As a business owner, managing your onlinereputation is an essential component of brandmanagement. Today, when someone wants toknow about you or your business, they dontjust look at your resume, or simply call yourreferences, or even trust your testimonials onyour website, as much as they trust their ownInternet searches. From social media, to yourwebpage, to online review sites, you have a lotof buzz to manage.
Take a look at the feedback businesses arereceiving on sites such as Yelp! and youll see thatcertain types of businesses cant seem to get agood review if they try. Some business peoplehave responded to bad reviews in a way that onlymakes matters worse. Other businesses seem to bemanaging their reviews nicely and seem to be ontop of their game. Like most things inbusiness, online reputation management issomething you have to first know that you need todo, and then know how to do it.
Do a search on your own business name (orpersonal name) via Google Search, as youtype, notice what is coming up in Googlesinstant search. Is it what you want people tosee, or is something else coming up that may givepeople a bad impression of you and / or yourbusiness? If the words that come up, and the sitesthat you see are good, be glad and work towardkeeping it that way. If, however, the search resultsthat are popping up are less than ideal, you knowyou need to work harder on online reputationmanagement.
Have you combined your business socialmedia with your personal social media? Ifso, you need to work toward separation assoon as possible. In addition, separate or not, ifpeople know your name it is important to becareful what you do and say on social mediasites such as Twitter and Facebook. Infact, even an innocent response to a newsarticle can show up in search engines andalienate potential clients.
The days of Internet privacy may beover, but there are some things you can do tokeep some semblance of privacy. Each emailaccount, each social media account and eachforum or group that you join offers privacycontrols. Learn to use them on day one to avoidembarrassing issues. Also, dont shareanything, pictures or otherwise on social mediathat you wouldnt tell your Mother. Dont evenforward a questionable joke, email, or photo ofyourself if you dont want it to be publicknowledge.
Being careful about what you say in publicsounds like censorship to a lot of people, but itstruly in your hands, and up to you what youshare and say. If you would not normally saysomething in publicly in a group, why say itonline? If you know your opinions on aparticular matter would alienate your targetaudience, why say it? If you want to dowhatever you want and say whatever youwant, perhaps you need a new target audience.Managing your online reputation is imperativeto your success.