Not just for the public relations experts anymore. Owners of digital-facing businesses know that their reputation is worth a lot, but online reputation is still something that affects us all. In this digital age, you guessed it, options even exist for online reputation management, which may be tempting to ignore, yet they are likely to help. It is especially important to protect your brand’s integrity and retain momentum if your livelihood (or sanity) depends on it. Just a few short decades ago, it was unthinkable that anyone from the other side of the world might have access to your medical past, for instance. Even less likely that they could use it against you.
Online reputation managers tell you when you have egg on your face. Then they help you clean it off.
If you’ve not had a chance to try out online reputation management or social media monitoring e.g. Yahoo/Google alerts, RSS feeds or tags, it can seem overwhelming to envision one more digital concern in what might seem like a nebulous concept to begin with. An online reputation manager is just another member of your team or family unit whose job is to ensure that your private or corporate entity is functioning with the least amount of handicaps possible. They tell you when you have egg on your face. Then they help you clean it off. This is better as an ongoing process, because what’s available to internet-users changes constantly and quickly.
Let’s focus on the positive for a moment. Wouldn’t you rather feel good about the image you’re showing the world? Perhaps the best fix for you is not necessarily a downplaying of sensitive or unwanted material online, but an emphasis and projection of positivity instead. Those enlisting in online reputation management are being allowed to showcase all of the beneficial tasks their organization worked so hard to achieve. They don’t have to worry about constantly seeing the same old rectified media, trying to walk backwards in quicksand and getting deeper. They’re now free to do their work or live their lives unencumbered. While everyone has a right to free speech about you or your business, we all know that context is key.
Think of it this way. On your LinkedIn profile, you get to choose which endorsements are more relevant and therefore belong at the top of the list. Only you could make that distinction. Who better to determine and mediate what is shown in your digital life than yourself? Everyone deserves a chance to put their best foot forward; we’re only human.
I don’t want you to tap or click away from this with the wrong idea, however. In some cases, online reputation management will only be duct tape on a wound if some simple fail-safes aren’t established first. Companies responding poorly to negative feedback from customers or clients is never a good idea. Instead of relying on your online reputation manager to hide these awkward elephants, do try to remember that everyone can benefit from a subtlety lesson in digital communication, to include remaining as honest and open as possible. I promise that’s not a contradiction, so long as discretion and tact are practiced.
Do be wary of extortion in fake online reputation management companies, to include scams. Some groups will ask for money upfront, then blackmail for more. Keeping your common sense active while shopping around is well-advised, and you can always come to us for help or questions.