Some say you can’t spoil a clean reputation, but there’s no telling when it comes to the internet. Integrity is good for as long as business competition remains clean, which is to say not very long. Reputations have suffered in the name of competition. Mudslinging can be taken online under the cloak of anonymity. As a society, we have become so desensitized to this that many have given up considering this tendency as slanderous.
So You Fight Back…
You don’t fight back with your fists, but like you would prune your own backyard. Online reputation defense does not carry the same lawyerly connotation as pleading your innocence in court. It’s simply about telling the truth: focusing on the things you have done right in order to override the blemishes in your past.
So what, if you have a checkered past, if you are presently involved in philanthropic and civic-minded projects. Maybe you have a messy personal life. We all make bad choices. People don’t notice if your business is succeeding in spite of the recession. Don’t trust people to naturally gravitate toward the good parts of your past on Google, though. Make a concerted effort to have the good outweigh the bad, which will not only help your case, but it will make people forgetful, even if only for the brief seconds they check out your social media site.
Behind Every Good Defense is a Strategy
Behind every good defense is a strategy, or at the very least a good offense. When it comes to online reputation, this offense is known as “proactive guardianship.”
Business owners must plant a flag on their online identity, beating mudslingers to the punch. As it relates to an online reputation defense, the importance of this cannot be understated. A neutral reputation might serve you well for now, but you leave yourself susceptible to aggressive marketing from your competitors.
Begin your strategy by knowing what to highlight about your business, or which part of your personality as the business owner you would like potential customers to learn about. Building from those basics allows you to benchmark what is valuable about your business reputation and what is not. The best part is you thought of it first, giving you a head start in spreading the good word to popular social media sites. Dissenters will be hard-pressed to look like they know any better.
The Mechanics of Slick and Subtle Chest-Thumping
You’re not boasting – even if you are – but you do have good things to say about yourself. Presence and identity are not the end-all; in your identity channels like Facebook, Twitter, or your company’s blog, what you say and how you say it should still follow the simple rules of public relations: Say too much and you’re a self-important pest; say too little and you’re drowned out by tweets about Justin Bieber.
This is reputation building in real-time. Know who you’re talking to. Follow blast schedules for your business’ promotions and other important events and activities.