Reputation is a crucial recipe for both personal and company brand. Unfortunately, with the advent of the internet and social media platforms, it is now easier to destroy one’s reputation than it is to build one.
If you have a good online reputation that you have worked very hard to develop, it would be unfortunate if someone were to tarnish it within a single day. It doesn’t matter how you think people uphold you.
One tweet is enough to bring you down. One blog post, Facebook post or a forum thread can vaporise your good image to nothingness.
That is why it is important to understand how to manage your reputation online and ensure that no one ruins your name. The following seven tips will help you master online reputation management:
1. Understand your current reputation
To start nurturing a good reputation, you first need to understand where you stand as a person or company.
What are people currently saying about you? Do they think you can be trusted or not? There are a number of ways to do this, but the most prominent one would be to use search engines.
For instance, you can Google your name and see what kind of results turn up. Do those results represent a good reputation, a bad one or no reputation at all?
Remember to only search for the name that people use to search for you in order to get the most precise results. For example, if you are a singer or a movie star, you probably have your real name and your stage name. The probability that people will search for your stage name is higher. That is the name you should also use to search for yourself.
2. Create Positive Content
After understanding your reputation’s status quo, the next step is to work on either countering any lousy reputation that you might have come across or maintain the current one. Creating content is the most effective way to bury negative search results.
Having a good online presence is necessary if you are going to fight back more effectively. You need your own website where you can post positive content about your brand to challenge the negative ones.
For example, if you found a negative review about you, you can work on creating a lot of positive content which is better than the review so that your content rather than the review will show up in search results when someone Googles your name. You will need an SEO expert to do this more effectively.
3. Clean Up Your social media presence
It is quite common to hear of big brands being brought down by something they posted or posted by someone about them on social media. If you think your reputation is at stake, the first defensive strategy should be to audit and clean up your social media presence.
Thoroughly go through your previous posts and ensure that you do away with anything that can damage your reputation. Maybe it is something you posted long ago when you had nothing to lose. But now that you have a reputation to take care of, it is time to pull it down.
Delete any inappropriate images, demeaning comments, sexual content, religiously or politically inciting comments, defaming posts and so on. It is easy for people to use your old social media posts to bring you down. So, it’s up to you to make sure that they find nothing negative when they go through your social media accounts.
It would also be prudent to reach out to people that had posted negative things about you in the past. Apologize and nicely ask them to pull those posts down.
4. Stay active on Social Media
One way of keeping abreast with your reputation is to be active on social media. Remember that social platforms would be the first place people go when they have something they need to get off their chests. If someone posts or tweets something damaging about you, you need to be there to take appropriate actions.
For example, you can apologize to them if you were indeed on the wrong, or if you were not and they are simply trying to soil your name.
You can quickly come up to your post, probably with some proof that the person in question is just trying to defame you. Not being there when something wrong is being said about you is dangerous.
People will take your silence for admission and they will end up thinking differently about you.
5. Don’t respond to bad press compulsively
It is important to address any bad negativity as soon as possible, but you should never do so compulsively or immediately you get wind of what is happening.
If it is a false accusation, you might be compelled to be on the defensive and say things that you will only regret later. Take your time and understand the problem at hand, and figure out why whoever said negative things about you did so.
If you’re offended, let your anger cool down before you make any comment. You don’t want to worsen the problem by fiercely retaliating.
If you really want to bury negative press, you need to be tactful and composed.
6. Connect more positively to your audience
If you are a brand or a public figure, how you relate to your audience, customers or fans is very important when it comes to ORM.
One thing that determines whether bad press or defaming social media posts are actually going to damage your reputation is how your audience receives it. Do they believe it or not?
If you give your audience the opportunity to connect with you more personally, they will know what to believe when something bad about you is said. In fact, if they trust you and think you are falsely accused, they will do the fighting for you.
This is even better than when you have to defend yourself.
An apology could be more powerful than being defensive. If you think that you are really on the wrong, you should own your mistakes and promise to fix them. Do not let pride stand in the way of a good reputation.
People appreciate humility and can hardly resist a genuine word of ‘sorry.’ If you have a personal website or blog, you can write a post admitting that you are ready to take full responsibility for your mistakes and willing to do things differently.
You can also post your apologies on social media. Be as genuine as possible. It is quite easy for people to notice when your apology is fake. For instance, you cannot apologize and at the same time, accuse whoever said bad things about you. A genuine apology can significantly boost your reputation.
Understanding how to manage your reputation online is fundamental. However, if you think that the problem is too big for you to handle or you don’t have the necessary tools and expertise to fix it, you can always seek the help of professional online reputation management services.