10 Online Reputation Management Commandments
Reputation was often created by people talking, in person about a person or a business. Today, with everyone spending the time they do online-really to do anything, your reputation is defined by the online space. Forums, social media, reviews sites like Yelp, and even websites can all be used to define your reputation-whether negative or positive. This said, you need to know what is being said about you online, and here are the top ten things you have to do-and NOW-to take ownership of your reputation.
1. Be How You Want to be Seen: This seems obvious, but creating a reputation through honest hard work, and the golden rule, is one of the best ways to foster a good reputation online. People talk and authentic reviews, posts, and tweets are the best first way to solidify a great online reputation.
2. Do a Manual Search Online for Yourself: The best way to start managing your reputation is to see what is being said about you or your business online. Search for your name, variations of your name, your business, etc. Seeing what comes up in social media, forums, review sites, etc; will give you knowledge you need to, to act accordingly.
3. Keep in Close Contact with Your Customers: If you are a business, making sure to check email, social media, and anywhere your customers might be able to contact you is vital to knowing what your customers think and possibly find a solution before they create a negative reputation for your business.
4. Sign Up for Google Alerts: Google Alerts is a free service that you can sign up for through your standard Google account that will automatically tell you when certain phrases come up, so if someone posts about your name, your brand.
5. Keep a Reign on Google Page 1 Results: Doing a Google search for yourself should bring up at least 1-2 pages of profile information; but often that’s where bad reputation posts, images, and discussions can rear their ugly heads. Make sure you own Page 1, so that a search for your business or name doesn’t show negative information. Professional SEO services may be needed.
6. Respond to Bad Media Quickly and Appropriately: Knowing when something is said about you or your brand online is half the battle. Now you need to know how to respond. If you find a legitimate bad review or image or tweet, the best way to respond-without taking blame-is to say you are aware of the issue and are looking into it. You can go back later with a more detailed response but reacting quickly shows everyone that you care about your reputation and them, if you are a business.
7. Get False or Profane Information Removed: While the internet is still not regulated effectively, Google and review sites and other sites have set up some parameters in which you can contact Yelp or Google or a social media site to review the misinformation being posted about you and your business and remove it if they deem it profane, illegitimate, or slanderous.
8. Get the Law Involved: Sometimes, if you have enough of a case, your best course of action is to sue. There are, unfortunately, many people out there looking to create misinformation and bad reputation. Even if you don’t win, it will give perpetrators and others in the same game, pause before attacking the innocent again.
9. Learn to Be Better: In the case that a bad review or a bad image posted online of you, etc has given you a bad reputation headache, you need to learn how to better your service if you are a business, or stay out the camera frame if someone is taking pictures (or change your embarrassing behavior).
10. Get Professional Reputation Management Help: While following the above tips will definitely help with managing your online reputation, it may not be enough. In this case, hiring a reputation management company that can monitor, control, and suppress bad or defamatory information online is the only way to effectively decriminalize a bad online reputation and restore your good name.