Managing your business’s online reputation involves knowing how to behave in general so that you don’t accidentally do something to damage your company’s online reputation on your own. Being online can sometimes feel like an office party and those often go very wrong. It is important to always be aware of who you are, what you stand for, and to accurately project that to people online. To that end, here are the top five online reputation management mistakes.
1. Do not lie – If you lie or exaggerate anything online it will eventually catch up to you. Pretty much everything you post online is going to be there forever. It can be tempting to puff up your success, but don’t go too far toward lying. Be positive and chose your words carefully, but don’t say anything you can’t back up with proof. Telling people they can make a million dollars a month, because you do, better mean that you really do.
2. Don’t forget who you are – Remember your why! Why are you in business? Why are you doing what you do? Who are you doing it for? What results do you hope to achieve? If you always remember who you are, and your why for being, you’ll go far in managing your online reputation in a positive manner. If you’re not sure who you are yet, figure it out by writing a mission statement. Mission statements can help clear up any confusion that you might have.
3. Do not attack others – Even when you get a bad review, and when you get popular online, it will happen eventually, do not go on the attack. Not everyone is going to like you. Not everyone will act like you do, either. Today, there are cases where competitors who have fuzzy ethics actually hire people to give bad reviews to their competition. When a bad review is public, it is important to be careful. Do not attack back. Take a breath, a moment or even 48 hours before you deal with a particularly hard situation. Remember, it’s not personal, it’s business. However, if you can prove someone is a hired gun, by all means, out them.
4. Don’t forget the golden rule – You know the deal. Do to others what you’d have them do to you. Share their good news, pump up their brand. In return, they may do the same thing for you. If you do need to give someone a critical review, do so in a constructive way rather than a negative way. Always try to do it privately first, then escalate as needed, just as you’d want someone to do for you.
5. Don’t ignore the buzz – Set up notices on Google Alerts so that industry keyword news, and mentions of your name and/or business and services goes to your inbox at the moment it happens. Review these every day at least once a day, or if you can’t do it that much, at the minimum once a week. Paying attention to the buzz will do several things for your company: it will give you a chance to comment, will give you ideas about what to blog about, and, perhaps most importantly, it will avoid any negative issues from going unnoticed – including instances of plagiarism or bad comments about you.