Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones…
And words can hurt you, too—as can inappropriately posted photographs, false stories about you, and embarrassing memories or records from your past. We live in a digital world, where it seems like nothing is ever erased…except that monthly report you were working on for four hours before your computer crashed. In the end, technology and global digital sharing are fantastic, except when they are not.
Reputation Management for Individuals
We all know the first thing many hiring managers do before hiring someone new is to Google them. We also know that the things that come up in search results do not always provide an accurate picture of who we really are. Try it. Google yourself now. Does what you see reflect who you are? Even if what you see is mostly good, are there things you wish weren’t showing up?
You don’t have to have been arrested or have been too loose with your social media profiles when you were younger to have a questionable online reputation. Work you put into the world as a younger person might have seemed wonderful and polished at the time, but now, you are better at what you do. If you’re a writer, designer, developer, musician, photographer, consultant or any kind of person who showcases work online, your old portfolio may not reflect the kind of creative artist or competent businessperson you are now.
To protect your reputation, you can try to take down old, inaccurate, or unattractive content yourself, but that can take a lot of time. To save some effort, you can get reputation management software or even hire a reputation management specialist. Whatever the case, most people need help to manage their reputations.
Reputation Management for Businesses
It is easy to think of reputation management in terms of you as an individual, but we can sometimes overlook the way our business is represented online. Just like with individuals, businesses can grow out of old ways of doing things such that old content online no longer reflects the vision or capabilities of the business.
And we can never forget the power of online reviews, which can be merciless and needlessly troll-y, written by people who may never have even been customers of your business. Most businesses have garnered bad reviews and bad press that is unwarranted, unfair, or outdated.
Policing your business’s reputation can feel impossible, but don’t bury your head in the sand. The key to reputation management is being proactive. You can improve your reputation through a few strategies:
- Get help—You need a third party to evaluate what your business looks like honestly and fairly, with a fresh perspective. Plus, you probably need some extra hands to clean everything up.
- Take down the bad stuff—Contact sites that have inaccurate information and ask for its removal. Be sure you look at your own materials and make sure you aren’t leaving things online that need to be removed.
- Overwhelm the internet with good stuff—Consistently put things on the internet that are positive and reflective of who you are as a company. The more good things that are out there about your company, the more likely older items are to get buried.
- Correct inaccuracies—If inaccurate information exists about you, whether it is a bad review or a Wikipedia page gone bananas, request corrections if possible or at least try to get more information about the source of the bad review or false information. Address the root issue, which could be a customer who needs more attention or a news outlet who received bad information.
Your Offline Reputation
The internet isn’t the only place where your reputation exists. Make sure you also pay attention to word of mouth about you or your company. Be sure you’re getting out in the world and forming fruitful connections with other people and businesses. You want your vision and reputation to be clean and clear, no matter where people interact with you.
Getting Reliable Help
All of this work takes a lot of energy. You need competent marketing and reputation management professionals on your side. Mad Hat Maven can help your business look its best online and beyond. We rule online content and can make sure you shine on any marketing platform. Contact us today to set your reputation on the right track.