The Importance of Online Reputation Management
Have you ever Googled the name of a potential new client in order to learn more about them? If not, you can bet that they do. People do Google searches on everyone and every business, to find out more about them. Whether it is due to business, or a personal matter, it is possible to find out quite a lot about someone or a business, via a simple Google Search using the person’s name or industry keywords.
What is found out about you online may be a true reflection of you and your business, or it might not be. What’s worse, it could be a complete and utter fabrication and lie about you and your business. Due to the proliferation of review websites and the relative lack of policing these sites, it’s like the wild-wild west out there. For this reason, it is important to not only monitor your online reputation, but to actually manage your online reputation.
If your business were to become a target of an online campaign to ruin your business and reputation, it can greatly affect your bottom line if not destroy you. It is important to monitor all statements made on blogs, comments, forums, articles, and social media all over the Internet. It’s easy to do it yourself free using Google Alerts, or you can hire a virtual assistant or a specialised service to do it for you. However you choose to manage your online reputation, you must set up a system and do it.
No business or person is perfect, but even one bad complaint that goes viral can ruin a lifetime of work. It doesn’t even have to be a complaint that ruins everything for you and your business, it could simply be you that ruins your business by not being cognizant of the consequences of your actions online. Yes, you read that right! Make a rude comment to someone, (or the wrong someone) post an inappropriate picture, forward an off-color joke, and before you know it, you might be the number one trending topic on Twitter, and not in a good way.
In order to manage your online reputation, first you must be aware that you have an online reputation. Your online presence goes back as long as you’ve been online. There are many archive websites that maintain snap shots of activity on the web, and you’re likely in there, somewhere. You can go to http://www.archive.org and use the “way back machine” to see many websites and how they looked years ago including how much traffic they had and even some old comments and forum posts if they exist.
Now that you’re convinced that a historical record exists of your online life, know that it is not impossible to manage what is being said about you and your business. To ensure you’re in the know, follow these tips :
- Manage Yourself – Be cognizant of what you do and say online whether it is personal or business. If you wouldn’t say it in public in mixed company, reconsider if you should say it or share it online.
- Monitor the Buzz – Using Google Alerts or another service monitor what is being said about you and your business. Use your name, the business name, keywords and variations of each to try to cover everything.
- Build Your Brand – Put out enough good content about your business that anything bad or not perfect out there will be buried. Try posting a keyword rich blog a day for 30 days in a row, and an article on article marketing sites for 30 days straight and watch your search results look better fast.