Reputation management has become a full-time cottage industry on the web, and for good reason. Word now travels at warp speed, and what used to go unnoticed is now being retweeted within minutes. Just ask any political candidate!
So how do you avoid getting damaged by this machine that has so much potential for both good and evil?
Rule 1: Avoid self-inflicted wounds!
There are far too many holes in the road as it is! Why create more yourself? Doing damage to your own reputation is by far the biggest favor you can do for your competition, as it makes their job so much simpler and yours, all the harder.
5 Costly Mistakes That Will Ding Your Online Reputation
Here’s a brief list of unforced errors that can lead you directly to business oblivion, with a corresponding lengthy road to recovery.
1. Not claiming your own social profiles – This is one many people overlook. Oftentimes, unbeknownst to you, your online reputation can be tarnished by others who claim your name on social media sites and post false or misleading information in your name. Make sure to claim your name on social media sites even if you don’t intend to use them, as it can head off a great deal of cleanup.
2. Retaliating against bad reviews – Bad reviews happen. When you engage in a mud-slinging contest it only exacerbates the situation. Instead, attempt to demonstrate what stellar customer service you have by going the extra mile to satisfy if possible, and if not, being as gracious and Gandhi-like as possible. You will gain points this way, and totally defuse the situation.
3. Lining yourself up with questionable groups or individuals – If you are attempting to cultivate an online presence and reputation that caters to more than a tiny sliver, make sure not to declare your undying devotion to causes that, shall we say, border on the fringes. This can do you little good, and you would do well to steer clear of publicly airing your unpopular allegiances. Even if these are near and dear to your heart, consider your audience: will it be to them?
4. Committing embarrassing deeds or worse yet, crimes – Can you say Todd Akin? Anthony Weiner? You get the picture. Either run your business or audition for that reality show. Hard to do both!
5. Tweeting, sharing and commenting using offensive language – I hesitate to include this as sometimes it possible to grab a lot of attention with a controversial statement or a well-placed expletive as “linkbait”. This has to be carefully considered however, and not part of an everyday approach. That gets old fast. Particularly avoid hate speech and hot button issues (politics) unless that’s your niche.
Managing your online reputation requires care. Don’t sabotage yourself!