Reputation management concept – golden color text on dark blue digital background. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
There is no doubt whatsoever about the fact that the internet is a great influence of our times. In fact, it might be the greatest influencer that mankind has ever been exposed to and that’s why it makes such a potent and effective marketing tool. Everything that goes online ends up affecting our opinions, emotions some way or the other. That’s why online reputation has become such a big deal these days.
It doesn’t matter if you are a white collar professional employed in a company or a business owner, online presence is of utmost importance these days. Before the digital boom took the world with storm, there was much less first-hand customer feedback of a product or service. However, now digital era has ushered in a lot of new changes as people are more freely expressing their emotions and opinions about everyone and everything. A simple slip or bad timing can lead to a big dent in reputation. What’s said about your company and how your brand is perceived across social media, and search results can have a great impact on your business and the bottom line. Thus, regardless of the business you might be specializing into, it’s essential to maintain and protect your online reputation. Here are some tips for the same:
Even if you are unaware of it, chances are that you already have an online reputation. The information that you shared through blog comments, Facebook posts, snapshots, tweets, videos, links is enough to create an online persona. Others also add their opinions to your actions and that adds to your reputation. If you find it hard to believe, just Google yourself. That’s what you do when you are planning to hire someone, or do business with a new client or even go on a date. 42% of U.S adults search someone before doing business with them and 45 % of these individuals are influenced by the search results, changing their mind about doing business. If you want to keep a track of what kind of online image does your name conjures, set up a Google alert on it to keep a track of any new content. Same goes for your business.
- Create positive aura around yourself
Content creation is a great way to build a personal brand online. If you think you have got good expertise at something don’t be afraid of showing it through a blog. Create what others want to see. Alternatively, join a professional network such as LinkedIn and put together a robust profile. Commenting on blogs of other professionals is also a good way of creating a credible and positive aura around your name. While writing a blog maintain a clear and consistent style, and supplement your articles with high quality images. Write pieces which invite visitors to have a conversation.
- Keep a sharp line between professional and personal network
The best practice to avoid any online mishap is to have a clear demarcation between your personal and professional profile. Each of the profiles should use a different email address, blog, and website. Maintain a cautious approach when adding personal information to your professional profile. Cross-references are best avoided. Then there are privacy settings that each of the social networks offer and should be utilized to their full effect.
- Responding to negative comments
If you or your company makes a mistake, fail or otherwise does something wrong, be ready to take the ownership of it. Make a sincere apology to those who got affected. When responding to negative or hate comments or reviews on your social profile or blog, do not involve in further bashing. Seriously consider that there may be something wrong with your action or a weakness in your process that needs to be addressed.
If by any chance your reputation does suffer as an unavoidable consequence of a series of misplaced and mistimed actions, immediate recourse is highly desired. Online reputations are mostly incorrigible, and time is of essence. Quick action on your part can help avert a lot of unpleasantness associated with such accidents. However, impulsive action can further deteriorate the situation and hence, is not advised. If you find information about yourself that is offensive to your online reputation, in a respectful way ask the person who posted it to remove it or correct the error, i.e if it is an error.
Technically speaking, you can’t get a negative search result removed from the search engines. The only way forward is to push them down with better results. If you find negative information, hide it with positive content. Participate in social sites, discussions and link anything you publish to your name. With consistent efforts this content will soon enough start showing up in search results and immunize you against any further damage from the bad online publicity.
Building a strong online reputation may seem like a herculean task; nevertheless it is vital for your professional health and longevity. If you are considering a job change in the near future, or are currently applying to new jobs, it would be highly advisable to take a stock of the situation and how does it bode for you.
Contributor: Saurabh Tyagi is a writer and digital enthusiast. An engineer by qualification and a reader at heart, he is an avid follower of the global job market. He is working with Naukri.com and writes on various topics pertaining to college education and getting employed.