An Online Reputation can make or break your image before a first impression can. With the evolution of the online infrastructure, search engines and social media, the way we receive information today is quicker, more authoritative, and transparent as ever. It’s not as Orwellian as it seems however. Once believed to be the door to the dystopian Big Brother scenario, it seems we were destined for something even bigger. The thing about Managing Your Online Reputation and what the Googles and Yahoos say about you is that much of it is in your hands. Owning your online reputation is not easy, and in some cases it can be a fight like nothing you’ve ever experienced. To answer all your questions and concerns, we’re going to be explaining what Online Reputation Management is, why it’s important, the many challenges and scenarios that exist along the way, and what you can do to build or restore your name.
The basis of Online Reputation Management is promoting content that accentuates a client’s desired image. Regardless of being a Fortune 500 or a Mom and Pop shop, having a sound strategy succeeds in giving you the maximum control of what information is most accessible online. The need to manage your digital reputation is becoming all the more demanding for reasons including:
If your business can’t be found in Google: in this day and age you’re invisible. When trying to get your name out there, a variety of other listings related to similar keywords can clutter the visibility and influence of your brand.
Say you are in a great situation, doing great things, and making big deals happen. Yet the front page of Google says that you work somewhere else, or there’s an embarrassing photo from your college days that stands out, or maybe someone shared something horrible that you were mentioned or tagged in. The past can linger and stick around on search results as bad as a neck tattoo of an ex-girlfriend’s name.
As much as Google has systems and algorithms in place to bring the most current and authoritative content to the forefront, we know that not everything posted online is true. Many times you’ll see content online that is borderline-slanderous but juicy and authoritative. Often in these cases, Google will rank the more authoritative, engaging, and best optimized page over the other, regardless of which side of the story is the right one. When a user has to go to Page 3 just to hear your take on the matter, to quote the popular meme, “You’re Going to Have a Bad Time.”
This is especially the case for companies who don’t take ownership of their presence on review sites. By not responding to a negative review or a problem, having a website with content that explains the finite details of your service to answer the questions and concerns of other customers, or publishing proof that establishes the legitimacy of what you do, you lose the opportunity to explain yourself. You are lending your voice to what THEY have to say about you, and if Snapchat has taught us anything: They Don’t Want You To Win.
The reason this can be so difficult is because the world is broadening at a rate never before seen in the information age. Negative comments or reviews relating to past transgressions, information about your medical history, being fired from a job, or legal troubles can be damning to your name. Not to mention the authority Google gives review sites such as Yelp alongside complaint websites such as Ripoff Report and PissedConsumer. These things can spread like a wildfire. In many cases for these businesses, reactionary efforts can come across as “too little, too late” toward setting your best foot forward.