If you run your own business, having a good online reputation is important. You don’t want a client to pass you over because of a photo you posted online or a status update that was made public. Here a few ways to manage your online reputation.
- Have a professional email address, ideally one with your name. Make sure the email address you give to potential clients is not something like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Showing that you’re ready to do business starts with the first contact. Is that what you want potential clients to see on your contact page?
- Make sure all pictures and videos you post are professional. No, every photo does not have to be a headshot, but avoid posting pictures and videos of you drinking, engaging in illegal behavior or using foul language.
- Do not bash your current employer or previous clients on social media. The company who might hire you may not you simply because they don’t want to be on the receiving end of your next social media rant.
- Monitor what your friends post about you on social media. You may be careful not to post any questionable status updates, photos or videos. Your friends may not. Be careful that you don’t get tagged in updates that don’t show you in the best light.
- Monitor what your friends post about themselves on social media. There’s a popular saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” This means that those in a certain social crowd will have similar traits, or “like attracts like.” Even if you’ve cleaned your profiles up, it may not look good if the majority of your friend’s list features people who have their behinds as their profile pictures. You can’t control what other people do, but be aware of what your friends list says about you.
- Always address negative reviews. Even the most diligent business owner can’t please everyone. If you find a negative review of your company online, address it swiftly. Invite the disgruntled customer to message you privately and then follow up. If the issue is resolved, encourage him or her to post the resolution under the original complaint to show your follow up. Potential customers are more forgiving of a company that makes a mistake and deals with it than a company that ignores customer complaints entirely.
- Put out your own content. Already have negative items that come up when someone searches for you or your company? There are things you can do. First, ask the owner of the website to remove the negative content. This may work if it is a personal website or blog. However, if it is an online review site or news source, and you can’t prove that the negative items are false, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. What you CAN do is put out your own positive content in the form of blog posts, social media profiles, guest posts, videos and press releases. Give the search engines new content to index on a regular basis, and soon those old negative items will be pushed down and possibly even pushed off the first page of search engines. This is one way to give your online reputation a boost.
REPUTATION MANAGEMENT TOOLS
Staying on top of your online reputation isn’t always easy, but having the right tools helps. Here are links to several articles that tell you the top free tools people are using to see what people are saying about them on the web. Check it out, and let me know which tools you found to be the most helpful in the comments below.