Throughout most of history, an individual’s reputation could be managed by personal interactions, local rumors, backroom gossip, and the occasional good deed or public service announcement. However, as society has shifted laterally to newer forms of networking, the priorities of maintaining the reputation of both people and companies have changed as well.
At this point, the most valuable form of one’s reputation can often be found online. Whether you’re concerned about your own personal reputation, you’re attempting to curate your business’s internet presence, or both, here are a few tips to help take control of your online presence.
Learn How To React
Before you install any applications, set up alerts, or make any other plans, you’re going to want to take a moment to set some ground rules for monitoring your online presence. Monitoring, responding, and managing your online reputation, in general, can be an absolutely overwhelming task if you engage in each and every interaction with an equal level of gravity and concern.
The truth is, a brash, grammatically incorrect, hate-filled comment on a YouTube video is going to have a lot less impact on your overall online reputation than a review on Amazon or a comment on your social media. An officially published story on a news site should rank even higher than those in importance.
You don’t necessarily need to categorize every possible online interaction you might run into. However, it can be very beneficial to take the time to identify the importance of each online event and seriously consider the level of reaction that it deserves. For instance, don’t waste time trying to send cease-and-desist letters or arguing with every slanderous, negative comment you might stumble upon in an online forum. Instead, focus on comments that carry more weight and save the rest of your energy for the more positive, impactful tips further down.
Be Reticent About Personal Info
If you’re trying to promote your business’s name, address, email, or other relevant information online, you’re doing the right thing. Get them out there! However, when it comes to your own personal data, remember that less is more. There simply isn’t a need to flood the internet with your personal cell number, full name, email address, home address, etc.
In fact, with so many companies gathering copious amounts of personal data in this modern, big-data-driven world — including Google and Amazon literally transcribing conversations from their in-home AI assistants — it’s best to keep as much of your personal information offline as possible these days.
Develop a Brand Identity
While you don’t want to expose your own personal information, if you’re running a business, you certainly want to cultivate your brand online. This allows you to:
- Maintain control over a positive online image.
- Become easily recognizable by customers.
- Differentiate yourself from your competition.
- Stay in touch with the desires, interests, and needs of your customer base.
One of the most important ways to develop your online brand’s reputation is by addressing important complaints or comments politely, respectfully, professionally, and immediately.
Of course, it can be difficult to find said complaints and comments across the vast internet landscape. Fortunately, one easy way to do so is to use AI to enhance your online “listening” power. The most popular and easy way to do this is by simply setting up a Google Alert in order to be notified any time you or your company are mentioned online.
Manage Your Google My Business Listing
Google dominates the internet — at least for now. As such, it should be a top priority when it comes to the issue of reputation management. While the idea of Google Alerts was already discussed, another critical Google offering that can help with business reputation is your Google My Business Listing.
Not only is your GMBL free, but it can have a huge impact on your online presence. As such, you want to fill out your listing completely and make sure that it’s optimized in every way possible. In addition, make sure to respond to each and every review and comment you might receive, create Google Posts, and make sure your information remains up to date.
Lock Down Your Data
Finally, there’s the precautionary measure of protecting your customer’s data. The concepts of online security and privacy as they pertain to data are some of the top concerns of modern consumers. As such, it’s important that you make sure to take preventative measures in order to prevent a data breach, and have a contingency plan in case things go wrong. Don’t gather unnecessary information, destroy data that isn’t required any further, and limit access to your stockpiled data, in general.
Take Your Reputation Into Your Own Hands
There are many different ways to manage the reputation of both an individual and a company. The former involves being reticent with personal information and responding to comments when necessary. The latter requires proper brand cultivation, using Google Alerts, managing your GMBL, and making sure that you take basic precautionary measures, like protecting customer data. What more, you’re a human being and are prone to making mistakes.
It’s not necessarily difficult to monitor and maintain one’s reputation in the modern world. However, it does take a certain degree of strategy and careful consideration in order to stay ahead of the curve and respond to each and every online scenario with an appropriate level of tact and skill.