Reputation management is a real concern for business owners today, especially with increased online visibility. It can take years to build your reputation, but only minutes to destroy it. It’s imperative that as a business owner you do what it takes to maintain your good reputation. Thankfully, there are easy ways to ensure that you keep your good reputation online – if you take the time to intentionally focus on it.
Tips for Effective Reputation Management
Sensationalism Rules Online: Take Caution – Being an online business owner and part of the online business community is kind of like being in a reality show in some ways. Sensationalism and gossip seems to be the rule. But, if you realize this going in, you can avoid problems by not gossiping and always staying above the fray. Sometimes reputation management simply means not engaging in those negative conversations. Be honest, be yourself, and always seek to be helpful.
Perception Is Reality – Until someone proves differently online, the perception people have of you is reality. Dr. Phil says this is the truth for everyone, online or not. Reputation management is so important because how people perceive you is what’s real, so try to ensure that it’s as close to reality as possible. Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want clients – or your mother – to see. Chances are, it will give prospects and clients the wrong perception of who you are.
Be Proactive – You can tell your story online by blogging, being part of online groups, and by being the one to tell your story. Tell your story every chance you get. When you are proactive with your story and information, that will be what people find when they search for information.
Manage Security Issues – Set privacy settings on private social media; keep your information close to your vest so that no one can ever break into your private sources of information. This is because it can be used against you in a bad way to make you look bad.
Stay on Top of Branding – The information that you put out about your company as far as branding is important. It’s the information your audience believes about you. Your branding is how your audience feels when they hear about you, and exemplifies what your business stands for.
Establish Expertise – To really manage your online reputation, set out to show that you’re the expert in your niche. Become the “go to” person for that niche in a way that overwhelms the competition and firms up your reputation as a leader.
Maintain Your Integrity – Always be honest. Even if you make a mistake, stand up and admit it, and publicly always seek to show your reliability and that you are who you say you are. Don’t try to hide it or, worse yet, sweep it under the rug. Nobody’s perfect, so don’t give the false illusion that you are. How you handle your business when mistakes happen can define your public perception. That perception is important.
Nothing Ever Disappears Online – Remember that nothing ever disappears online. You can bury it with good information, but it’s better to accept it if something is there out that you don’t really want out there. Once it’s there work to bury it, but also work to embrace it and turn it into a positive.
Encourage Satisfied Customers to Sing Your Praises – When you have a truly satisfied client, embrace that opportunity to let your clients speak for you. When others can vouch for your integrity, it means something, and testimonials and good reviews are the perfect way to do that. Make it easy for customers to give you a quick review or write a testimonial. The more convenient you make it, the more likely they will tell the world about how great you are!
The important point about reputation management is to always be the one to tell your story, and keep that story at the forefront of your online persona. In addition, you should seek to be who you really are and not put on a facade. After all, the truth will always rise to the top and you wouldn’t want to seem as if you’re trying to trick people by not being the real you. Being proactive about both bad and good reviews will pay off – it just takes giving it the attention it needs.