Building a strong online reputation defense may seem unnecessary to many people. But the truth is that a positive online reputation can mean the difference between the Internet being a useful resource or a nightmare for you - personally and professionally.
Here are our tips for protecting your online reputation.
Respond quickly to negative customer reviews
Try considering a complaint about your company on Twitter or Facebook as an opportunity to demonstrate your excellent customer service and commitment to customer satisfaction.
Not all customers can be satisfied, but many others just want to vent and know that their voice is heard. Your response proves it to them, and furthermore, others will observe how you handled the situation and take note. More often than not, you can protect your online reputation simply by acting quickly and with foresight.
Watch what people say about you online
The next step is to monitor what people are saying about you. This means constantly searching the web, using search terms such as your full name or company name; scanning user review sites for positive and negative reviews; and analyzing social media and trends surrounding your name.
Setting up a Google Alert is a simple and effective first step you can take right now; sign up for this free service and you will receive alerts when new Google search results appear for your name. You can also choose to receive Google Alerts for your competitors, your industry, your product or any other keyword of your choice.
Determine what is a threat and what is not
Few of us appreciate the perfect press, but it's worth looking at the press itself before choosing a response. A semi-literate comment on a blog post filled with insults and incoherent rants is not going to hurt your business and is not worth responding to. In fact, you may make the problem worse if you react.
Fortunately, you don't have to protect your reputation on the Internet against people your customers will reject.
Don't waste time with removal requests
In a perfect world, you could contact the person who posted an unpleasant lie or rumor about you online, ask them to remove it, and they would comply. The problem is solved. But unfortunately, this rarely works. You're better off spending your time creating a positive online presence.
Protect your digital identity
It's your business or professional profile that should be highlighted online, not your personal information. Unfortunately, this information, such as your age, date of birth, address and a host of other details, is now commonplace. Companies collect this data, make some of it available online and sell it to advertisers. That's why it's a good idea to remove your information from people search sites.
This process can be time-consuming and involve physical documents, but it can be worth it, especially if large amounts of information about your life are available online.
Take charge of customer evaluations
The goal of this step is to build your brand and the community around it by working closely with your friends and good customers to generate positive press about your business.
Unfortunately, you can't always delete negative reviews, even if you want to. Instead, you can work to get positive reviews and make sure they get more consideration.