How Do We Monitor Our Online Reputation?

Internet reputation and business reputation management begin by carefully watching all mentions of our brands, our companies – and us on the internet. Conscientiously watch search engines for key terms such as your name, your address, your company name, or your brand name. Keep an eye on everywhere that important identifiers might show. And, not just Google… the other search engines, social sites, etc. all may have negative information lurking there about you or your company. In my experience, it is much easier to find negative comments about a company than it is to find positive comments – folks find it easy to bad mouth us, but are less likely to publish their positive feelings. Monitoring our image online is a great job for a virtual assistant or a freelancer.

What Are The Basics of Building a Good Online Reputation?

Today, there are three elements at the core of our online reputation:

  • Proactively post your own positive content. On a regular basis, on social network sites, your blog, and other blogs, post positive information about new achievements by you and your company. You’re making sure the positive information is out there, not hidden behind the walls of your business. By doing this on a regular basis, you make sure that the search engines are seeing what is positive about you, your values, and your company.
  • Wall in your private information. Make sure that all the blogs, social sites, and web sites where you are visible ONLY shows the information that you want known. If you don’t want it known, don’t post it… period! The best defense against any future problems online is to keep private information hidden from public eyes. Make sure the privacy settings of anywhere you post information are set for maximum security – but really, I wouldn’t trust them… just keep the information you want private OFF the internet.
  • Develop and immediate response to any negative information. You know the old saying, “Bad news travels fast!” If you find ANY negative information, deal with it immediately. The sooner you get it retracted or overpowered in the search engines by your own good news, the less it will spread.

What Are the First Steps for Dealing with Negative Information?

Chances are excellent that something negative about you or your business get to the internet at some point. It may not be something particularly bad, but, if it reflects negatively on you or you or your business, you’ll want to minimize the impact. The two main ways to cut the negative impact will be to overwhelm the search engines with your positive news, or try to convince whoever posted the negative information to delete it – by dealing with them directly to solve the problem. Who knows, if you can solve the problem well enough, you may turn their negative comment positive – the best solution all around.

For individuals, small businesses, or large corporations. All businesses today need to pay attention to their reputation, both online and off. A single negative review, comment, story, or photo may affect you and your business for many years. Watch your reputation online and off to make sure you don’t get badgered by negative stories – keep them positive for business success.

We’ll have more on reputation management in coming posts.

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