It was a lot easier to protect your reputation before the Internet made it possible for us to communicate with millions of people, all over the world, the instant we click a button. Do you have an online reputation management strategy? You should. Because these days it only takes one unhappy person with Internet access to smear your name all over the Web. Here are four tips to help you get started.
Keep Your Ears Open
Almost everything published to the Web passes through Google eventually. Set up Google Alerts to monitor your own name, the name of your blog or website, your brand, your employees, your competitors, anything relevant to your business and reputation. Each time one of these keywords is mentioned you’ll receive an instant email alert.
Be Active In Your Various Communities
Sometimes you can have a bad reputation simply because you appear to be aloof and uncaring. Start connecting in all your different communities. Ask your readers for their feedback and reply to their comments on your blog. Read the comments on your Facebook page and interact with your followers. Monitor Twitter and reply to Tweets.
And don’t forget about the other bloggers in your network. Visit their blogs regularly and leave helpful comments. Connect with them via email or Skype.
If you set yourself apart from everyone you’ll never know when they’re talking about you. Let people know there’s a real human being behind the brand. Sometimes you can head off an attack on your reputation just by staying connected.
Use Social Media To Promote Yourself
If you’re not already using social media, now’s the time to start. Go ahead and share your links, but use it to promote the positive aspects of your business, too. For example, do you support any worthy causes? Are you opening up more jobs in your area? Are you sponsoring the neighborhood softball team this year? Let people know about the good things you do and if something bad does happen it won’t make such a huge impact.
Promote With Customer Reviews
So many online businesses just publish positive customer reviews on their websites or on their sales pages. Use them to promote your brand all over the Web. Copy and paste that glowing email into your Facebook status and thank that customer for their kind review. Include it in a press release and submit it to some of the free PR sites for syndication. Write a blog post about it. The possibilities are endless.
The best way to manage your online reputation is to always over deliver, always put the customer first and never screw up. We all know that’s impossible. But you can minimize the problem if you stay connected and engaged. And if you focus attention on all the good things you do, when something bad happens it won’t be have such a devastating effect.